Although we don’t have a lot of dangerous wildlife in the UK, there are some bugs and pests you’ll want to try to avoid your dog coming into contact with. Especially during the summer months when there are more bugs around, you may want to keep your dog on the lead, only letting them off in safe, enclosed areas such as your home garden (where possible).
When walking your dog, whether they are on the lead or off, ensure their dog tag information is fully up to date. If the worst happens and your dog was off-lead and did come into contact with something that made them ill or prevented them returning to you, anyone in the area can then easily get in contact with you.
Here’s a guide on the sorts of things you should keep an eye out for when walking your dog;
A type of small parasite that attaches itself to the skin, ticks are fairly common in areas around livestock. Although not an immediate fatal threat, ticks can carry Lyme Disease, which can be transferred to both pets and humans. If you are walking your pet near areas of livestock or wooded areas, you’ll want to check them regularly for the parasite. If recently attached, ticks may not be immediately visible but will grow over a short period of time.
To remove a tick, there is a tick-removal device you can buy. This hooks under the tick’s mouth and with a few twists, removes the tick cleanly – although do check closely that nothing has been left behind. Never attempt to pull the tick off with your fingers or tweezers and never try to suffocate or burn the parasite off. Not only could this cause harm to your dog, but it could cause the tick to “vomit” in defence, potentially increasing the chance your pet catches a disease.
The only venomous snake in the UK, Adders are commonly found around woodlands and moorland, although they do also like sandy areas, sand dunes and rocky hillsides. You are unlikely to see Adders, as they are quite good at keeping to themselves out of the way. However, that’s not to say your dog won’t come across one while exploring on a walk.
Should your dog get bitten, it’s advised to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible. Adder bites will cause swelling and pain in the afflicted area which will only subside with anti-venom. Where possible, if your dog has sustained a bite, try to carry them out of the area, rather than letting them walk or run as this could encourage the venom to spread.
Bees and wasps are the most common stinging insects you’ll find in the UK and they aren’t particularly popular amongst humans, either. The biggest issue for dogs when it comes to stinging insects is their tendency to chase and try to catch flying insects in their mouths. This can lead to a nasty sting which causes swelling, should they get caught in the throat, this will rapidly lead to breathing problems. Dogs can also show allergic reactions to bee and wasp stings, so keep an eye out for swelling, excessive drooling and increased lethargy.
The best option is to encourage your dog to stay away from these kinds of insects, showing plenty of positive attention when they leave it alone. Bees will not sting when left alone, although wasps aren’t as polite. Should your dog show signs of numerous stings or an allergic reaction, take them to your vet straight away.
Fleas and worms aren’t necessarily a summer threat but can be picked up all year round and your vet will be able to provide regular treatments to keep your pet protected. Should you require any further information on the types of pests mentioned here that could potentially affect your dog, get in contact with your local vet.
If you have a dog-walker that regularly comes by for your dogs and you are aware your dog has an allergy to bee or wasp stings, it might be worth adding the information to your dog’s tag. This can be particularly helpful if your dog-walker takes your pet to a different vet to where your dog is registered.
Should you require new tags, check out our range of glitter or designer dog tags, perfect for treating your pooch to a bit of summer bling.