Doesn’t everyone love fall? With the cool air, colorful leaves, and all of the holidays, fall is at the top of the list for a lot of people. Pets seem to love fall too. Dogs love playing outside in the cool air and cats seem friskier than ever. However, amidst all the fun and festivities, there a few health concerns you may want to keep in mind to keep your pets happy and healthy during this time of year. Here’s our top 7 list of fall pet health tips.
Fall means that holiday season is upon us and with holidays come decorations. Though we may love adorning our home and yard with decorations, some can present a serious danger to pets. Irregularly shaped objects and small parts from decorations can be chewed up or swallowed whole, which can lead to choking or foreign body obstruction. Make sure that decorations are firmly secured to fixed objects and they are out of reach of pets.
With fall and winter come holiday feasts. As we indulge in sweets and have family gatherings full of good comfort foods, it can be tempting to share a few scraps with our pets. However, you should always be careful not to feed your pets foods that are unhealthy for them. Foods that are high in fat can create serious problems for your pets, such as gastroenteritis and pancreatitis and small foods or turkey bones can present choking hazards. Foods such as chocolate, grapes, and raisins are absolutely toxic to dogs.
In many regions of the U.S., the fall season brings lots of rainy weather. Wet climates are where mushrooms thrive. Mushrooms tend to grow in open areas, such as forest floors, fields, and backyards. The ASPCA warns that while most mushrooms are safe, there are still a few that are highly toxic when ingested. To keep your pet healthy, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center right away if you think they have eaten a toxic mushroom.
As fall starts and the temperature begins to drop, animals need to burn more energy to stay warm. In order to burn more energy, your pets may need more food, especially if they get a lot of exercise or free play time outside. As long as your veterinarian agrees, you may want to start serving your pets more food.
Most car owners begin to winterize their vehicles in early to mid fall, long before the first freeze. Winterizing involves changing out the fluids, such as antifreeze. Because of the sweet smell and taste of the ethylene glycol that is in antifreeze, animals love to drink it. To avoid any accidental ingestions, any spills should be cleaned up right away and pets should be kept away from any areas where you are working on your car. According to the ASPCA, it only takes one teaspoon to kill a 10-pound dog and less than that to kill a 10-pound cat. If you think your pet has ingested even a little bit of antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Rat and Mouse Poisons
Fall is harvest season, and that means that mice and rats begin scurrying about. Maybe even more, mice and rats like to come into our homes in the fall and winter in search of a warm, dry spot to sleep and tidbits to munch on. Before you start putting out those mouse poisons, you should be aware of the dangers they present to pets. Mouse and rat poisons use bait that is just as appealing to pets as it is to rodents. If you do choose to use poisons, make sure they are far from where any pet could reach them. Also, beware of the added danger of a poisoned mouse being eaten by your cat or dog. You might, instead, opt for a more humane option for everyone by using live mouse traps and releasing the little prisoners far from home.
Ticks don’t just present a problem in summer. They often appear in warmer regions during fall as well and some species will even remain in your yard well into winter. Ticks love to snuggle up in piles of dead leaves or garden litter. Check any hidden spots in your yard for ticks. Check with your vet about safe options for controlling or repelling ticks from your yard or pet and consider regular screening for infections from ticks.
“Autumn Safety Tips” (n.d.). [Web]. In ASPCA. Retrieved on 09/06/2017 from: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/autumn-safety-tips
Henry, M. (n.d.). Our Top Pet Health Tips for Autumn. [Web]. In Pet Health Network. Retrieved on 09/06/2017 from: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-checkups-preventive-care/our-top-pet-health-tips-autumn
Schirm, K. (n.d.). Fall Pet Care Tips for Cats and Dogs. [Web]. In BHG.com. Retrieved on 09/06/2017 from: http://www.bhg.com/pets/care/tips-by-season/fall-pet-care-tips/