Springtime dangers for dogs
After hibernating indoors over the long winter months, it feels good waking up to brighter days and getting back outside.
But although spring is a beautiful time of year, like any season it isn’t without its hidden dangers for dogs.
Along with all the hazards that Easter brings, there’s also lungworm, ticks and certain poisonous plants to watch out for.
There are several plants commonly found in gardens and parks across the UK that could make your pooch poorly.
Some of these are highly poisonous, while others may just cause a bit of tummy troubles.
If you have a dog that likes to dig and forage, it pays to be extra vigilant this time of year.
If your pup happens to eat a spring bulb in autumn when they are planted, or in spring when they begin to flower, this could cause poisoning.
- Daffodils - signs of poisoning can include vomiting, stomach upset and dribbling. In other cases, it can escalate to dogs appearing sleepy, wobbly on their legs, or even worse collapsing. In worst case scenarios, dog can fit and there may be changes to heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. Your pooch may also become poorly after eating any daffodils or drinking water from a vase that contains daffodils.
- Crocuses - If eaten, may cause a mild stomach upset or even fits. Like many plants, the bulb is the most toxic part to dogs. Different to autumn crocus, which flower in autumn and can cause liver and kidney problems, severe stomach upset and bone marrow depression.
- Hyacinths - even though the entire plant is poisonous, it is the bulbs that are the worst. Hyacinth bulbs contain a toxin which may irritate your dogs mouth and gastrointestinal tract, resulting in drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Tulips - The toxins found in tulips cause irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract which only usually results in drooling, diarrhoea and vomiting. You guessed it! The bulb is the most dangerous part. Serious cases are rare, but symptoms could include breathing difficulties and heart problems.
- Lily of the Valley - can cause cardiac arrhythmias and death if ingested.
- Azaelia - If ingested, all parts of azaleas cause nausea, vomiting, depression, difficulty breathing and even coma. And if eaten in large enough quantities, they can be fatal to dogs.
- Bluebells - contain 'scillarens', chemicals that reduce the heart rate. This can cause diarrhoea, lethargy, vomiting, and disorientation in dogs.
- Lillies - toxic to dogs and cats. Dogs usually would show gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting or diarrhoea.
- Ivy - can cause digestive issues such as diarrhoea and vomiting. Also causes skin irritation on contact
Poisoning in dogs can be expensive to treat. Hospitalisation would usually be required, with IV fluids, possible blood tests and treatment which could extend up to and onwards of £1000.
Depending on the severity of poisoning this could be an overnight stay or up to a week.
That’s a lot of time spent away from your beloved Buddy. Not to mention a lot of money!
Easter decorations can be very hazardous for our pets!
String-like decorations like bunting, artificial grass and the fluffy little chicks that come in Easter baskets pose a threat to pets.
Not to mention the little plastic eggs you may hide around the house for Easter egg hunts.
As well as being choking hazards, If your pet swallows any of these, they can get stuck in the throat or stomach and will not be able to pass through the intestines.
These obstructions can stop your dog from breathing or may require surgery to remove.
That's why it's wise to keep Easter decorations and any other small festive items and toys well out of paw reach.
Alternatively, get a pet sitter or leave your buddy in a safe space away from all the chaos and dangers.
Long weekend aside, one of the things that makes Easter an eggcellent (soz) holiday is without question the delicious food.
For many, it’s the perfect excuse to fill the home with chocolate eggs and other seasonal snacks and sweets. It would be rude not to!
But there are some very harmful and toxic goodies you will most definitely want to keep out of paws reach!
Chocolate and Sweets
Easter sweets containing artificial sweeteners such as xylitol should be stored away from any dogs.
Chocolate contains a chemical called ‘theobromine’ which is toxic to dogs and cats. Even small amounts of chocolate may cause:
- Seizures (or fits)
- Heart problems
- Death (in severe cases)
The darker the chocolate, the higher level of theobromine, and so the more poisonous it is!
Even white chocolate which doesn't even contain enough theobromine, is fatty and may cause tummy troubles and even pancreatitis.
If you suspect or know that your dog has eaten any Easter choc or sweets containing xylitol , get in touch with your vet asap.
Hot Cross Buns and Simnel cake
Hot cross buns and simnel cake are dangerous for dogs as they contain dried fruit, such as currants, sultanas and raisins, all of which are toxic.
Symptoms of poisoning include:
If your dog consumes a lot of this fruit and is severely poisoned, they may develop kidney failure over the following 1-3 days.
If you suspect your dog has eaten the above, contact your vet, especially if they have consumed a large amount.
Your vet may ask you to come in to monitor your dog for signs of a kidney problem, and if necessary, run urine and blood tests to check their kidney markers.
We know, puppy eyes can be very hard to resist.
But don't fall into the trap and get tempted to toss your dog a cooked bone from your Easter dinner.
Even if it's just to gnaw on, it's far too dangerous and will do more harm than good.
Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking and serious damage to the mouth, throat, or intestines when ingested.
This is extremely painful to your dog and may potentially cause death.
Atopic dermatitis tends to be worse in spring and summertime.
This can be due to allergens in the environment from pollens and grasses, trees and weeds and insects. It can cause itching, redness and rashes and can often develop into skin infections.
Ears can also be affected by allergies so routine cleaning is recommended.
Our Ear Care cleaning solution is designed for cats and dogs to help clear the ear canal and remove any excess build-up of wax.
It’s got a lovely lavender scent and is non staining making it soothing for your pet and safe for the home!
Allergy symptoms include:
- Scratching and rubbing
- Hair loss
- Skin changes
- Ear infections
- Crusty skin and dandruff
For pets with skin issues, Omega Care is a great supplement to promote good skin and coat health.
It combines Omega 3 fatty acids and a blend of vitamins for anti-inflammatory properties.
Like many, you might be struck with the urge to spring clean around this time of year.
It’s almost like a ritual! It’s time to thoroughly rid your home of the dirt, dust and pet hair that’s accumulated over the long, dark winter months.
Although they’re not particularly appealing due to their strong scents and unpleasant taste, the brightly coloured packaging and shaped bottles may seem like a tempting play toy.
Make sure that all your cleaning products are stored safely away, hidden from any dogs. If you’re cleaning or have just cleaned, keep your dog away from the area or put in a different room.
You don’t want any products getting on the paws as this may cause irritation or be ingested during grooming.
Cleaning products are packed with toxic chemicals and if ingested, some have more severe consequences, than others:
- Dettol - the main ingredient Chloroxynol is toxic to cats and dogs if ingested by mouth or by skin.
- Bleach - can cause digestive issues or burns around the mouth if ingested.
- Laundry detergent - can cause digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Dishwasher tablets and salt - can cause digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Salt can cause thirst, increased urination and decreased appetite.
- Air fresheners, spray, misters, plug-in diffusers - can be irritant to eyes, nose and throat and may cause organ damage if ingested.
Our Digestive Care paste for cats and dogs soothes digestive sensitives and is great for short-term use for stomach issues like vomiting and diarrhoea.
Slug bait and powder
Ingesting slug bait can cause fits and neurological issues from metaldehyde. Immediate veterinary attention is advised.
Use pet friendly organic fertiliser. Ones with additives and chemicals are toxic and can cause digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhoea
There are many different types of plant killers and the risks to dogs varies depending on the type and toxicity.
Most cases of poisoning happen when a dog licks or chews recently treated plants, brushes up against the solution or drinks from/plays with the containers.
Store any weed killer away safely and make sure your doggo is away from any areas that have been sprayed.
Effects vary dramatically depending on the type of weed killer, but can include breathing problems, vomiting, blood in the stools or vomit, dehydration, ulcers in the mouth, and even organ failure.
Never leave dog's alone in an unventilated car no matter the circumstance or weather conditions.
Even when the temperature is only 22 degrees, a car can reach 47 degrees in as little as 15 minutes!
Dogs with thick and heavy coats or short flat faces (brachycephalic breeds like French bulldogs and pugs) are more susceptible to heat.
If you see a dog in a car in hot weather do not be afraid to dial 999 if they are in distress, panting heavily, drooling excessively, vomiting or collapsed,
Insect Bites and Stings
Dogs are the most common pet to be stung due to their playful nature. Wasps and bees come out in full force in warmer weather. A sting usually causes minor discomfort.
However, an allergic reaction can result in excessive swelling, breathing difficulties and vomiting and diarrhoea. Immediate vet assistance is required.
Lungworm used to be relatively rare in the UK but numbers are increasing. It's transmitted by slugs and snails as well as infected dog and fox faeces.
When they are eaten the larvae travel around the body and mature in the lungs. The adult lungworm are then coughed up, swallowed and then end up passed via the faeces.
Then the cycle starts again!
Prevention is much better than cure as diagnostic tests can be tricky and expensive.
Unlike regular dog worming treatments which are usually given every three months, lungworm requires special monthly medication to both treat and prevent infection.
Symptoms of lungworm in dogs include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Pale gums.
The adder is the only snake in the UK toxic to dogs.
They tend to appear in spring and early summer. They usually only bite in self-defence, and more likely when they come out of hibernation.
Adders enjoy basking in the sun and curious doggos unfortunate enough to meet one are commonly bit on the face and front legs.
Sometimes you may spot two puncture wounds along with swelling If your dog has been bit.
Other signs may appear quickly and can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Crying in pain
- Being sick
- Increased temperature
- Changes to the heartbeat, breathing rate and blood pressure
Seek immediate veterinary attention if you suspect or know your dog has been bitten by an Adder. This is an emergency, although adder bites are rarely fatal.
Ticks are small blood sucking insects of the arachnid family that are prevalent in springtime.
They attach to their host with the mouthparts and feed on blood until engorged. They can grow as big as a bean!
Ticks are found mostly in wooded and grassy areas. but your dog can even get them in your back garden or the park.
That's why you should always check your companion after walks. Ticks love under the ears, armpits, groin and between the toes.
If you have a long-haired breed, keep the coat trim and tidy in the spring and summer months.
It's also good practice to keep the grass short in the garden and trim any bushes to prevent these pesky parasites.
Ticks can transmit diseases such as lymes disease, babesiosis, and ehrlichia which can be potentially fatal to dogs. Not to mention expensive to treat.
That's why our in-house vet team always recommend preventative care in the form of tick collars or treatments.
Flea Screen combo is a spot on treatment for dogs and cats from 8 weeks old which kills fleas, flea eggs and ticks!
Now that you know all of the dangers that spring can bring, you can keep yourself and all family members, furry or otherwise, safe this season!
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