We just had our annual summer cookout at DogWatch HQ, and it inspired us to share our dog-friendly BBQ menu! These tips will also help you keep an eye out for dangerous foods that dogs should NOT eat at your next barbecue. As always, pay attention to ingredients, keep servings of the “good” people food small, and don’t leave the food or trash unattended – these are some of the steps to making this a safe and healthy summer for your dog!

Replace a Hot Dog with Grilled Zucchini

Hot Dog and Grilled Zucchini
No doubt your dog would love a “dog” of his own, but a whole hot dog (not to mention the bun and toppings) is a big meal for his small stomach. A wiser choice for your pup is to either slice small pieces of hot dog for him or forgo the dogs all together and give him some healthy, dog-friendly grilled veggies like zucchini or asparagus. If you are flavoring these veggies with garlic, onions or lots of salt and spices, set aside a few plain ones for the dog. These ingredients are yummy for humans but not advised for dogs.

Replace a Cheeseburger with a Lean Meat Patty

Cheeseburger and turkey burgers
Done right, grilled cheeseburgers are juicy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness – just make sure they don’t fall into your dog’s mouth! The large patties, cheese, bread and toppings combine to be too high in fat and calories for your dog, and eating this rich food can put her at risk of pancreatitis. Instead, you can treat your dog to a small patty of lean beef or ground turkey, cut up and mixed with grilled or fresh veggies.

Replace Chips and Dip with Sweet Potato

Chips and Dip and Sweet Potatoes
Potato chips and tortilla chips are a staple of cookouts, but they are often way too salty to share with our dogs. Dips are also off limits, as many are filled with ingredients like avocado, garlic, onions and chives that are not safe for dogs. On the other hand, sweet potatoes are a great people food for dogs, and one that most of them love to eat! They are also a great source of fiber and vitamins. Try this easy recipe for Sweet Potato Dog Chews and encourage your guests to give these special treats to your pup – and keep the chips and dip for the 2-legged people only.

Replace Corn on the Cob with Popcorn

Corn on the Cob and Popcorn
No summer cookout is complete without fresh corn on the cob, right! While we encourage you to enjoy this seasonal staple, do NOT toss a corn cob (fresh off the grill or picked clean) to your pup. Your dog could swallow part of the cob, blocking his airway or creating a blockage in her intestines. If this happens, your dog may need surgery to remove it. If you don’t wish to spend your evening at the animal hospital, keep the cobs away from Fido. Instead, toss her a few kernels of popcorn (the plain kind, not the salty, buttery version) and show off her catching skills!

Replace Apple Pie with Seedless Apple Slices

Apple Pie and Apple Slices
Who doesn’t love Apple Pie? While a slice of this tasty dessert is just too rich and sugary to share with your dog, its main ingredient makes a great end-of-meal treat! Set aside some apple slices for your dog when preparing the pie, or grab an extra apple when you purchase a pie from the store. Importantly, make sure you take out all of the seeds before handing over the apple slices to your dog, as they can be toxic to her if ingested. You can also throw in some other dog-friendly summer fruits for your pup’s dessert, including strawberries, pineapple, watermelon and more.

Replace a Cold Beer with a Frozen Dog Treat

No beer, Yes to homemade frozen blueberry dog treats from kolchakpuggle.com
We all know how too much alcohol effects people. It takes much less alcohol to have the same effect on dogs. It’s never ok for Fido to drink beer or booze of any kind – so keep it far away from him at all times. Instead, why not try this Coconut Blueberry Frozen Dog Treat Recipe from the blog Kol’s Notes? Blueberries are a healthy fruit for dogs, and their bright color will make these homemade treats a memorable addition to any dog-friendly party!

If you have any questions about the safety of foods and ingredients for your dog, contact your veterinarian. Have a great summer, and happy barbecuing!

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DogWatch's Dog-Friendly Summer BBQ Menu

Photo Credits
Hot Dog” by TheCulinaryGeek (CC BY 2.0)
Grilled Zucchini 5of5” by Breville USA (CC BY 2.0)
Chips and Dip” by Tim Lenz (CC BY 2.0)
Sweet Potatoes” by Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)
“Cooked Yellow Corn on Cob” by Michael Dorausch (CC BY-SA 2.0)
popcorn!!” by Joelle Nebbe-Mornod (cc By 2.0)
“Apple Pie for Applesqueeze” by Evan Shelhamer (cc By 2.0)
Sliced apple” by MelisaTG (cc By 2.0)
“A couple of beers” by Marilyn Acosta (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Coconut Blueberry Frozen Dog Treat from kolchakpuggle.com
(Photos are cropped and edited.)