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Park litterbugs run risk of killing dogs with cigarette butts and balloons
April 15, 2021
Litter can prove fatal for curious dogs says a wildlife expert who warns owners against taking their eye off what's on the ground.
As coronavirus restrictions ease to allow more outdoor socialising, the risk is rising of dogs eating something they should stay well clear of.
Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy has highlighted the dangers of a simple walk in the park, if friends and family fail to bin or take home their waste after meeting for a picnic.
Toxic cigarette butts in particular pose a very real threat to any unsuspecting dog, according to a study published in Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy.
The research into nicotine toxicosis found an oral minimum lethal dose of nicotine in dogs is reported to be 9.2 mg/kg, though symptoms have been reported at doses as low as 1 mg/kg.
In small dogs, signs can be seen after the ingestion of one cigarette.
Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy from garden suppliersArk Wildlife , said: “Cigarette butts are thought to be one of the most widely discarded items and are a real danger to the whole environment.
"They concentrate the toxins from the cigarette and then being mainly made from plastic, do not biodegrade.
"Most of the litter left in parks following human activity is food packaging, and this presents the double danger that the food leftovers attract animals that can then get cut, tangled or trapped in the materials left behind.
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“The RSPCA get called out about 14 times a day with a huge spike in the summer months, for pets and wildlife affected by litter in our parks and they estimate this is a tiny fraction of the problem, with many animals dying in agony and never being found.”
Among the most common litter items to cause injury or physical harm to animals, these are the biggest hazards that you should keep an eye out for in your local pub gardens, outdoor restaurants and parks:
Chapsticks and lipsticks
Food wrappers (aluminium, plastic)
Pencils and pens
Rubber bands and hair ties
Silica gel packets
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TeamDogs has collated advice on how to reduce the chances of a dog snaffling the above and it may have you thinking twice before you next leave home for a fun day out.
Plan your trips – It can be as simple as taking a disposal bag that can be used to gather your litter easily.
Avoid overflowing bins – Do not place litter on top of or around overflowing bins – this is littering, so find another one or take it home.
Report issues to your council – If a bin is overflowing the local authority will want to know. This will enable them to ensure measures are in place to tackle the influx in litter in the parks.
Support charities tackling litter – There are a number of charities that work to reduce littering and fly-tipping in the UK, and the knock on effect that these damaging activities have. Examples of these areKeep Britain Tidy ,Clean Up Britain , andCleanupUKto name a few.
Avoid disposable BBQs – Invest in a reusable alternative.