Warning after caterpillars poisonous to dogs spotted in East Anglia

Brown Tail Moth Caterpillar

The brown-tail moth caterpillar is deadly to dogs and can also affect the health of humans - Credit: Archant

A warning has been issued after caterpillars that are poisonous to dogs have been spotted in East Anglia.

The brown-tail moth caterpillar has been spotted in Essex but people across the region are urged to keep an eye out for the insects.

Sarah Lucy Brown's cockapoo, Dudley Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Dog owners need to be cautious about the brown-tail moth caterpillar - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

This type of caterpillar can cause skin irritation and potential breathing problems in humans and even worse symptoms in dogs, triggering a variety of potentially deadly problems such as digestive issues and lesions.

They also feed on shrubbery, causing trees and bushes to lose their leaves.

A native species to the UK, the caterpillars are usually found in Southern England, Wales, and some northern regions.

Freston Wood is renowned for the swatches of bluebells nestled amongst the historic trees and they m

The brown-tail moth caterpillar feeds on shrubbery and can be lethal to dogs if consumed - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The insects emerge in springtime, and their numbers increase as summertime approaches.

Brown-tail moth caterpillars can be found in communal ‘tents’; spider-web like structures which serve as a nest for larvae during winter and also shelter during bad weather. 

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Liam Tickner, garden and outdoor living category manager at OnBuy, said: “As we progress into spring and summertime, it is not just Brown-tail moth caterpillars that gardeners and pet owners have to be concerned about. 

“A whole host of bugs and creepy crawlies are set to invade our gardens.

"While this is not necessarily a bad thing, as bugs are an integral part of local ecosystems, it is important to manage the potential problem carefully."