Spring Hazards: Grass seeds, itchy dogs, snail pellet poisoning and snake bites.

While most of us look forward to the end of the winter, spring can present a few problems for our pets. We find that spring is one of the busiest times for us, with the same issues recurring every year.

Because these problems are common and we see them time and again, I’ve already written about these issues. Now is the time to remind everyone about the issues their pets may experience with spring.

Grass Seeds:

Grass seeds entering pets ears, paws, eyes and skin is a very common problem. We can see several pets affected each day, and my personal record is removing seven grass seeds from one dog’s ears. By properly preparing your dog and yard, you can minimise the risk of your pet being affected.


Allergic Skin Disease:

Rather than getting hay fever or asthma, our pets are more likely to experience skin problems with pollen allergies. There are a few basic things you can do to help your pet with mild allergies, and there are new treatments available for the more severely affected pets.


Snake Bites:

Did you know that the majority of snake bite cases are seen before Christmas? There are many theories as to why this may be the case, including the snakes being more sluggish so don’t get out of the way as readily, and more potent toxin after not hunting for a prolonged period. Whatever the reason, snake bites are a true emergency, and you need to know what signs to look for and what to do if you suspect your pet has been bitten.


Snail Pellets:

Snail Pellets

I wrote about this one recently after seeing several cases of poisoning in a short period of time. The main thing to remember here is that no snail pellets are truly “pet safe”, so should never be used or stored anywhere that a pet may access.



By being proactive, pet owners can minimise the risk of needing a visit to the vet this pring, but remember that if you need us, there will be someone on the end of the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Snail Pellets and Pets

Snail Pellets

Over the last few weeks, we have seen several cases where dogs have eaten snail pellets. This has cost one dog its life, and has caused a lot of suffering in other dogs.

With spring just around the corner, people’s minds are turning to their gardens, and this is when we see a spike in the number of cases of poisoning.

So how do you protect your pet from snail pellets?

The first thing to realise is that NO snail pellets are safe for your pet. While some may be less dangerous than others, they can all cause severe illness and even death.

  • NEVER use snail pellets in any area which your pet may access. Despite having ingredients which make the pellets taste bad, some dogs will still eat them if they get access.
  • Always store snail pellets in a locked cupboard. This helps protect children as well as pets, and ensures the box can’t be knocked off a shelf where a pet can then gain access.
  • When using pellets, never place them in mounds. Ensure they are sparsely scattered so a dog can’t ingest a large volume rapidly if it does access the area.
  • Consider less toxic options such as beer traps, or head out on the rainy mornings and evenings to pick up snails by hand.

What are the signs of snail pellet poisoning?

The most common types of snail pellets work by affecting nerve impulses to the muscles and other body parts. This may show as:

  • Muscle twitching or seizures
  • Small pupils
  • Salivating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Overreacting to touch or noise
  • Incoordination

If you see these signs in your pet and feel they may have eaten snail pellets, they need to be seen by a vet urgently.

How do we treat snail pellet poisoning?

If we see the pet very quickly after ingestion, we can often make them vomit up the poison, which may be all that is needed.

Once signs such as muscle twitching and seizuring are occurring, we generally need to anaesthetise the pet and pump its stomach. The pet will then need to kept anaesthetised for several hours to control the seizures so the body has had a chance to remove the toxin. The pet will then likely be hospitalised for one to three days.

In some cases, the poison can cause severe liver and kidney damage, which can be very difficult to treat.

Please be careful with snail pellets this spring. Treating pets who have eaten pellets is difficult, expensive and not always successful. Remember that no pellets are truly pet safe, so the best option is to not have them on your property.

Felix loves his medication