Autumn is a wonderful time of year. The cooler temperatures, changing colors, trick or treaters and upcoming holidays, and of course pumpkin spice everything! With each new season, there are different issues to be aware of when keeping our pets safe. Autumn is no different, with some fall specific things to watch out for as we head into the cooler months. This post will list several things to keep an eye out for while we head into sweater weather with our pets.
One of the most noticeable things to be aware of as we head into fall are the shorter days. Even before we switch from Daylight Saving time, we have less daylight. If you walk your pet after work, it will be getting dark earlier. Visibility becomes an issue.
I run with my dogs in the mornings before work. September through April it is dark when we head out the door. My dogs are black and hard to see, so they wear high visibility vests, and I use reflective leashes. Having your dog wear high visibility collars and reflective accessories, using a flash light or a headlamp, wearing reflective clothing, and putting blinking lights on harnesses or collars are all good ways of making sure you and your pet are noticeable when out for a walk. When safe, walk or run against traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles.
In many areas, as we head into the cooler weather, people winterize their vehicles. This can include changing the antifreeze in your vehicle. Antifreeze has ethylene glycol on it, which can smell sweet to pets. Clean up any antifreeze spills or leaks as soon as they happen, and make sure your pet is not in the garage while you work on your car.
Fall also means back to school time. Things like crayons, glue sticks, pencils, scissors, markers, erasers and other school supplies can cause choking hazards or could potentially be toxic to your pet. Please use caution and make sure these items aren't left out where a pet can get them. Don't let the dog eat your homework. 😁
In many parts of the country, ticks are still very prevalent, and like to hang out in piles of leaves. Check your pet when they come inside for fleas and ticks.
Mushrooms become more prevalent in the fall, and while most are safe, not all are. Best practice is to keep your pet away from all mushrooms. If you see your pet eating a mushroom, contact your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center right away.
With autumn comes cooler temperatures. Make sure your pet always has a place to stay warm and dry, and has access to clean water and food.
Ghosts and goblins and all things Halloween are right around the corner. This will mean trick or treaters and scary costumes. Lots of opening doors and holiday gatherings, providing ample opportunities for your pet to escape. Make sure your pet always has a collar on and is microchipped. Now is a great time to verify that all the information is up to date on the collar and with the microchip service. If you expect lots of trick or treaters, knocks on the door and ringing doorbells, consider crating your pet or keeping them closed in a safe, quiet room for the evening to prevent an escape.
Speaking of Halloween, chocolate is toxic to pets. Do not allow them access to chocolate candy, and make sure trick or treat bags aren't left somewhere that your dog or cat can get into it. There are a lot more Halloween specific safety tips here.
One of the great things about fall is cooler temperatures, and that means it's safer to get out with your pet and go for walks or exercise. The beautiful weather means it's a great time to go toss a ball or frisbee for your dog, take a walk through the neighborhood, or start getting in shape for a Thanksgiving Day 5k walk/run.
Fall is also a great time to start an obedience class. Lots of trainers offer fall group training lessons, and that is a great way to bond with your pet and meet other dog loving people.
As for fall treats, pumpkin is great for your dog, providing numerous health benefits. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber for Fido, and is good for his digestive tract. And if your pup needs to lose a few pounds, try replacing some of his regular food with pumpkin. Both raw, cooked, and canned pumpkin is okay for your dog.
Remember, each season comes with it's own set of challenges for keeping your pet safe. And each season also provides unique opportunities to bond with your pet. Here is hoping this list provides you with some new ideas to help keep your pet safe.