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It’s great to invite friends over for a barbecue, but don’t invite your pets!

Summer is here!

But I have only just got the barbecue out. If you are a new pet owner, and, like me, you are preparing for the BBQ season, please be aware of the extra pet risks this can create.

Every time I barbecue I cannot help remembering a party we held years ago. It was a lovely day, and the sliding glass doors were wide open into the conservatory. We had the meat sizzling outside and the salad laid out inside.

A guest had loaded his plate with a huge perfectly cooked steak and salad and set off back to the garden to settle on a chair. He was watching his plate carefully, as my two terriers were dogging his footsteps, hopefully.

He had long strides, but was confident of his path, so when he hit the glass barrier, he hit it at a sufficient speed to cause him to reel back and nearly fall. He was dazed, but the dogs were not. Quick as a flash that steak disappeared into Pip’s mouth, and he disappeared to the bottom of the garden, returning only minutes later with a contented smile on his face.

Guests seem to feel very guilty when enjoying a nice burger or sausage with a begging, drooling dog in front of them. I know very few (even veterinary surgeons!) who can resist the pressure to share with a pooch. But many foods we enjoy on the BBQ are high in fat, and may not be at all suitable, even occasionally, for a pet.

It is also important to pick up any food that is inadvertently dropped before neighbours’ cats come to check things over in the night, and to make sure that dustbins containing chicken bones are carefully sealed. I have had foxes break mine open and spread the rubbish back all over the garden, only for the dogs to then get involved in the tidy up again!

And, of course, make sure that you let hot coals cool really well, before disposing of them, ideally well out of reach of inquisitive noses and tongues!

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