Spring is a great time to get out in the garden or take those long walks which you've missed out on during the dark and cold winter. However, there are some hidden dangers for your dog which you may not be aware of. We've compiled a list of things to look out for in your four-legged friend.
Plants To Avoid
Your pooch doesn't know this, but there are poisonous plants which he or she should avoid at all costs.
As pretty as they might be, if eaten they can prove fatal. All parts of the daffodil plant (Narcissus poeticus) are toxic. Signs of Daffodil poisoning include diarrhoea, vomiting and staggering.
Another very common plant which is not generally known as being toxic. The stem and plant contain a compound that can cause serious gastrointestinal problems in dogs.
The leaves are toxic and if eaten by a dog can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, trembling and breathing difficulties.
Other potentially poisonous garden produce include pear pips, onions, garlic, grapes and potato peelings.
Chocolate, Raisins and Sultanas
Every Easter Veterinary surgeries are inundated with dogs who have poisoning due to eating chocolate eggs and cakes.
Despite their enthusiasm to share your treats, keep chocolate, raisins and sultanas well away from your dog, no matter how delicious we all find them.
Bee and Wasp Stings
Dogs will generally react to bee and wasp stings in the same way we do - irritated but, in most cases, not deadly.
However, stings around the nose, mouth or throat can cause your dog breathing problems and should be treated immediately. Difficult when your pet's main form of defence is to catch buzzing insects with their teeth.
How to treat stings
A bee’s sting will lodge in the skin and should be carefully removed by scraping it away using a credit card or similar so that you don’t accidentally release more venom – do not use tweezers.
Wasp stings are more painful and they can sting many times.
Once the sting has been removed apply a cold compress immediately – crushed ice/peas wrapped in a tea towel.
Bathe the area gently using a diluted vinegar solution for wasp stings and use a bicarbonate of soda solution for bee stings, to neutralize the sting.
Close observation is vital.
Call vetfone for further advice and support if you are in any way concerned.
Like humans, some pets have an allergic response to the chemicals in the sting.
Signs of a severe reaction include weakness, difficulty breathing, and swelling extending away from the sting site.
If your pet is having a severe life threatening reaction, you should quickly contact a vet.
The thought of liking a toad isn't something we would entertain, but for some dogs, and cats, a lick is one of the first reactions they'll have to something new.
When toads feel threatened they excrete a thick, milky venom which contains a cocktail of toxins which cause a variety of symptoms in your pet.
Look out for irritation to the lining of the mouth, causing hyper salivation and frothing which could be associated with pain in the mouth.
In severe cases this can lead to vomiting, shaking, lack of coordination, rapid breathing or rapid heart rate, high temperature, fits, collapse, coma and thankfully very rarely, death.
To treat - the mouth should be washed immediately and flushed with water (providing that the animal is not convulsing or unconscious). Try not to let your pet swallow this water. Any pet showing signs of more than local irritation to the mouth may need supportive treatment from the vet.
Again, ring vetfone to ask their advice if you're at all concerned.
If you suspect that your pet has been bitten by an Adder take them to the vet immediately, minimizing their movement by carrying them if at all possible.
Although very rare an Adder's venom can pose a fatal risk.
Their diamond backed marking are uncommon in the UK but when they are found they're usually in dry areas, sand dunes, cliff tops, on the edge of woodland, moorland and rocky hillsides.
You may smell their pungent odour before you see them, but your dog will have smelt the snake a long way off and will be inquisitive.
Adders can be seen basking in the sun, from March to October, and normally will only bite when provoked - a big, sniffy nose or being trodden on. They hibernate during the winter months and wake up in spring.
A bite can be fatal to your pet and, as most vets don’t have access to anti-venom, supportive therapy is the only treatment.
If you suspect your pet has been bitten whilst walking or in the garden, you'll probably hear a yelp firstly. Look out for symptoms of pain and swelling which can spread and be severe.
There can be bruising, salivation, diarrhoea, vomiting, restlessness, drowsiness, depression, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, pale gums, shock, convulsions, collapse and death.
An adder bite can affect normal blood clotting and local tissue damage can be severe, so try not to move or stress your dog more than they will be already, as this will increase their heart beat, moving the venom through their body quicker.
As part of our Pet Insurance
, MORE TH>N offers free access to vetfone - a helpline service manned by RCVS nurses 24 hours a day offering advice and support for you and your pet. Information about how to contact them will be in your policy documentation.
Much of the information within this article was supplied by vetfone.
(Originally published on 02/04/2013)