A Southampton pet retailer has called for dog owners in the area to carefully monitor the number and type of flea, tick and wormer preventatives given to their pets in order to protect wildlife within the New Forest.
Deborah Burrows, managing director of Healthy Pet Store, has echoed concerns from conservation group The Wildlife Trusts that using traditional insecticides to treat pets may be affecting habitats and biodiversity in nature reserves.
The New Forest Dog Owners’ Group, for which Deborah acts as an ambassador, has reported a mass death of dung beetles in the area and, although no cause has been identified, it is thought it may be a result of certain worming treatments found in dog waste.
Dung beetles play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem in the New Forest, and The Wildlife Trusts has issued a plea urging people to prevent their dogs from entering ponds on nature reserves due to the potential harm posed by flea and tick treatments on larvae and other pondlife.
Deborah said: “Even though the most damaging Ivermectin-based wormers aren’t as common now, it is worth considering the long-term impact of any wormer or flea and tick treatment on insect populations within the New Forest and other nature reserves.
“An alternative when it comes to worming is to withdraw from ‘just-in-case’ treatments and replace them with faecal egg counts to detect worm eggs. Then you can treat your dog when needed. For protection from fleas and ticks, there are several alternatives worth exploring.”