Man walking dog on beach

Southern Cross Pet Insurance calls for vigilance around storm run-off and dirty seas

Wednesday , 15 February 2023 by Jonathan Zouch

While humans have been warned to stay out of the water, drainwater and runoff water can also be harmful to your pets if they swim in or drink it.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance is calling for owners to stay vigilant after Cyclone Gabrielle leaves a trail of devastation around Aotearoa, with storm run-off making waterways, lakes and seas unsafe for pets.

SCPI Sales Manager and former vet nurse, Kerri Murray said, “when pets drink or swim in the water or runoff, they get all of the nasties that have collected in the soil.

“They can contract giardia or coccidia and flood waters can also spread the bacteria Leptospirosis, found in the urine of rodents mice and wildlife,” says Kerri.

While dogs might be confused as to why they can’t go for their afternoon swim, Kerri says it’s for the best. “We have seen dogs come into the veterinary clinic with awful illnesses following floods, so it’s worth putting that swim off for another week.

If you shouldn’t be swimming, neither should your furry loved ones.”

But it doesn’t stop there. Bacteria and diseases carry through to mucky parks, especially when they’ve not been maintained prior to the heavy rain.

“You might think frolicking in the long grass would be nice for your pooch, but a lot of build-up can be found in there, including dead rodents who may be buried in the long grass.

“We’ve also all seen tonnes of debris from trees, and while almost every dog loves a good stick, they’re often the cause of mouth and throat injuries. When combined with dirty water and surroundings, you’re basically ensuring a long-lasting injury or infection. Balls are usually a safer toy!”

Meanwhile, even though ‘Gabrielle’ is moving away from Aotearoa, if you have an outside dog, make sure they have an area that keeps them dry and warm outside. “The best thing to do is to provide shelter that keeps safe from the elements.”