This summer, pet owners across the UK are set to be on the receiving end of some pretty costly vet bills if last year’s findings are anything to go by.

Pet insurance providers have analysed claims from last summer to determine that the most common summer illness facing the nations pets is foxtail grass seeds being embedded in a dog’s skin.

Not only is this illness common, with just under 500 cases occurring throughout the country last summer, but it’s expensive too, with some unlucky pet owners having to fork out on average £337 for this illness to be treated.

The study from the pet insurance company also revealed that dogs with considerably long coats were the most like to suffer from this illness and that the most likely area on their bodies to find any embedding of grass seeds was in either their ears or paws.

Owners this summer now face the difficult task of preventing their pets from suffering from this illness, but there are a number of measures they can to protect their dogs according to’s Director of Claims and Marketing, Westley Pearson.

“When walking your dog, try to avoid long grass, choosing to take a route with grass that’s been cut. This applies to your own garden at home too, as short grass is less of a danger when it comes to grass seeds.

“Trimming excessive hair around your pet’s ears, paws and armpits can also prevent grass seeds from taking a hold on your dog’s fur. Be careful not to cut the end off of any grass seeds in the process, as this can make them difficult to remove.”

From the claims Animal Friends Pet Insurance received last summer, grass seed claims were 400% higher than those on the second most common summer illness for UK pets, melanoma.

For owners whose dogs have already come into contact with grass seeds, there are still precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent them from becoming ill. Pearson added, “Make sure to check your dog’s body thoroughly for grass seeds after every walk, and take note of any unusual or any different behaviour in your dog.

“If you think they may have a grass seed stuck somewhere in their body, or they are displaying some strange behaviour, take them to the vet straight away. The earlier the problem is identified, the quicker it can be treated before it spreads too far.”

As well as foxtail grass seed illnesses and melanoma, lungworm, heat stroke and snake bites, were also revealed to be some of the most frequently claimed on pet illnesses last summer, according to Animal Friend’s study.

Heat stroke in fact was revealed to be the costliest treatment last summer, with owners of affected dogs being forced to pay on average £895 to have the illness treated.

With temperatures set to be as high as they’ve been for 100 years in the UK this summer, pet insurance providers such as Animal Friends will be expecting a considerably high amount of heat stroke claims this summer.


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