Autumn is delightful, and it’s cool winds bring plenty of welcome changes: reprieve from the summer heat, lovely golden hued foliage, and plenty of pumpkin spice everything. But the season also brings a host of new potential concerns for our pets.
You can be sure to keep your fur babies safe this fall with these helpful hints.
Most dog breeds are well-equipped to withstand cooler temperatures, but some are not. Be sure to read up on your dog’s specific needs and help him transition slowly from the heat of summer. Breezy fall days are a welcome reprieve after the summer’s heat, but the temperature drops quickly once the sun goes down. Consider putting warm bedding on the porch for your dog if he spends a lot of time playing in the yard, and don’t leave him out for extended periods of time once cooler weather sets in.
Also, don’t forget about your dog’s paws over the next few months. A dog’s paw pads insulate the foot from extreme weather and aid your pup when traveling over rough terrain. So year-round protection is key to keeping his sensitive pads in good condition.
The leaves might be falling, but that doesn’t mean the ticks are hibernating. If you live in a neighborhood with an abundance of foliage, fleas and ticks could still be a problem. In fact, fall is a peak season for some fleas as they don’t start to die until there are constant cold temperatures of 30 degrees or lower. Help keep your pet protected with regular flea and tick preventative medication, as well as thorough tick checks when he comes inside.
It’s not just humans that can become a sniffling, sneezing, itchy mess when the seasons change; pets can also suffer from allergies.
Fall allergens like ragweed and mold can cause your pet to feel miserable all season long. If you notice your dog suddenly has itchy skin, recurrent ear infections, red, swollen eyes, a runny nose, or fits of sneezing this fall, then it could be allergy related. If you suspect he has seasonal allergies, talk to your veterinarian to determine the best treatment plan for your pooch.
If you have kids, then you likely have a plethora of Halloween candy lying around the house this time of year. Halloween is the start of the “season” for chocolate-related illnesses in pets, specifically chocolate toxicity. In fact, there is an estimated 70% increase in chocolate toxicity during Halloween compared to the previous six months of the year.
As much as we love our furry companions and want to treat our pets, candy is NOT a safe or healthy option. Chocolate is dangerous for animals, and sweets do not have any nutritional value for your faithful companion. So keep the candy out of reach of curious paws. And, if you’d really like to treat your pup, consider an alternative, healthier option such pet-safe treats (or make your own healthy treats that will satisfy their sweet tooth cravings!).
… and Other Toxins
As the temperatures drop, rodents usually spend their waking hours seeking warmer shelter. Obviously, many mice and other small creatures see a nice, warm home and decide to take up residence, much to our chagrin. While rodenticides can be an effective way to keep these pests at bay, they can also be harmful to pets. Be sure to store lethal chemicals somewhere your pet cannot investigate, and don’t set out bait in places that are accessible to your pup to prevent accidental ingestion. Alternatively, try using non-lethal methods to remove rodents from your home.
Fall provides the perfect conditions for wild mushrooms to grow, and many start popping up around your yard and in wooded areas this time of year. While many mushrooms are harmless, some can be deadly. Prevent your dog from ingesting the poisonous variety by occasionally canvassing your yard for them, supervising outdoor play in unfamiliar areas, and keeping him close during outdoor adventuring. If you suspect your dog has eaten something harmful, contact your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
For most families, fall usually means winter car prep. But your garage can be a serious hazard for your pet. Antifreeze and other car products contain ethylene glycol, which can be deadly if ingested. Many dogs and cats find its sweet taste inviting, but ingesting large quantities can lead to kidney failure and death. To keep your pet safe, be sure to clean up any chemical spills, and lock all car products away from your wandering pets.
Keep these precautionary tips in mind when enjoying your fall festivities, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying nature this season! With a little awareness, you can help protect your pet from seasonal mishaps. And, for more tips on keeping your pet safe, happy, and healthy, read up on our other blogs.