As the weather heats up, veterinarians are warning pet owners of the risks of snake bites and paralysis ticks. This comes after two beloved dogs were killed after being bitten by a red-bellied black snake in Bulli on November 11. Vet Dr Neal Johnson said his Bomaderry practice has seen half a dozen snake bite cases in the past few weeks. "This is a bad time of year for us," he said. "In this area we have red-bellied black snakes and tiger snakes. They're poisonous and can be fatal to dogs and cats." Dr Johnson said the outcome of a snake bite in pets depends on when the owner becomes aware of the bite. "The best case scenario is that they see it happen, or soon after it happens, and they get the animal to the vet quickly and we get the antivenin into them to save them," he said. "Sometimes people aren't there when the dog gets bitten and only find out later." Dr Johnson said when snakes come out of brumation they are hungry and more active which means vets usually see a higher number of snake bites in spring than in late summer. "Half a dozen cases at this time of year is a fair amount for us," he said. There has also been an increase in the number of pets suffering from paralysis tick bites. "It's probably our worst year for paralysis ticks in 15 years," Dr Johnson said. "We're not only seeing more cases, but more severe cases." Dr Johnson said keeping vegetation in backyards short and maintained can help deter snakes from hiding out in close proximity to pets. "You can't snake-proof the area, but it is possible to make it less likely that they will be in the backyard near pets," he said. Pet owners are also being encouraged to keep their pet's tick prevention up to date. "We've never had as good of products to prevent paralysis ticks as we do now," Dr Johnson said. "The cases we are seeing are where people aren't using tick prevention." Pet owners are encouraged to speak with their local vet about preventative measures they can take and to monitor their pets for any behavioural changes that may indicate paralysis tick or snake bites.