Two dogs walk on the beach

Watch out warning for pet owners as warm water brings pufferfish and jellyfish to the shore

Wednesday , 26 October 2022 by Jonathan Zouch

With higher temperatures starting to roll in across the country, Southern Cross Pet Insurance is reminding pet owners to be vigilant when walking dogs on coastal beaches, as warmer temperatures can see jellyfish and pufferfish hitting the beaches too.

These types of sea creatures can be extremely harmful for our furry loved ones, with just a lick of a pufferfish being potentially fatal.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance Sales Manager, Kerri Murray said owners need to keep an extra eye out in order to avoid the danger these fish can cause.

“With water temperatures rising we are seeing more and more claims for animals who have had contact with these poisonous fish. They usually hang around in more tropical ecosystems, but with climate change well and truly making its presence felt, we can say with certainty, more animals will be affected if we don’t keep an eye out.”

Kerri Murray says if your pooch does get a hold of a pufferfish it’s important to act immediately.

“While a lick can cause problems, it’s worse if your dog swallows the whole fish. The first step is to remove the fish carefully and rinse the dog’s mouth. It is also worth heading to a vet as soon as possible as the effects might not kick in straight away. Your vet will then assess your dog and make a call on the treatment he or she will likely need.

“Looking at recent Southern Cross Pet Insurance claims of 30 ingestion-related issues, 20 were thanks to pufferfish and jellyfish. Dogs were mainly very sick or ended up with serious infections like cellulitis.

“As is often the case, because they love their food, Labradors or Golden Retrievers feature strongly in our records. Claims paid out were generally several hundred dollars, so it clearly paid for our members to have pet insurance to call on.”

The warmer weather brings on other sorts of issues too.

Murray said, “Rats and mice flourish in the warmer weather. To get on top of this for your home’s own cleanliness, let alone the protection of native birds, a rat bait station is effective. But make sure you keep these out of reach of pets (and curious little people)! Rat bait or poison can obviously make pets very ill or even kill. Treatment is expensive if you don’t have insurance to cover this and can involve injections, overnight stays, and ongoing medication e.g. Vitamin K.

“Likewise slug and ant bait are toxic – and dogs looking for an extra sweet or savoury flavoured treat may well be drawn to a bait station. Again, keep these away from prying noses.”

So, for all those heading away this weekend in hopefully warmer weather, Southern Cross reminds pet owners to make sure they know where their pooches are and what they’re munching on.