With summer time upon us once more our pets are probably benefiting a little more from long walks and plenty of freedom. Unrestricted by the Covid-19 guidelines, nothing and nowhere is off limits for our furry friends while they are walked off the lead and enjoying open terrain. While this kind of activity is certainly beneficial for our animals, we must take precautions to ensure that they don’t fall foul of some of the parasites that are often found lurking in long grass, woodland and rough terrain.

Our pets often pick up ticks in these environments and the parasites can transmit disease so it is a good idea to regularly check both cats and dogs for these small eggs shaped creepy crawlies, embedded on the surface of the skin. Ticks must be removed carefully as soon as possible to avoid irritation and disease transmission. If you feel your pets may be at risk of attracting ticks then a preventative treatment would be advisable and can be discussed with your vet.

As restrictions are gradually being eased off our pets may be mixing more at the park or woods etc. It is a good idea to ensure our dogs are up to date with kennel cough vaccines if they will be encountering a lot of other dogs. Kennel cough is a respiratory infection in dogs characterized by a harsh cough and contrary to what the name might suggest is not only associated with boarding kennels but is readily transmitted between dogs in any environment. The vaccine helps prevent the disease and can be given annually with your dog’s yearly vaccines.

Ben Hughes DVM, Kelly Veterinary Clinic, Old Church Street, Athenry.