Snakebites and chocolate: vet issues summer warning to pet owners

Murdoch University's Animal Hospital veterinary supervisor Jill Griffiths says the summer months provide many potential dangers for pets. Photo: Jason South.
Murdoch University's Animal Hospital veterinary supervisor Jill Griffiths says the summer months provide many potential dangers for pets. Photo: Jason South.

While swimming pools and festive food are some of West Aussie's favourite ways to spend the holidays, vets are warning locals to keep an eye on their furry friend this summer.

Murdoch University's Animal Hospital veterinary supervisor Jill Griffiths said heat stroke, snakebites and sunburn, swimming and leftover Christmas food could put pets in harms way over the festive season.

"Chocolate... is probably one of the most common causes of admission to the Animal Hospital in the summer months," Dr Griffiths said.

"[And] now well and truly out of hibernation, venomous snakes are also increasingly coming into contact with people and their pets.

"We're seeing high numbers of snakebites in dogs, cats and even chickens," Dr Griffiths said.

And snakes and chocolate are just the beginning. 

As temperatures soar, Dr Griffiths said it should be common sense for dog owners not to leave their animals in the car.

"On a 30 degree day, the temperature inside a car can rise to 70 degrees within 15 minutes – and that's with the windows rolled down slightly," she said.

"Dogs are also so eager to please, they will keep playing in hot temperatures to the point of collapse.

"Owners need to watch for warning signs of heatstroke such as heavy panting, and ensure they provide plenty of shaded areas and fresh water."

It also turns out our furry friends can get sunburn too, and Dr Griffiths urged pet owners to invest in an animal-friendly sunscreen.

Lastly, Dr Griffiths said water safety is paramount.

She said dogs should never be left unsupervised around deep water.

"If they are old, have a heart condition or a seizure disorder it is best to keep them away from the pool altogether," he said.

 "If your pet is involved in a near-drowning incident, take them to the vet.

"Complications including hypothermia, pneumonia or fluid build-up in the lungs can occur."

If your pet needs medical help this summer, you can contact Collie Veterinary Services on 9734 1155.