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How to Prepare for a Pet-friendly BBQ

This weekend the unthinkable is forecast to happen.  For the second bank holiday in a row, the sun is set to shine across the country and that can only mean one thing for most of us…it’s BBQ time!

A BBQ is a great way to enjoy time with friends and family without tackling the bank holiday motorway tailbacks or breaking the budget on a mini break. Your pets will probably enjoy all the extra attention from your guests too.

However, it’s important to remember that the hot BBQ, tempting scents and tendency of guests to offer treats to your cat or dog from their own plates can all pose a hazard to the furry members of your family.

It’s all about being aware of the hazards and managing risks for your pets so that you can all enjoy the fresh air and fun times together.  Here at Hey Diddle Diddle, we’ve compiled a handy list of top tips to help you plan ahead for a pet-friendly BBQ in the bank holiday sunshine:

  1. Locate your BBQ in a safe place away from your pet’s usual favourite spots.  The best way to keep your cat or dog safe during a BBQ is to keep them well away from the action.  If it’s possible to gate off the BBQ area in a way that allows you to pass food to guests without allowing your pets near the hot grill and food, that’s the best option.
  2. Let your guests know that the BBQ food is off the menu for your pets. While it may be obvious to you that if everyone at the BBQ gives your dog or cat something tasty off their plate your pet will end up with a very poorly tummy, individually your guests may not realise what harm they could be doing – particularly if they don’t have pets of their own.
  3. If you do want to give your pet a treat from the BBQ, let everyone know your dog or cat will have their own tasty morsels from the barbi and then you can set aside an appropriate amount of pet-friendly food. Allow it to cool and cut it into pieces that your dog or cat eat safely, without the risk or choking or scalding.
  4. Be vigilant about tools, rubbish and items of food that your guests might drop while they’re eating. Even if you’ve prepped your guests to avoid falling victim to your cats best can-I-have-some? cute face, your pets could still be at risk from eating discarded pieces of foil, hot meat that’s fallen from someone’s plate, discarded tools or fizzy drinks and alcohol. To manage this, it’s a good idea to allocate jobs before the BBQ starts, with a rota for keeping an eye on your pets and tidying up as you go.
  5. Don’t forget that your pets are part of the family too so take care to ensure they feel part of your day. There may be a lot to do to get ready for your guests’ arrival but if you have a dog, they will still need a walk and both cats and dogs will need their usual fuss and pamper time with you.  Keep checking in on them during the course of the day – even if they have chosen to cool off in the quiet of the house – because a garden full of bank holiday festivities can be a little overwhelming, especially for nervous pets.
  6. A little over-indulgence at a BBQ every now and then does no harm for us humans, particularly when the sun is shining and you have a long weekend off work, however, your pets still need their usual complete nutrition. While you’re getting the food ready for your guests, don’t forget to give your cat or dog their routine portion of Hey Diddle Diddle, at the normal meal time.

After that, all that’s really left to say is slap on some sun cream and don’t forget the ketchup!