Photo by Bahman Adlou on Unsplash

As Memorial Day draws near many of us are thinking about all of the great summer grill outs that we will be hosting. While barbecues are great fun for both people and their pets, it’s important to make sure that you follow a few guidelines when hosting or attending such an event to make sure everyone, both two and four legged guests, can celebrate safely.

1. Keep the people food to the people

Make sure you keep your food and drink out of reach of your pets. Inform your guests about any “don’t feed the dog” rules as well. Your pup may think that whatever is coming off the grill smells amazing, but human food poses many dangers to pets. Besides the chance of burns if you pet manages to nab something straight off the grill, the following is a list of common hazards for pets:

  • Kebab sticks (both metal and wooden) can be swallowed and/or puncture a pet’s mouth
  • Ribs/bones are also choking hazards. If swallowed they can cause puncture or perforation of internal organs
  • Corn cobs can cause obstruction or digestion problems if swallowed
  • Foods high in fat can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which can be serious and occasionally fatal
  • Onions and avocados are great on burgers but are toxic to dogs when ingested and snacks like grapes, raisins, and chocolate are dangerous as well

Consider feeding your dog their meal or a snack before your grill out to make sure they are less tempted by hunger. Or offer your pet their own version of a barbecue snack while you enjoy your food.

2. Pick up trash

Some of our pets may moonlight as raccoons, sneakily accessing our trash cans and bags of rubbish. Be sure that any trash, especially trash with food leftovers that may smell appealing, is secured where your pet cannot access it and keep it covered. Aluminum foil, skewers, bones, grease, plastic wrap, and lighter fluid all pose dangers to our pets that are easily avoidable if care is taken.

For those of you who may live in more rural areas, be sure to protect your trash from wildlife as well both to avoid luring in critters and to protect them from the same dangers.

3. Establish boundaries

These boundaries go both ways. You should be sure to establish places where it is unsafe for your pet to be and take steps to keep them out of those areas as well as make sure that your pet has a quiet place to retreat away from your guests if needed.

Consider fencing off or blocking access to the grill or barbecue area. Those smells are tempting for pets, but the heat from the fire and the grease are both dangerous. Make sure your pet doesn’t have access to either. It’s also important to make sure your yard/home are secure. It only takes one guest not paying attention, or you entering your home/yard with your hands full, to allow your pet to escape. Notify your guests that you have pets and explain where they can and cannot be. Put your pet on a lead or in an enclosed space if you’re worried about an escape.

While some pets may enjoy having friends and family of all ages visit, other pets prefer not to have to engage with strangers or children. Be sure there is a place where your pet can go to retreat from the gathering and have some quiet time. Let your guests, especially those with children, know that your pet may need some space and to not interfere if they do retreat to their “safe spot.” Give your pet a puzzle toy or a kong stuffed with a treat to distract them during their breaks.

4. Keep your dog cool

Make sure your pet has access to shade. On very hot days it may be best to keep your pup inside, or only allow them out for short periods of time. Know the signs of heat stroke in pets and keep an eye on your pup. If you have access to a hose, kiddie pool, or sprinkler, consider giving your pup some time to play in the water to cool off.

Hydration is important for both you and your pet. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water and keep their bowl full throughout the day. Toss a few ice cubes into their bowl for a fun treat to both entertain them and keep their water cool.

5. Scan the area

Know what plants are poisonous for pets and remove them from your yard ahead of time. When you’re distracted with the grill or your guests you want to know that there’s nothing your pet could eat that would be problematic. If you and your pup are guests of someone else, be sure to do a quick scan of their yard as well. Consider keeping your pup leashed to you to prevent them from interacting with any plants that may be suspect.

If you are going to be setting off fireworks make sure your pet is secured ahead of time. Fireworks are often extremely stressful for pets and they would much prefer being inside or somewhere that is secured. Once you’ve finished your pyrotechnic display, scan the ground for bits of the fireworks that fall so that your pet does not ingest them later.


So go ahead and enjoy those barbecues! Just make sure that you are following our tips to keep everyone safe and happy.

Microchipping Your Pet: How it Works

Microchipping your pet tremendously boosts the chances of reuniting if he or she ever gets lost. It does not matter if you have a dog, a cat, a rabbit, or a horse, microchipping works! But for it to be effective, you have to do it right, keep updating your details, and purge your mind of all the rumors and falsehoods about it. 

Microchipping does not monitor or track your pet. But we will help you learn how it works so that you can make this crucial decision and protect your fur baby. 

Photo by Werzk Luuu on Unsplash

Microchipping Works – Here Are The Statistics

The American Humane Organization estimates that each year, 10 million pets are lost in the United States. Many don’t stray too far from their homes and are recovered by their owners. However, many more end up in animal shelters. 


According to the ASPCA, 93% of dogs and 74% of cats in shelters are reunited with their owners. However, many pets have to wait in shelters because they are unidentified. They neither have an ID tag nor microchips. Of these, only 15% of dogs and 2% of cats are reunited with their owners. 


The situation changes when you consider microchipped pets.


A study conducted by the Ohio State University found that the owner-reunion rate for microchipped cats was 20 times higher than the owner-reunion rate for all lost cats. On the other hand, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was 2.5 times higher than the reunion rate for all lost dogs.

But what are pet microchips, and how do they work?

Pet Microchip – What It Is

The pet experts at The Vets explained to us that a pet microchip “Is a small electronic device inserted into the body of your pet. It is as small as a single grain of rice. It is often inserted underneath the skin between the shoulder blades. Contrary to the myths, pet microchips do not require batteries, can last a lifetime, and the insertion process is painless.”

How it works

The microchip carries a unique code that is identifiable by a microchip scanner. The scanner emits a specific radio frequency that activates the chip. The chip then transmits its unique identification code to the scanner. The scanning shelter or vet can then compare the code against a database to reveal the lost pet owner’s contact information.


Therefore, for a pet microchip to work effectively, these three conditions should be fulfilled:


  • The chip should be in the correct place and in working condition. 
  • The person scanning should use the proper scanner and proper technique. 
  • The name and contact information of the pet owner (in the database) should be up to date. 


Why A Pet Microchip Could Fail

Not fulfilling any of the three conditions above means that microchipping your pet may not be effective. There are several reasons why there could be such a breakdown. 


First, the microchip could be faulty. A faulty microchip means that the entire process does not work. But according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it is rare. 


Second, the person scanning could be applying an incorrect technique. Sometimes the vet or shelter staff can scan for a microchip while the pet is wearing a collar with metallic parts. The metal could distort the microchip or scanner signal. One could also use the incorrect type of scanner that emits radio frequencies above or below the range of the microchip and fails to activate it. To minimize the chances of this error, scanner manufacturers worldwide have adopted uniform international standards. Plus, many are developing wide-range scanners that can detect a variety of chips.


The third and most common reason why pet microchipping might not be effective is a result of errors in the database. When your contact information is not up to date or is incorrect, the shelter cannot contact you. Worse still, there is no central database with information about microchipped pet owners in the US. However, pet microchipping companies are progressively addressing that gap. Today, there are websites providing links to the registries of microchip companies to vets and shelters.


Pet microchips will also fail to work if you believe the following myths:

  • You can use a microchip to track the location of your pet. Although some microchipping companies often sell pet monitoring and tracking systems, microchipping is primarily an identification device.
  • A microchip can replace the ID tag on your pet. 
  • Pet microchip companies do not protect your personal information. Therefore you could give false information or deliberately fail to update it.

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

A Final Word, Be A Proactive Pet Owner

Microchipping significantly enhances the chances of a reunion with your pet if he or she ever gets lost. Be a proactive pet owner and have your pet microchipped. 


But do not stop there. 


Ensure your pet always has an ID tag. Go a step further and get a collar with a tracking system. It could save you a lot of trouble since many pets don’t stray too far from home. Contact the microchip company and confirm your details are correct and up-to-date. Also, ask your vet to scan the microchip and check that it is working correctly every time you visit. 


Guest Author: Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friends.