Pancreatitis and Other Dangers: Uninvited Guests at Your Tailgate

The kids are back in school, the air is brisk and football season is upon us. One of the many fun social gatherings that happen right before the big game is a tailgate party in the stadium parking lot. BBQs flare, refreshments abound and food starts coming off the grill onto paper plates before you can say, “touchdown!’” Fall is a common time when folks take the cooking outdoors and host a family backyard BBQ.

While fun for all and a great way to spend time with family, pets and friends, BBQ and tailgate parties also hold a few hidden dangers to your pets that you should be aware of. Read on to find out how to get your pets to the final buzzer safely.

  • Save the food for yourself: Pet can get a serious condition called pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas, the gland that makes insulin and digestive enzymes) from eating too much fatty people food. Don’t give your dog bones, fatty scraps or leftover hot dogs, or you’ll be making an end run to the ER in no time. Likewise, eating too much “people food” is a surefire way to cause a bout of diarrhea, and no one’s carpet looks good with brown spots all over it.

Bring plenty of water for your dog and stick with dog-safe treats.

  • Keep cool: Keep pets (and kids) away from the BBQ and fire pits. Pet can get seriously burned if they stray too close to a hot BBQ or run into an open fire. I once had to treat a little dog named Chili who jumped into an open fire pit that had ashed over but still had hot coals underneath. He did fine, but had serious burns on his belly.

If it’s going to be a hot day, bring along some shade like a portable shelter or large umbrella and never leave your dog in the car during the game.

  • Stay in control: Dogs can run off and get into all sorts of trouble while you are flipping the burgers or fishing around in the cooler for a cold one. Keep them secured at a tailgate party with a leash or tie out, and make sure the fence stays closed as people come and go for your backyard party. Make sure they have proper ID (like a recent tag, or better yet, a microchip) so if they do run off they can be reunited with you.
  • Clean up on aisle five: If you want your dog to be invited to the next tailgate party, make sure you clean up after them. Bring enough bags to get through the party and consider bringing  a pooper scooper along.

Tailgates and BBQ parties are some of the best ways to wind down summer and ease into fall. Make sure you’ve taken the right steps to protect your pets during your events and everyone will have a blast. Hut-hut-hike!

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