The dog days of summer are beginning to taper off into the crisp, cool weather of the Fall Season. Days are getting shorter, nights are getting colder, and the thoughts of apple cider, pumpkin pie, colorful autumn leaves and tailgate cookouts before an early afternoon football game fill our heads. The change of seasons signals the end of the lazy days of summer and turns our attention to activities such as buying school supplies, carpooling to children’s events, packing lunches, and even planning Halloween costumes for the kids. As the Fall Season approaches, it becomes time to think about getting your home ready for winter by having the oil burner cleaned, the snow blower tuned up and doing a safety inspection on all of your winter equipment. The changing seasons also presents some different hazards to pet owners as we transition from summer to fall.
The glorious fall foliage and colors may have you and your dog strolling through the beautiful landscape. While the fresh air and exercise is certainly beneficial to you and your dog, there are certain hazards to be on the lookout for outdoors. Wild animals and reptiles are more active in rural areas in the fall as they forage for food to store for the winter. Keeping your dog close to you at all times lessens the chance of injury from an unexpected encounter with a wild animal. Fleas, mites and ticks are active and abundant in the fall months. Carefully checking for and treating bites prevents itching, rashes and illness. Bees, hornets and wasps tend to be more aggressive as the weather cools. They congregate around trash receptacles, anywhere food is served or consumed and build nests in out of the way nooks and crannies. They also build nests under piles of leaves. Check your surroundings carefully to avoid an unpleasant experience.
Hunting season is usually in full swing during the mid to late autumn months. Be sure to protect both yourself and your dog by wearing bright colors when outdoors to avoid any possibility of not so friendly rifle fire.
The sweet smells of decaying leaves and mounds of bright foliage on the ground may also have your dog sniffing in unfamiliar territory. Be aware of areas where certain types of mold and other fungi are possibly abundant. Your curious dog’s nose can inadvertently stir up unwanted spores and release them into the air where they are breathed in and can cause damage to your pet’s lungs and cause severe illness.
If you walk your dog close to roadways, be aware of late afternoon or early evening changing light and fast approaching darkness. Unless you carry a flashlight or wear reflective clothing motorists may find it difficult to see you in the quickly fading daylight putting yourself and your pet at risk.
Closer to home, Rodenticides left outside to deter mice, rats or other rodents from entering a home as the weather gets colder, pose a poisoning threat to your pet. If you or your neighbors use these products keep pets at a distance to ensure their safety. The same is true for Antifreeze. A small amount of spilled antifreeze is detrimental to pets.
Inside the home, school supplies such as glue sticks, markers, pens or pencils can cause choking or intestinal blockage problems for pets if ingested. The bright colors and shapes of these materials are attractive to curious animals. All school supplies should be kept out of the reach of pets.
The fall holidays, although eagerly anticipated and fun for us, present potential hazards to pets and require enhanced safety vigilance on a pet owner’s part. An obvious risk to pets is the bag of treats from trick-or-treating. While we know the treats aren’t necessarily that good for us, some pet owners aren’t fully aware that they can actually be deadly to our pets. Certain treats, such as chocolate, are a particularly dangerous health threat for both dogs and cats. Other treats that we might consider healthier options can be potentially fatal for our furry four-legged friends as well. Raisins, walnuts, and macadamia nuts, all of which can often be found in a lunchbox, a treat bag, or a Thanksgiving recipe can be toxic to your pet. Pets are very resourceful and can be amazingly adept at smelling food and finding a way to reach it and even unwrap it. Be sure to keep all treats in closed containers and out of reach of your pet to avoid any possible toxic reactions and unnecessary trips to your veterinarian’s office.
Halloween activities can be particularly stressful for a pet. Harmful foods aside, the constant stream of strangers in and out of a home, moving and blinking Halloween lights, the doorbell ringing nonstop, scary costumes, sudden loud noises, and big noisy parties can all place an incredible amount of stress on a pet. Most pets will instinctively retreat when confronted with a stressful situation. Be sure to give your pet a quiet place to retreat to in order to keep stress to a minimum and help protect their overall well-being.
If you are a pet owner who enjoys dressing your pet in a costume for special occasions be careful that the pet’s movement is not restricted by the costume or its vision is not obstructed. Be aware of embellishments on the costume that can come loose or be ingested. If your pet seems to be uncomfortable or stressed in the costume take the requisite photos quickly and remove the costume as soon as possible.
As Thanksgiving approaches, a lot of us have our thoughts focused on the delicious roasted turkey, the pumpkin pie, the cranberry sauce, and the stuffing mix. However, it is important to be aware that most of these fatty foods are believed to cause pancreatitis and stomach problems in pets as well as cause other health problems. Stuffings and stuffing mixes which contain onions and onion powder are particularly harmful to dogs and cats as these foods break down red blood cells and can cause anemia. The bones of turkeys are extremely brittle and hollow. Not only do they present a serious choking hazard to your furry friend, but the sharp bones can do serious damage to the esophagus and intestinal tract.
Large family gatherings for Thanksgiving dinner are commonplace and well meaning guests, particularly children, may not be aware of the health danger to pets from the foods on the dinner table. Educate your guests and instruct them cordially not to slip food under the table to your pets or to present them with a plate of table scraps at the conclusion of the meal. Perhaps promising your guests that they can give your pet a healthy pet treat at the end of the meal will solve the problem.
Although your holiday dinner table looks beautiful enhanced by a floral centerpiece there are many plants and flowers that are poisonous to pets. Chrysanthemums, often used in fall arrangements are one of them. Place plants or flowers where you pet cannot reach them or use a centerpiece using alternative materials.
The Fall Season is a pleasant season and one that many people enjoy.Keeping your pet safe will add to this enjoyment. With a few precautions the fall season and its holidays will be safely enjoyed by all.