Hidden Summer Risks for You and Your Dog

by Vicky Williams MRCVS

Summer is here (in a typical British way). It is a great time of year for enjoying the countryside with your dog, especially given how many of us are enjoying a staycation this year. There are lots of well known summer risks for dogs, most of which we are all familiar with: not leaving our dogs in hot cars, walks on hot pavements, and sunburn. But there are a few lesser known risks I’ve highlighted here.


Blue Green Algae: Commonly found in non-flowing, fresh water, such as lakes and ponds, during hot weather. It is not actually algae but clumped bacteria that produce a variety of toxins. Dogs can be exposed by drinking or swimming in infected water and ingestion can cause severe illness and death. If you are suspicious of any water you can upload a photo to the Bloomin’ Algae app and the UK centre for Ecology and Hydrology will quickly check if it is harmful and, if so, add it to an interactive map.

Adder Bites: The European adder is the only venomous snake native to the UK. They are not common and bites are fairly rare. Adders can be found in various areas including the North York Moors. Adders only tend to bite if provoked and most bites occur between April and July. If you suspect an adder bite you will see swelling around the wound, possibly with central puncture wounds and your dog may seem in pain and increasingly lethargic and wobbly. Most bites occur on the legs or face. If you are concerned about a possible adder bite it is best to see a vet quickly as your dogs may need supportive treatment, such as a drip, and treatment may need to include anti-venom.

Don’t forget Kennel Cough vaccine: Many kennels like dogs to be vaccinated 1-2 weeks before their stay because the vaccine used is a live one. We would always recommend dogs have the vaccine if visiting boarding kennels.

Travel Abroad: This has become complicated since Brexit and the end of the PET passport scheme with most travel, even to Ireland, now requiring an AHC (animal health certificate) produced by a vet with a special government qualification (and OVS) after certain requirements are met. But this is a whole topic for another day!

As ever, do not hesitate to contact the team at Station House Vets if we can help with any queries relating to this article or anything else.

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