It’s officially summertime! Which means you can fire up the grill and spread out the gingham tablecloth, because the start of summer also means the beginning of BBQ season.
Along with whether to get spicy brown mustard, yellow mustard, or both, pet owners throwing outdoor parties need to keep their animals in mind. Of course, you want your pup to be part of the fun, but you also want them to stay safe.
To make sure you can have both, we consulted PEOPLE Pet Vet Dr. Evan Antin for the tips you need to know for a paw-sitively wonderful party for everyone.
1. Don’t feed dogs grapes, onions or chocolate: For some dogs, one grape or raisin can lead to irreversible kidney failure or death. The Allium species of plant (onions, garlic, scallions) can damage a pet’s red blood cells, which may cause anemia and organ failure.
2. Keep pets hydrated: Animals, like people, need to drink water on a regular basis. Always have water available for your pets when they are outdoors; panting and being warm to the touch may be signs that your dog is thirsty, especially if they are active.
3. Provide Distractions: Puzzles such as Kongs filled with pet-safe foods (i.e. natural peanut butter or baby carrots) are great for keeping curious dogs occupied. Some dogs also benefit from being around other pets, as playing can be a positive activity.
As for your pressing party prep questions, when it comes to pets, Dr. Antin has answers for those too.
How should I prepare my dog for an outdoor party? Offer them a safe space to relax and get away from the commotion if they need it. Nervous pets, in particular, need a place away from the party to feel secure.
How do I keep my dog from stealing table scraps? The safest way to keep them from potentially dangerous food is to put your pet in a separate room or area of the yard. You never know who is going to spill what — or give your dog a “treat.”
Can dogs spend too much time in the sun? Certain dog breeds can get sunburned, and other breeds are prone to getting certain tumors or cancers when under excessive UVB sunlight. So make sure to give your pet plenty of shade.
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What should I do if my dog gets a bug bite? Dogs can have variable allergic reactions to insect bites or stings. If you notice facial swelling, immediate pain, vomiting and/or diarrhea, then you should take your pet to the vet for treatment of anaphylactic shock.
How can I tell if my pet is overheating? Excessive panting and thirst can be early signs. If overheating progresses, your dog may become very lethargic and start to stumble, collapse or act strangely. Seek veterinary attention if you notice these symptoms.