Warm weather means cookouts, pool parties, and long days spent outdoors. While most dogs love to spend time outside, there are safety precautions to keep in mind before planning your next backyard BBQ bash. Keep these five tips in mind to ensure you and your dog will have a stress-free summer cookout.
On today’s show, we are talking about summer bar-b-ques, our furry companions, and a few safety tips. If you stick around until the end, we are going to talk about robotic seeing-eye dogs too. Sit back and enjoy the podcast!
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Here are five safety tips for enjoying backyard bar-b-ques with our dogs.
1. Make sure your dog can’t escape
It only takes one guest to leave a door or gate open for your pet to get loose. Make sure visitors know you have a dog, and if people are coming and going frequently, consider putting your dog on a lead or in a bedroom or crate.
For any dog, it’s always a good idea to give your dog some private space to retreat to in case they get overwhelmed. Be proactive and give your dog intentional breaks — put your dog’s bed or crate in a quiet area of the home separate from the gathering. Puzzle toys or food-stuffed toys can keep your dog occupied. This is an especially good idea if you are going to be distracted and not able to give full attention to your dog, such as when you are putting food on the grill.
2. Keep your dog cool
If your party is outdoors, be sure your pet has plenty of water and access to shade. On especially hot days, it may be best to leave your dog inside. If he starts showing signs of heatstroke (restlessness or agitation with vigorous panting or bright-red gums), bring him to a cooler area and contact your veterinarian immediately.
Swimming and water games can be a great way to keep your dog cool. If your pup does decide to join in on swimming, follow safety protocol and make sure they are supervised at all times.
3. Avoid table scraps
Remind your guests not to give your dog any people food. Barbecued food, especially, can be greasy and upset your pet’s stomach. Keep an eye on the food tables to make sure your dog does not grab anything. More importantly, certain foods such as onion, avocado, grapes, and raisins can be toxic. If you’re uncertain if a food is safe for a dog or not, check our full list of cookout foods on Alaska dog works(dot)com
It’s a good idea to make sure your dog eats before your barbecue starts so your pup will be less tempted by hunger. If your pup is feeling left out while everyone else enjoys their meal, treat them to some BBQ-flavored dog treats. You can find our recommendations on our website.
4. Fan the flame
Safety first. Keep your dog away from the grill while you are using it. The open flame is very dangerous. Your dog should not be allowed near the grill even after you have finished cooking, as it stays hot for a while. This shouldn’t be a problem if your dog is trained to stay away from the grill or if your grill is in an area inaccessible to your dog.
5. Prevent panic
Many summer holidays call for fireworks or other loud noises, much to the dismay of our skittish four-legged friends. Remember that dogs don’t understand those loud explosions are only for fun. Many dogs each year run away from home after being spooked by these loud sounds. Playing recordings of fireworks accompanied by treats in months ahead can help desensitize dogs to the sound of fireworks. Otherwise, confine him in a safe place, offer him treats during the show, and/or talk to your veterinarian about medication options.
Robotic Seeing Eye Dogs
A student at Loughborough University has designed a ‘robotic guide dog’ that could help support visually impaired people who are unable to house a real animal.
Designed by Anthony Camu, the product replicates the role of a guide dog as well as programming quick and safe routes to destinations using real-time data. Camu, who is a final year Industrial Design and Technology student, said he was inspired by virtual-reality (VR) gaming consoles to create the prototype, named ‘Theia’ after the titan goddess of sight.
Theia is a portable and concealable handheld device that guides users through outdoor environments and large indoor spaces with very little input. Using a special control moment gyroscope (CMG), the device moves users’ hands and physically ‘leads’ them – similarly to holding the brace of a guide dog.
According to Camu, the device is designed to process real-time online data, such as traffic density (pedestrians and cars) and weather, to guide users accurately and safely to their destinations. The device will also be able to help the user tackle specific interactions such as elevators, stairs and shops.
Furthermore, it will also have a fail-safe procedure for high-risk scenarios, such as crossing busy roads – pushing the user back into a ‘manual mode’, similar to using a cane.
Camu said that the goal of many non-sighted people is to be independent and live a normal life “but unfortunately, many who endure vision loss feel excluded from situations and activities which many people take for granted, such as socializing, shopping or going to restaurants”. He added that such limitations are usually formed due to the fear and anxiety associated with having a partial understanding of the surroundings.
“Theia has the capacity to expand a blind person’s comfort zones and possibilities, broaden their horizons and allow them to think less about walking and more about what’s waiting for them at the end of the route,” he added. “The ultimate goal is that Theia’s users can traverse routes safely and efficiently, at the same pace as, or even faster than, ordinary people, without the worry and hassle of visualizing the environment.”
Camu has successfully created prototypes that feature the CMG technology, and although the project is still in its infancy, he says the potential is there. “I know this is a grand vision, but I hope people can see the positive effects Theia could have on the blind community,” he said.
So, I pose a question to you. Do you think that this device will eventually replace a seeing eye guide dog? If so, what about the natural bond, trust and relationship that develops between the dog and his handler. Is it worth it to lose all of that?
Let us know in the comments section of this podcast or video and on our social channels. Just search dog works radio.