Football, Fall foliage, family feasts, and fairer weather are just a few of the fabulous changes in Autumn. But every season has its opportunities and dangers, happy pastimes and health hazards. Autumn is no different. For dogs, Autumn has a lot to offer, but we need to keep our attention on how the season can affect our four-legged friends. These tips for dogs in Autumn will help all of us stay safe, healthy, and keep the season fun.
- Ticks are alive and well around most of the country year-round. Fall can be especially dangerous, mostly because people let their guard down once the weather cools. Some tick species are more active toward the end of the warm months and most can survive snow and frost. Ticks carry blood-borne pathogens that are dangerous to dogs, cats and humans.
PRO TIP: Every household can be kept safe with the right preventative habits. Our series on Fleas And Your Pet is a helpful guide. A powerful repellent that’s hard on bugs like ticks, fleas, and mosquitos, but toxin-free and easy on our pets, is one of the most important preventative measures we can take. EcoBug is the perfect solution for households and dogs in Autumn.
- Back to school supplies are not chew toys or food. Fall brings with it a return to homework, back-to-school supplies, and class projects. That means there are more delicious smelling erasers, curious bottles of glue, and tasty looking crayons. Any of these can cause serious GI-tract blockages. Be sure to sweep the house for supplies that are left out or unattended.
PRO TIP: Checking the house often can be a big help when trying to make sure dangerous supplies are put away, but there’s always a risk they’ll get to something before we see it and put it away. Creating workstations for our kiddos that are higher than the dog can reach, but low enough for kids can also be a challenge. Create a special space that’s off-limits for dogs in Autumn and also kept clean. Adding the off-limits barrier will be one more way to keep our canine companions safe and healthy.
- Snakes and predators are on the hunt. Whether we are hiking or playing in the yard, we humans sometimes forget that we share this planet. Snakes and other dangerous animals are preparing for hibernation, making them more likely to strike. We should remain aware and vigilant in our surroundings to keep ourselves and our fur-family safe.
PRO TIP: There are a few ways to be prepared for a snake bite. The neck is the most common place bites occur. We can have our pups wear a thick bandana or neck protector while on hikes, available at most hunting supply stores. Consider adding snake repellant to wood piles and along fence lines where dogs won’t get into it, but snakes won’t get past it and into our dog’s backyard space. Always carry a snake bite kit on outdoor adventures and stay up to date on proper care of humans and dogs in the event of a bite.
- Brain games keep our pups engaged, which keeps them healthy, happy, and younger for longer. It’s the same for humans. Cooler weather can be the perfect time to play indoor games that will build our relationship and keep us mentally fit without having to walk in the dark because of shorter days, or play fetch in the cold.
PRO TIP: Treasure hunt is a fun game for dogs that draws on their strengths like their sense of smell and natural curiosity. Hide a few low-calorie treats in easy to reach places. Try the corner of the coffee table or next to her food bowl. Help her find the first few treats with commands like “hot” and “cold.” Saying “hot” when we lead her to the first few treats will help her learn the game. She’ll catch on quickly and as she learns, you can keep giving her hot and cold prompts, but let her do the searching. It’s a great way to spend 10-30 minutes.
- Plan ahead for the holidays. Family visits, celebrations, get-togethers, feasts, and parties are all part of the end-of-year festivities. Some dogs love the company, but also need to have time to themselves. If children are visiting, they may not be as familiar with the proper care and gentle treatment dogs need. And of course, table scraps are something guests will sneak to a dog no matter what kind of house rules me mention.
PRO TIP: Be sure to think ahead about how Fido will fit in with all of this. Will he have a safe, quiet place to retreat to when the party gets too loud or the attention of visiting kiddos gets to be too much? We should also make arrangements now for someone to look after our pup while we are away, if the holidays mean travel or long days away. Just planning ahead a bit for our dogs in Autumn can make all the difference for their health and safety – and our peace of mind.