Q. I've just got a new puppy and can't wait to take it for long walks, in town and in the country. However, I'm worried about some of the creepy crawlies we might encounter and what to do if he gets injured. Isabella, Suffolk
A. You are wise to think ahead. It's one of the last things people think about, yet there are many dangers you can encounter on a walk. If you go away on holiday with your dog and are going to take long walks in the countryside, take lots of water with you and make sure your dog has the correct identification.
I always take a dog first-aid kit with me (it's very similar to the human one). Failing that, take a pair of tweezers, because if your pup gets stung by a bee you'll need it. If that happens, do not squeeze the sting out; gently pull it out with the tweezers. Check the area regularly for swelling since dogs can be allergic, just like humans. Bicarbonate of soda can help with the pain.
In Britain we do not have many snakes but we have the adder, which is the only native venomous snake. These are distinctively marked with black diamonds down a green body. If you suspect your dog has been bitten by one of these, seek medical advice immediately.
There are also insects that can affect your pooch that are not so easy to spot. Ticks and fleas are a common problem but are preventable with regular treatment. If you see a tick on your dog's body you obviously need to remove it and there are special tools for this. If you do not feel confident your local veterinary nurses will be happy to do it for you.
Not many owners know that dogs can suffer from sunburn, especially white dogs. On extremely hot days make sure they stay out of the sun. And, of course, it almost goes without saying: never leave your dog in a car.
Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended