Hidden Pet Dangers in your backyard BBQ
With the 4th of July around the corner, families are firing up the grill to celebrate. But common cookout food and materials can be deadly for your pets. Dr. Amy Shroff, owner of the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of New England in Waltham shares with you tips on how to keep your pets safe and out of the emergency room this holiday.
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- Heat Stroke – We’ve seen many deadly cases in the hospital recently. On a hot day, do not leave your dog out in the sun or even in the shade if temperatures hit above 80 degrees. Your dog does not perspire like you can and instead pant to cool themselves off. Breeds such as Bulldogs, Shi Tzus, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Pekinese have a compromised airway and if they pant for too long, can develop swelling of their upper airway. They can get overheated very quickly. If their internal body temperature climbs above 104-105, it can be fatal.
- Corn cobs – These are made of fibrous plant material or cellulose and do not digest in the GI tracts of dogs. When swallowed whole, it is almost guaranteed that they may need to be removed surgically as they get lodged in the intestines. Don’t let your dog get in your post barbeque garbage!
- Skewers - When these are swallowed, they can also be lodged in the intestine or poke right through the esophagus or stomach and lodge in the chest cavity or a lung. This can lead to terrible infections and trauma if swallowed, so keep an eye on that garbage! And don’t give any to your dog to chew!
- Garbage ingestion –Any garbage that has been sitting out for a while in the heat can harbor lots of toxins. In addition, eating lots of fatty human foods can set dogs up for gastroenteritis and pancreatitis or inflammation of the GI tract and can be very dangerous. So no trash can surfing for that leftover hot dog or potato salad.
- Charcoal briquettes – Clients often ask us if these are harmful. If they contain lighter fluid or other petroleum products, they can upset their GI tracts. If it is plan charcoal, unless they eat a whole one which can be lodged in their intestine, it will not harm them to eat it. But let’s keep them out of sight just in case!
- Fireworks – Dogs in general do not like loud noises because their ears are much more sensitive than ours. It can cause them to get very anxious and stressed from the noise. Hot remnants of sparklers or firecrackers can also be painful and dangerous if stepped on. If you are going to set off some fireworks legally, keep your dog indoors.
- Insect stings – Since we share the outdoors with bees, wasps and other stinging insects, it is best to stay clear of any nests or areas where anyone can be stung. Dogs can have allergic reactions similar to humans that don’t present right away. If your dog does get stung, call your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency room immediately.
- Sunburn – Dogs can get sunburned especially if they have pink or less pigmented skin. I recommend keeping them in the shade, but if they are out and the weather is cool but sunny, a dog specific sunblock is recommended.