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Pembrokeshire Coast Summer Safety


Grass Seeds

Seeds from grasses and other cereals can be very troublesome if they find their way into a dog’s eyes, ears, nose or paws. If a grass seed ends up somewhere it shouldn’t be it can cause coughing, sneezing, discharge, discomfort and infection. Grasses can also cause skin problems; such as hives or rashes.

Heat stroke

One of the biggest summer dangers for dogs is the heat. Tragically, every year dogs die from heat stroke after being left in cars. Dogs can also get heat stroke when exercising in hot weather, especially without access to clean drinking water. Dogs are very sensitive to heat because they cannot regulate their body temperature by sweating. Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that causes great suffering and can cause serious damage to internal organs. Signs of heat stroke can include excessive panting, dark red gums, vomiting, diarrhoea and collapse.


If dogs drink a large amount of salt water, they can suffer from salt poisoning. Signs of severe salt poisoning include continuous vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, stiffness, cramps and collapse. Be sure to have fresh water available for your dog when visiting Pembrokeshire’s beautiful beaches. Also be mindful that playing fetch in the sea may result in your dog gulping water down as they retrieve their ball.

Blue-green algae

When blue-green algae blooms in lakes, streams and seas, a poison can form in the water. There are many species of blue-green algae; only some produce toxic compounds. If a dog drinks or swims in the water, it can suffer from rapid and often fatal algae poisoning. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures & collapse. Be wary of this when visiting any of our brilliant lakes, quarries and reservoirs.


Dogs are usually good swimmers, but each year in the UK, a number of dogs unfortunately drown. If a dog falls into the water from a boat, pool edge or jetty it can be very difficult to get them out of the water, especially if it is a heavy dog that is panicking. Always use a life jacket on a boat or around the dock, even if your dog is well behaved. If your dog is likely to decide he’s going to swim out to bobbing seagulls or try to fetch you a floating buoy, it may be safest to keep them on a lead or longline while near water.

Cliff safety

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park offers beautiful walks for us and our dogs but staying safe near steep cliff edges and narrow paths is very important. Keeping dogs on leads is highly recommended, even if your dog has fantastic recall, as you never know what may be around the corner. Sheep, cattle, rabbits, birds and other wildlife can be found along the spectacular 186-mile trail, which could cause your dog to run off and find itself in a dangerous situation.


The summer heat brings out our native snakes and creepy crawlies. Adders, our only native venomous snake, like to bask in the sun along our coastal paths and in sand dunes and long grass. Adder bites can be very painful and become dangerously swollen very quickly, so seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. An adder bite may be difficult to see through thick hair but will quickly become bruised, swollen & cause lameness.

Ticks, fleas and flies are also more active in the summer and can cause nasty skin irritations, infections, maggot infestations and transmit diseases. Try to check over your animals for any signs of these after a day of exploring. Regular parasite control treatment, that also prevents ticks, is extremely important during the warm summer months.

Our beaches are also home to some feisty sea creatures such as jellyfish & weever fish. A sting from a jellyfish can cause blistering, serious irritation, hyper-salivation & fever. Dogs can suffer from an anaphylactic reaction too which can be fatal. Initial treatment can include a mild vinegar wash to deactivate the sting, but animals should be taken to the vets if a serious reaction occurs.

Weever fish burrow under the sand in the shallows and give a nasty sting if stepped on. Stings are similar to a bee sting causing swelling & irritation and initial treatment is to soak area with warm water to break down the protein in the venom.

Rapeseed Crop

Beautiful bright yellow rapeseed fields can be seen across much of Pembrokeshire but, as tempting as it may be to frolic through them, they can cause skin irritation & gastrointestinal upset in our pets. Our animals may experience swollen eyes and burn-like skin irritations, as well as vomiting & diarrhoea if ingested. You may also experience a very angry farmer if caught strolling through their crops.

Source: Summer Dangers for Dogs

June 2023

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Fenton Vets

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