If you have room for a grill, you probably also have room for a pet, but the two should not be in the same space at the same time, as the safety of pets around a grill cannot be guaranteed. Dogs can smell meat a considerable distance and, like their human owners, they know a good steak when they smell one. Even cats can get in the way of your roast if they are outdoor cats or you are trying to roast in a screened patio. That is why we present 5 practical tips to ensure the safety of the grill for pets.
You may assume that a well-trained pet can be trusted around the grills, but that is not usually the case. Sometimes even humans forget that a surface or utensil is hot, and animals also have no way of knowing the danger. A closed grill lid looks safe from a distance, but can actually cause severe burns to sensitive animal foot pads.
In addition, plates containing raw meat can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and undercooked meat and bone remains can be dangerous to dogs, cats, and other animals. Even if you feed your animals with occasional leftovers from the table, the nature of the grill means that the grill master must take extra caution. Guests and other family members should also be aware of this. Here are our top tips for keeping your pet grill safe around your grill.
1. Keep Pets Away
When proper precautions are not taken, the grill can even be dangerous to humans. It is even more important to keep our four-legged friends away from anything that can burn them. Even if your dog is well trained, make sure he can't get close to the grill. Dogs can act unexpectedly when they can smell nearby food, and any unexpected behavior can cause burgers to drop to the ground.
Cats and small dogs, in particular, can get underfoot faster than you think, resulting in a tripping hazard. Cats or dogs that are particularly good at jumping may even end up placing their paws on a hot grill lid, or worse.
Although your dog or cat may hate being kept indoors, indoors is the safest place for them to grill. A closed porch or leash is also an option if your patio is large enough to keep the grill at a safe distance. Make sure your family and guests know that you are grilling and that animals should be kept indoors.
2. Don't Feed the Leftovers
A barbecue may seem like the perfect time to treat your pets and yourself. After all, beef, chicken, and pork are in your pet's food, so it should be safe to give it to them, right?
While it's okay to occasionally give your pets cooked meat as a snack, grilling is not the time to do it. To begin with, train your pets to associate the grill with food, which will make it more difficult to keep them far in the future. Meat scraps fresh off the grill may be hotter than you think, causing burns to your pet's mouth and tongue.
Remember that many sauces and spices can upset your pet's stomach, even if they are "totally natural". Avocados, onions, garlic, and other foods can be toxic to dogs and cats. It can be toxic to cats and dogs. Animals can also be sensitive to the amount of fat in meat. Fatty meats can cause gas and bloating at best, or pancreatitis if consumed in large amounts.
Also, do not allow your pet to lick grill utensils, unwashed dishes, or cooked bones. Parts of a recently used fork or grill tongs may be hotter than you think. Dishes containing raw meat could easily cause food poisoning. Cooked bones can easily splinter in a dog's mouth, and while raw bones are theoretically safe, improperly cleaned bone can also cause food poisoning. If you want to give your pet a treat during your party, stick with store-bought treats or simple, pre-cooked foods.
3. Supplies Lockout
The grill itself is not the only danger present. Charcoal, lighter fluid, and grill forks should be kept out of the reach of curious animals. Although coal may seem unappetizing to humans, dogs have been known to eat worse! The lighter liquid can also pose a danger if spilled or a curious pet bites the bottle. The grill forks can be sharp at the ends and can also harbor bacteria if they are not cleaned after use. Since outdoor cats can climb or jump into surprisingly high spaces, even the garage may not be safe, so a locked door shed may be the best place. Avoid keeping lighter fluid in or near the home, as it can be a fire hazard. You may also want to consider getting a wooden or metal box to store in your yard.
4. Clean Properly
Did you know that animals sometimes even eat aluminum foil and plastic wrap? While they may not eat it directly from the kitchen drawer, they will assume it is food if it has a meaty aroma. Even if the grill is turned off and cooled, don't allow the animals to return to the yard until everything is completely clean and put away. Plates containing raw meat could be breeding bacteria and a lost bone that fell to the ground could pose a choking hazard.
Cleaning is also essential to prevent pets from eating dripping meat. Excess fat can be really bad for the health of your pets. Since grease may fall from the bottom of your grill, consider using a greased skillet to catch leaks, or be sure to clean the grill area well afterward. Different types of grills have different cleaning needs and even cool at different speeds, so be sure to double check everything at the end of the day.
5. Have a Plan B
Even the best plans sometimes fail when it comes to grilling, and that's especially true when an animal is involved. Your pet may escape from the confines of the living room and rush outside, or a well-meaning guest may provide you with some food that causes serious stomach upset. in case you need to prevent a hungry pet from running towards you while cooking. Also, keep an emergency vet number handy in case you need it. If you're roasting on a holiday weekend, remember that your regular vet may not be available to help you.