Everyone seems to enjoy the crisp and cool air that comes when the seasons change. Your pet probably is enjoying the cooler weather instead of the humidity that comes in August. Even though Fall seems like a fun time, there are also some dangers that we should all be aware of. Below are some tips to keep your pet healthy and happy:
- Beware of anti-freeze and cautious of rodenticides! Ingesting antifreeze is lethal. Unfortunately both cats and dogs have been known to lick this sweet tasting substance. Make sure to check your car for leaks and make sure all bottles are stored far away from your pets. The use of rat and mouse poisons increase in the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets and, if ingested, the results could be fatal. If you must use these products, please do so with extreme caution and put them in places inaccessible to your pets. Another option is using a catch release trap for rodents!
- Don’t leave your pets outside for prolonged periods of time. It doesn’t have to be winter for it to get cold–especially for puppies, senior pets and smaller animals. Let them have their fur coat. If you have a dog that you shave during the summer, let him start growing his coat back in the fall. Just like you need your Fall/Winter coat he’ll needs his too.
- Watch Out for Wildlife… Autumn is the season when snakes are preparing for hibernation, increasing the possibility of bites to those unlucky pets who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pet parents should know what kinds of venomous snakes may be lurking in their environment—and where those snakes are most likely to be found—so pets can be kept out of those areas.
- Beware of ticks. It’s still tick season and playing in the cool autumn leaves is one of the many ways your pooch could get them. Consider using a prescription strength flea and tick prevention year round.
- Steer Clear of Mushrooms
Fall and spring are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Since most toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from nontoxic ones, the best way to prevent pets from ingesting these poisonous plants is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing. Please visit our Poisonous Plants page for more information. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately if you witness your pet eating a wild mushroom.
- Make sure your pets can’t escape through the main entrance of your home. This is especially important if you plan on having several guests in and out of the house this holiday season. It may be worth investing in a baby gate or creating some kind of barrier between the door and your pet. Especially if you have pet that’s known for bolting. The changing of seasons is great time to check your pet ID tags and microchip. Just take 5 minutes to make sure all your pet’s information is up to date and in proper order.
- Make holiday arrangements with your dog walker, pet sitter or doggy day care NOW. As the holidays approach, most of us will get busier and possibly have to travel. Take time out and plan ahead so you can make the holidays easier on your pets.
- Holiday stress isn’t just for humans… A lot of unfamiliar faces and loud talking and laughter can stress your pet out. Exercise your dog beforehand and give them a special chew toy to keep them distracted. If they still seem stressed, put them in a quiet room away from all of the commotion. Be sure cats have access to a quiet room where they will probably hide all on their own. If you have a pet that has special needs or is wary of new people, be sure to tell your guests about your pet before they come over.
- Be careful with holiday treats. Aside from known hazards such as chocolate, cooked bones, raw bread dough and many fruits and vegetables can also be life threatening to pets. It’s best to keep your cat or dog on their regular diet during the holidays. Keep Halloween candy and Thanksgiving foods out of their reach. Chocolate and candy with Xylitol, like sugar-free gum, will make your pet sick. Check with your veterinarian who knows your pet if a little turkey is a safe snack.
- Be careful with decorations. Many shiney new decorations look like really fun toys to your pets. Make sure decorations are out of reach because many of them contain toxic metals and can become choking hazards.
- Dogs get the flu too! Canine flu and bordetella, or “kennel cough,” are both airborne diseases. If you see a dog that is coughing, keep your own dog away and avoid touching the ill dog. If your dog develops a cough or high fever, contact your veterinarian immediately. Kennel cough is highly contagious and can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from dry cough for a couple days, to fever, anorexia, severe pneumonia, and death. Keep your dog away from other dogs when coughing for at least a week after you hear the last cough.
- Back-to-school supplies… Now that kids are back in school, make sure you keep items like pencils, markers, and glue sticks out of your pet’s reach. If they decide the new school supplies would make great snacks, they might get gastrointestinal upset or blockages. Cats are more likely to bite the edges of notebooks and paper. Foreign body ingestion tops the list for both puppies and kittens, and it is one of our most frequent claims for all cats and dogs. Depending on the object ingested, treatment can be costly — with an average cost of $1,400.
- Allergies: Just like people who have seasonal allergies, your cat or dog may also react to pollen, dust, or other allergens. Pet allergy symptoms can be similar to ours — sneezing or coughing, runny nose, itchy skin, ear infection, and itchy, red, or watery eyes. If you think your pet might be suffering from allergies, call your veterinarian to discuss testing and treatment plans best suited for your pet’s needs.