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Tips for celebrating Canada Day with a dog-friendly BBQ

Everything you need to host the perfect dog-friendly BBQ this Canada Day is covered.

Doggy in a BBQ celebrating Canada Day

The weather is hotting up and with Canada Day just around the corner, it’s time to get planning on how to celebrate one of our favourite days of the year.

If you have a backyard or a patio, this is the perfect time to make use of this space and host a Canada Day BBQ (socially distanced, of course!).

However, if your circle of friends are dog owners, things have the potential to get a little chaotic. Here are some tips and tricks on how to host a safe and fun dog-friendly BBQ, as well as some Canadian food and drink options for your guests - both human and four-legged.

Tip #1 - Know what food scraps are dog-safe

First off, it’s good to know what foods are toxic for pups in case some of them are going to be at the BBQ. We all know our dogs love some tasty food scraps, so here is a short list of foods that they need to keep away from:

  • Avocados - The persin present in avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. Also, the stone is a choking hazard.

  • Grapes - Can cause kidney failure in dogs and just a small amount can make a dog sick.

  • Onions - Onions can kill a dog’s red blood cells, causing anaemia. Eating a lot just once can cause poisoning.

  • Chocolate - Chocolate can cause a dog to vomit and have diarrhoea. It can also cause heart problems, tremors, seizures, and death.

Luckily, there are plenty of BBQ foods that are ok for dogs to eat. If they happen to get some scraps of the following foods, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

  • Hot Dogs

  • Hamburgers

  • Zucchini and Sweet Potatoes

  • Blueberries and Watermelon

  • Grilled Meat and Fish

Tip #2 - Get the menu right

For a great BBQ, you need great meat. A perfect place to start is by ordering some fresh, high quality, local meats for the grill. Don’t fancy going shopping? We are huge fans of Vancouver’s Tru Local delivery. With Tru Local, you can customize your box with all of your favourite local meat and fish and have it delivered right to your door. Whether it’s 100% grass-fed and finished beef, wild-caught salmon, or boneless skinless chicken breasts, they’ve got you covered! When you’re preparing your grilled items, try out the charcoal rub and butchers salt from local craft Butchery Sebastian and Co - we’re big fans.

Tip #3 - Fill your pup up before your guests arrive

Meat bones are commonly found at a BBQ and they are usually not safe for pups to eat. Be especially cautious about cooked chicken bones since they can splinter and cause damage to your pup. Instead, it’s a good idea to feed the pups an early dinner in order to calm the excitement, and stop any begging for scraps. To keep the pups occupied while the guests are enjoying the food, it might be a good time to give the pups something fun to chew on. We’d highly recommend Great Canadian Sticks from This and That. These are low fat, deeply delicious chews that are perfect as an after dinner chew to settle the stomach.

Tip #4 - Have some extras on the menu

Spice up your food with a selection of sauces for your guests to choose from. We are huge fans of the sauces made by Bow Valley BBQ. They are proudly Canadian and have a variety of bold flavoured BBQ sauces, hot sauces, steak sauces and salsa - so something for everyone to enjoy.

No BBQ, or Canada Day, is complete without a few drinks, so why not grab some locally crafted Ginger Beer from Odd Society Spirits, from a distillery in the heart of East Van. When it’s time for dessert, don’t leave out your four-legged guests. Vancouver based Rocky Point Ice Cream has a ‘K9’ ice cream which is their traditional ice cream base, sprinkled with dog kibble (contains dairy and sugar).

Tip #5 - Be Dog-Safe

It’s good to know some basic BBQ safety precautions when you have a number of furry friends involved. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Avoid using potent insect sprays or sunscreens around your dog, and keep such products out of reach

  • Use lidded receptacles to keep dogs out of the trash

  • Keep the foods, especially the toxic ones, on a high enough surface so that dogs cannot access them

  • Have a covered container on-hand to collect bones from grilled chicken, ribs, and other meats

  • Put the lid down to prevent curious pups from putting their feet on a hot grill

  • Keep lighter fluid, charcoal, and matches out of reach

  • Secure your dog with a leash, or ask others to play with her while you grill

Tip #6 - Have Fun

It’s been a tough few months for everyone, so remember to be safe but also to have fun with your guests and furry friends this Canada Day - you deserve it!


For your chance to WIN products from all the (proudly Canadian) companies mentioned above for the perfect Canada Day BBQ, enter our Canadian BARK-B-Q Giveaway via our Instagram page. Good luck!


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