Floodwater which has overwhelmed some of the countrys favourite dog-walking spots is a cocktail of risk for water-loving hounds - and is sparking unnecessary insurance claims.
One pet insurer has seen an increase in claims for treatment for floodwater-related illness and injury that could have been avoided - while many dogs see water as a fun playground, floodwater brings new hazards.
"Show a dog some water or a swamp, and we all know certain breeds are simply going to steam in - but floodwater is a cocktail of risk for pets, and were seeing an increase in claims for a variety of illnesses and injuries that are directly flood-related," said Mark Effenberg, Chief Executive of Healthy Pets Insurance, the biggest independent cat and dog insurer.
"Familiar watercourses are known quantities to dog owners - but floodwater hides all sorts of concerns.
"As well as unexpected depth, there are hazards hidden below the surface which are dangerous or even lethal to dogs - sharp objects and so on. There are also issues relating to strong currents, but the real hidden danger is the appalling quality of the water.
"Dogs are immune, to an extent, to many of the bugs and nasties in normal water in ponds and rivers; but the floods are washing up all sorts of sewage, and diseases spread by the likes of rats to which dogs would never otherwise be exposed will be present in flood water.
"And with some homes in flood-hit areas being without heating, there is also the danger of frostbite in extreme circumstances for dogs that have not dried out after a dunking in floodwater.
"Wed strongly recommend keeping dogs away from floodwater, to ensure they dont get too cold, - and to ensure the obvious: fresh, clean water is readily available for them."
Healthy Pets is quite possibly the original online pet insurer, launched in 1996, and which sold its first policies online in 1997. It now has tens of thousands of customers, and policy purchases increasing fast. Healthy Pets is an award-winning online insurer, and is the biggest independent pet insurance
provider in the UK, focussing exclusively on cat insurance
and dog insurance
. It consistently offers the most competitive prices, and has amongst the highest customer satisfaction ratings.