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Rabbit in the garden


Finally, spring is in the air… and there’s no better feeling after a long, cold, dark, and very wet winter. While the warmer weather signals time for fun outdoor activities – alfresco dining, camping and open water swimming to name a few – it can bring with it a new set of hazards for our pets. From blooming flowers to searing heat, and even your favourite treats, read on to learn more about the common spring dangers that can affect our furry (and not so furry!) friends.


With spring comes Easter, and all the delicious treats we love to devour. Most people are aware that chocolate is harmful to dogs, but did you know that cats, rabbits, rats and guinea pigs are also at risk?

Chocolate contains high levels of caffeine and a compound called theobromine that causes gastrointestinal upset, tremors, and even seizures. Hot cross buns are also a surprising hazard as the raisins and sultanas are highly toxic. Make sure Easter treats are hidden away from curious creatures and call us if you suspect you pet has eaten anything they shouldn’t.

We all love having the opportunity to cook outside during the (few) warmer months, and it is so tempting to throw the dog a sausage while barbequing…but did you know that BBQ scraps are unsafe for your pets? Cooked bones, pork, ham, chicken skin, and meaty skewers are all delicious, but hazardous to our pets. Cooked bones can easily become lodged in the gut, leading to life-threatening obstruction and fatty meats can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, or pancreatitis.


Spring is the perfect time for getting busy in the garden, but many plants and chemicals can be dangerous for your pet. Toxic flowers include tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses. All parts of the plant are harmful when ingested – and the bulbs contain higher concentrations. Cats are also extremely sensitive to the Lilium family, and any ingestion can cause fatal kidney disease. It is best to leave lily flowers out of our home and garden if you have any feline friends.

Other common garden hazards include fertilisers and weed chemicals. Store these toxins securely, and if used in your garden, make sure they are dug deep into the soil, then block access to your pets, including rabbits and guinea pigs. Snail or slug pallets are also highly dangerous, and poisoning is common, especially in dogs – they can cause tremors and seizures and can be fatal to all species.


During spring, biting bugs start to breed! Ticks, fleas, and mites all party hard in the springtime and can cause bites and allergic reactions. Dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs should be treated with parasite prevention. Don’t forget your chickens too, as red mites can be nuisance at this time of year.

Increased fly activity can cause trouble for rabbits and other small furries that live outside. Flies can lay eggs in the warm wet areas around the tail, or open wounds, and maggots will emerge, leading to a nasty condition called flystrike. Keep your pet’s environment clean and dry, regularly remove any droppings and treat all wounds quickly.

As with all parasites, prevention is better than cure – and early measures should be taken to protect your furry friends from biting bugs.

Last, but certainly not least, comes snakes. Springtime signals the end of winter hibernation and as the ground warms up our scaly friends become active.

There are three types of snakes in the UK: grass snakes, smooth snakes, and adders. The adder is the only venomous species: grass snakes and smooth snakes aren’t venomous and don’t tend to bite.

Adders tend to keep themselves to themselves and don’t bite unless they are scared. Unfortunately, dogs tend to approach them without fear, startle them and get bitten! If your dog has bitten by an adder, their symptoms will depend on where the bite is, and where the venom spreads to. If the venom stays in the tissues around the bite, it will cause pain and swelling, but if it spreads further and gets into the bloodstream, it can cause much more serious problems such as damage to the liver, kidneys, heart, and nervous system.

If you suspect your pet has been bitten, seek immediate veterinary help.


Spring is an exciting time and with some careful planning it can be full of joy and adventure for the whole family. Prevention is always best and protecting your pet is easy with our 365 Care Plan.