BBQ Toxins

As Summer enters full swing, we are starting the season of outdoor activities and barbeques! While we encourage you to bring your four-legged friends to these enriching outings, there are dangerous toxins to keep in mind. Here are some quick reminders of the most common barbecue toxins.

Table Foods:

While it can be tempting to give in to their sweet puppy dog eyes and feed scraps from your plate, it is important to use caution with what your pets ingest.

  • Fatty meats, like hamburgers and hot dogs, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis.
  • Fruit salad containing grapes can potentially cause kidney failure.
  • Desserts containing chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, increased heart rate, or seizures.
  • Any food containing xylitol as an artificial sweetener can lead to a dangerous drop in blood sugar and potentially liver failure.
  • Corn on the cob and bones are not toxic, but they can get trapped in the stomach and require surgery to remove.
  • Onions and garlic can affect red blood cells and cause anemia.

Grilling Fuels:

  • Gasoline and Lighter Fluids are hydrocarbons, which are toxic to pets. They can cause vomiting, coughing, skin and eye irritation, incoordination, weakness, and even a coma.
  • Charcoal Briquettes are not toxic but can cause GI symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. There is also a potential for a foreign body obstruction if the briquettes are large enough. If used, they pose a risk of burns to the GI system.

At Pet Poison Helpline, we know how important the health of your pet is to you. If your pet may have interacted with any of the toxins listed above, it is important to stay calm and quickly contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline for guidance.


Written By:

Miranda Gibbon, Pet Poison Helpline DVM Student Extern

Kansas State University Class of 2024 and Samantha Koch, CVT, Veterinary Specialist II, Pet Poison Helpline