Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
4:15 AM 26th June 2021

Weekend Family: How To Safely Enjoy A BBQ Around Pets And Wildlife

Catherine Moss of the Indian Fire Bowl Company warns us of some of the hidden dangers of the summer BBQ.

On July 5th - 11th, the nation will celebrate the 25th anniversary of National BBQ Week, which is set to fall during the return of the latest British summer heatwave.

Recent data states that the amount of BBQs taking place in the UK has increased by 391% compared to the previous year. Around 60 million BBQs have already been enjoyed in the UK this year, and with the warm weather incoming, the numbers are expected to rise.

However, it’s important to remember that BBQs present safety hazards for the nation's 17 million household pets.

Indian Fire Bowl Company, a BBQ and fire bowl manufacturer, review and advise on a selection of recommended safety options which will help you understand the best ways to ensure the safety of your pets and wildlife whilst enjoying your summer BBQ.

How to set your BBQ up in a safe space around pets

A secure and secluded space is recommended when having a BBQ around pets, but the primary aim is to not let your pet get too close which will subsequently avoid any potential accidents.

With barriers put in place, preferably brick walls or secluded parts of the garden away from any activity, this will help keep your pet safe and will prevent them from accidentally knocking over any BBQ or fire pit. Please note that when in these designated spots, you must keep the BBQ away from flammable materials.
Additionally, the recommended area for BBQs is on flat ground where it’s less likely to fall over on uneven surfaces. However, if this happens (as accidents do occur) and hot coals and ash spill onto the ground, surfaces can overheat and lead to paw pad burns.
It is advised that you clean this up safely and immediately and always feel the ground with the back of your hand, leaving it there for 10 – 15 seconds to make sure it is safe for your pet to return to the garden.

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay
Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay
How to safely manage open BBQ flames around pets

If you’re cooking on a traditional charcoal BBQ, perhaps the most obvious threat is the large, searing open flame. With the average BBQ temperature around 177C, if your pet has access to the garden or designated BBQ area, it’s especially important to make sure that the BBQ is secure to avoid them getting burnt on hot coals and grills.

You can do this by ensuring the lid is kept closed, thus preventing your pet from burning their paws if they somehow manage to climb up.
Whilst having a BBQ, it is also easy to get distracted by friends or family. It is extremely important to make sure that the BBQ is supervised at all times, ensuring that you are regularly closing the lid when possible, checking the temperature and keeping an eye on your surroundings.

How to correctly put out your BBQ around pets

BBQs can take a long period of time to cool down (taking up to 2 days for the charcoal BBQs to fully cool down on some occasions), it’s best advised to keep your pet away from the BBQ grills for up to 48 hours, with all vents closed.

If you’re letting them into the garden, make sure they’re supervised at all times. Just because a BBQ is no longer in use, it doesn’t mean it can be forgotten about as they can remain incredibly hot for many hours afterwards.

If you have a traditional rather than gas BBQ you can dispose of hot coals in buckets of water instead of spreading them on the ground, to ensure pets don’t walk on them and injure their paws.

BBQs must be turned off and put out immediately once you have finished using them. Not only does this help save fuel considerably, it also helps prevent any risk of it flaring up and burning anything near it which can be dangerous around pets and young children.

Raising awareness of poisonous or potentially harmful substances for your pet

BBQs introduce the risk of pets coming into contact with poisonous or potentially harmful substances.
As some pets have a tendency to eat whatever is put in front of them, pet owners need to act sensibly when handling charcoal and lighter fluids as these contain toxins which are naturally poisonous to animals.

Additional food which are stereotypically enjoyed at a BBQ’s that are harmful to pets include:
Wooden or metal Kebab sticks - can be accidentally swallowed or could accidentally cut your pets mouth
Ribs and bones - Potential choking hazard and may puncture your pet's digestive tract
Corn on the cob - Can cause choking and digestion issues
Onions - Contain a toxic called Allium that can harm your dog’s red blood cells
When cleaning your BBQ after use, please ensure that toxic cleaning products are safely stored away from pets. It is important to keep the BBQ covered when it has cleaning products on so that pets and wildlife do not come into contact with it.

Disposable BBQs and their effect on wildlife

Since 2007, over 19,000 acres of moorland in the Peak District alone has been destroyed as a result of wildfires linked to disposable BBQ’s. Disposable BBQs consist of flammable coals which can easily spill out onto grassland causing fires. As a result of this, many safety measures have been placed which limit BBQs and light fires in safe, designated areas.

Following guidance from UK Fire Safety, people must dispose of smoking materials properly and make sure they are completely extinguished. As well as making sure they don’t leave camp fires or barbecues unattended in the chance of a wildfire from happening.

If you are unsure whether an area is designated as a safe barbecue zone or not, you should contact your local council for information.

Following these rules can protect vegetation and the natural habitats of thousands of UK wildlife and decrease the chances of damaging them through wildfires.