A Hartlepool veterinary practice has launched a campaign to prevent dog owners having to send out SOS distress calls during the summer holidays.
Clifton Lodge Veterinary Group is warning dog walkers of the dangers facing their pets while out walking and playing on beaches in its Baywatch campaign.
The Stockton Road practice says it expects to see a number of dogs brought into the surgery with symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting and, in severe cases, liver failure, after eating something they shouldn’t on the beach.
Sea water, seaweed, palm oil, jellyfish and dead crabs and sea birds washed up on the shore can cause illness and injury or even kill pets.
Owners are being warned about the danger of pets drowning if they are caught in high tides or strong currents while swimming.
The practice said: “Dogs love to swim in the sea and although most will be accomplished paddlers, strong currents and high waves can easily cause dogs to become distressed, tired and in danger of drowning.”
Clifton Lodge Vets, which also has surgeries in Sedgefield, Billingham and Horden, recommends always keeping your dog in sight while swimming in the sea and using dog life jackets.
Stings from jellyfish can trigger a potentially fatal anaphylactic shock. Symptoms include blistering, burning pain, changes in heart rhythm, difficulty breathing, itching, nausea, fever, excessive drooling, vomiting, swellings and hives.
Seaweed, washed-up crabs and dead sea birds can cause sickness if eaten while seaweed can also expand in a dog’s stomach and become lodged in the gut.
Sea water causes sickness in dogs due to its salt content, bacteria and parasites.
Owners are urged to carry fresh water for dogs to drink and rinse their coats with after swimming in the sea.
If you suspect your dog has eaten something it shouldn’t have, contact your vet immediately.