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Creepy crawlies, bugs and slugs. Protect your dog this Springtime!

Creepy crawlies, bugs and slugs. Protect your dog this Springtime!

As Spring officially starts this week, I’m hoping for some warmer, calmer weather to let my 3 dogs have fun and explore the outdoors. However, this doesn’t come without its risks!

As an Education and Outreach Worker, I’m really enjoying delivering our new lessons with some great new resources to share with our Learners. One of these is our nutrition and health workshop.

We all want our dogs to be healthy and happy and most of us will do our best to achieve this. But what about the things that we're not aware of or know little about? What about the bugs and parasites that can harm or even kill our furry friends?

Here are some of the many Springtime dangers that we need to be aware of:


Dogs can eat slugs and snails either deliberately, or by accident, maybe whilst eating grass, rummaging in undergrowth, drinking from puddles, or by picking up dog toys left outside. Slugs and snails can carry the larvae of the lungworm parasite which can migrate to the dogs heart. This can prove fatal, especially if the symptoms are not noticed and treated early. In fact, any unusual or worrying behaviour always get your dog checked by a vet.


Make sure you regularly worm your dog with a wormer that includes protection from lung worm.

Fleas and ticks.

A tick is a parasite which latches on to your dog’s skin and suck its blood. They are mostly found in woodland and grassland and can pass on serious illness to dogs and humans alike! Be extra vigilant and make sure you check yourself and your dog after walks.


A flea is smaller in size to a tick but also feeds on the dog's blood. Fleas need be removed as soon as they are seen as they can lay eggs whilst they are feeding. As your dog moves around your home or sheds its fur these eggs will drop off and hatch into new fleas. Before you know it your house will be flea infested! Make sure you regularly treat your dog against fleas and ticks.


Allergic reactions and poisoning

Springtime walks and time outdoors can mean coming into contact with pollen and plants. Any allergic reaction can cause itching, runny eyes and difficulty in breathing for your dog.

Spring is also the time when wasps and bees become active so take care and watch what your dog is up to. If your dog is anything like mine, a favourite pastime is to chase wasps!

Other risks are not so obvious including Alabhama rot which is thought to be contracted from muddy and woodland areas. It is often fatal and sadly many cases are not noticed soon enough. Its important that after walks, especially muddy and woodland walks, that you thoroughly clean your dogs afterwards.

Your dog can also come to harm because of their inquisitive noses. Many plants and flowers blooming during Spring can be poisonous for dogs so be vigilant if your dog likes to eat or chew plants and flowers.

Keen gardeners might also use cocoa-mulch on their flowerbeds. Unbeknown to many dog owners, this contains theobromine (just like chocolate) which is poisonous to dogs. Tree bark is a safer option.

As ever, the best cure is always prevention and also by being alert and vigilant as to what your dog is doing. This way you can all look forward to some great times outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and getting lots of healthy exercise!