Summer is a time for being outdoors and at this time of year pets may encounter wildlife such as adders and jellyfish. Bees and wasps are also active in the summer months. There may also be risks associated with outdoor activities such as barbecues. This leaflet describes some of the potential hazards associated with this time of year.

The adder is the only native venomous snake in the UK. They are not aggressive but will bite if provoked. The venom can result in rapid swelling around the bite with pain, lethargy and collapse. There is also the risk of more severe signs. As a protected species the adder should be left where it is; do not attempt to catch it – this is not allowed and is dangerous

This contains a hydrocarbon fuel which is irritant to the skin, eyes and the gut, and can cause oral ulceration, skin inflammation and burns, vomiting and breathing difficulties.

Stings from bees or wasps can cause pain and swelling, which can sometimes be extensive. Allergic reactions can occur in some animals with collapse and breathing difficulties. In animals with multiple stings it can take 24 hours or more for your pet to become seriously unwell with kidney failure, liver damage and breathing difficulties.

Hot dry summers may cause blooms of blue green algae in lakes and ponds. Dogs that swim or play in lakes and ponds may therefore be exposed. There are many different types of blue green algae: some cause liver damage while others affect the brain (tremors, paralysis, breathing difficulties). Signs can be very rapid in onset (within minutes). If you see a warning sign reporting the presence of blue green algae in a water course make sure you keep your dog on a lead and out of the water.

Ingestion of or licking a jellyfish can cause vomiting, local swelling, pain, high body temperature and breathing difficulties. Even dead jellyfish can sting.

Food can go mouldy quickly in warm weather and can be hazardous due the presence of toxic substances produced by the mould. Ingestion of mouldy food, such as bread or dairy products, can cause vomiting, tremors, a high body temperature and convulsions.

Seawater contains salt (sodium chloride) and excessive ingestion of salt can lead to a high sodium concentration in the blood. This can result in thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy. In severe cases there is a risk of convulsions and coma.

These can contain a variety of ingredients. Many products contain metaldehyde and this can cause tremors and convulsions which can start soon after ingestion. Some products contain ferric phosphate which can potentially cause iron poisoning with significant gastrointestinal upset.

• Call Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000 even if your pet is showing no signs to find out whether a trip to the vet is required.
• Remove your pet from the source of poison.
• Do not try to make your pet vomit – NEVER give salt water.
• Collect the poison and take a sample/ container with you if you are advised to take your pet to the vet practice