- Charter Veterinary Hospital, Roundswell, Barnstaple
- Bridge House Surgery, Pilton, Barnstaple
- St. John's Surgery, Newport, Barnstaple
- Mullacott Veterinary Hospital, Ilfracombe
- South Street Surgery, Braunton
Safe Holidaying in North Devon
North Devon is a popular holiday destination in the UK and a lot of holidaymakers bring along their dogs for a break on the coast. If you have brought your dog on holiday to North Devon we would like to highlight some of the unique risks that North Devon has to our canine population to try and ensure your holiday is a safe and happy one.
Adders bites are fairly common in dogs in North Devon. Bites to the face or limbs are most frequent and cause a painful swelling which appears very rapidly. Adders can be found in much of North Devon, but high risk areas include Braunton Burrows, moorland and the Valley of the Rocks. It is advisable to wear sturdy shoes or boots and to keep dogs on leads when walking in areas where adders are known to be found.
If you suspect your dog may have been bitten by an adder, don’t panic and do try to remain calm. Your dog is very unlikely to die from an adder bite if they receive prompt veterinary attention. Signs of an adder bite include swelling to the face or a specific local area of the body, lethargy, pain, vomiting, wobbly gait and increased heart and breathing rate. It is important, where possible, to reduce the movement of your dog following a bite; ideally carry your dog or walk quietly back to your vehicle. Ring your nearest veterinary surgery to let them know what has happened and your estimated time of arrival.
Commonly on a hot day or when dogs are new to the beach they will drink sea water. It is essential to be vigilant and stop them from doing this as soon as you see it. Sea water has a very high salt content which can very quickly cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea and lead to quite marked dehydration. Make sure when you are at the beach with your dog you have plenty of fresh clean water available for them to drink. If your dog has drunk a lot of sea water, monitor them closely and offer small amounts of water little and often. If they seem unwell then we would recommend being seen by a vet.
North Devon is a high risk area for tick infestation. The likelihood of become infested with ticks is greater when walking in areas such as forests, moorland and in leaf litter. Be warned, ticks can also be acquired in suburban areas, and even in the garden. Ticks can spread a number of diseases including Lyme Disease and Babesiosis. They can also cause local irritation when they attach to the skin which in some instances requires subsequent antibiotics. It is important that ticks are removed properly. Removing a tick with tweezers, vaseline or by burning off can stress the tick. During stress the tick is more likely to release and transmit disease to the animal it is attached to. The most effective way to remove a tick is with a tick removal device. These are available for sale at all of our branches. Prevention is better than cure- avoid the tick attaching in the first place by treating with tick repelling products. Spot-on, tablets and tick prevention collars are also available on prescription from any of our branches.
Coastal paths and cliffs
We have a large number of beautiful coastal paths in North Devon. However the paths and cliffs can be very dangerous, and we recommend keeping dogs on a lead whenever you walk near these areas. Sadly reports of dogs falling from cliffs on the south west coast is not uncommon and generally fatal.
Palm oil is a waxy white substance which gets washed up on the beach. It has a distinctive diesel like smell. The smell is attractive to dogs who frequently consume it. Palm oil can if left untreated lead to severe kidney failure and in some circumstances even death.
If you suspect your dog may have eaten palm oil we recommend being seen by a vet immediately to induce vomiting and prevent absorption of the palm oil. Depending on the amount consumed and the size of the animal further treatment may be needed.
Livestock are often grazing on the footpaths and fields in the popular tourist spots in North Devon. If your dog is not used to livestock or might try to chase livestock please keep them on a lead both for your dogs safety, the animals safety and also your own. If you are travelling with your pet we always recommend making sure you have a copy of your insurance documents, a copy of any relevant history if your pet has ongoing issues and sufficient medication to last the duration of the stay. We also recommend ensuring you have the number of a local veterinary practice at hand in the case of any emergencies.
Charter Vets offers round the clock emergency care with two 24 hour staffed Veterinary Hospitals in Barnstaple and at Mullacott near Ilfracombe.
We have produced a poster to try and promote dogs safety while holidaying in North Devon. If you have a holiday let or business in the North Devon area that welcomes dogs then please download the PDF or request a copy to be posted to you by emailing email@example.com.