Getting Ready for Fall Season: A Guide for Dog-Owners
The dog days of summer will soon be over! The leaves are changing, sweaters are being pulled from the attic… and our dogs are more eager than ever to get outside and play!
For many pet parents, fall is the best time of year because it is ideal for getting outside and enjoying life with dogs. However, this specific season brings some hidden dangers, potential problems, and stressors for our four-legged family.
In this blog post you’ll learn about preparing yourself and your Fluffy Friend for the upcoming colder seasons. What should you be careful about? When should you reconsider going out? Keep on reading and let us know in the comments what you think afterwards!
The Darkness and the Cold
Many dogs get their daily walks after the sun has already set during the shorter days and longer nights of autumn. While they’re mostly relaxing, nighttime walks introduce a new set of dangers that are not present during the day. With reduced visibility, it's more important than ever to keep a close eye on your Fluffy Friend. Carry a flashlight with you on walks at night to keep you safe.
Make sure your pooch is visible in the dark. Reflective collars, harnesses, vests and leashes are excellent for this purpose and can help to avoid accidents. Also remember to consider your own clothing when getting ready for an evening walk - you need to be visible in the dark, too!
Not only does the fall season bring longer nights, but we also have to get ready for much colder times. Older dogs and those with less undercoat are particularly susceptible to cold and damp. It affects their joints, preventing their enjoyment of an autumnal walk. In such cases, appropriate clothing to protect against colder temperatures is advised. This clothing should fit comfortably and keep your pet warm without restricting movement. Let your dog determine the length of your walks. Several short walks through the autumn woods may be preferable to one long walk for older four-legged friends.
Piles of fallen leaves create the ideal, damp environment for wild mushrooms to grow. While not all fungi are toxic, identifying and distinguishing those that are can be difficult. As a general rule, keep your dogs away from all wildly growing mushrooms.
If you have a yard or a garden, check it out for wild mushrooms before letting your dog out. Mushrooms can sprout up overnight, so check on a daily basis. Pick up any fallen fruits, especially apples, plums, and apricots, which contain toxic seeds, while you're checking.
Fungi thrive in the moist soils of autumn, and eating mushrooms can be deadly to our four-legged friends. To be safe, don't let your dog eat any mushrooms, including those that are safe for humans.
Also, be careful when playing fetch: if you throw a stick and it lands on the forest floor or in a pile of leaves, your dog may accidentally pick up a mushroom in its mouth. If your dog has picked up something while out for a walk, always check!
Parasites don’t Hibernate
Many pet parents mistakenly believe that fleas die off as the weather cools. The truth is that fall is the peak season for fleas! Only prolonged cold weather will kill fleas. Flea infestations (and the itchy skin and allergies that accompany them) are more common in the fall than in the spring or summer because dog owners tend to back off or reduce their flea prevention this time of year while also spending more time outdoors.
As well as fleas, ticks can remain active in temperatures as low as 44 °F (7 °C). Dogs that live in tick-infested areas, such as woods, water, and meadows, must be protected from these blood-sucking parasites.
Tick repellents are an effective method of protecting your dog. If you do not want to use these, you should thoroughly inspect your dog after each walk and remove any ticks.
The dangers of harvest mites to dogs should not be underestimated. These tiny pests' larvae can infect a dog by puncturing its skin and sucking its blood. This causes an allergic reaction that causes itchiness, so your dog will scratch and lick the affected area, which is usually the paws, nose, ears, or stomach. As a result, fur loss, skin irritation, and inflammation occur. To avoid this, dog walkers should avoid environments that are favorable to harvest mites. Meadows, fields, forest edges, and gardens, as well as damp, sunlit areas, are examples. If you don't want to be limited to walking the streets during the autumn season, consult your veterinarian about gentle but effective preventative measures.
Dangerous Seasonal Foods
One of our favorite aspects of fall and the upcoming holidays is the abundance of tasty sweets and treats available at this time of year. Unfortunately, many of the foods we enjoy in the fall are toxic to our Fluffy Friends. The majority of dog-owners already know to avoid chocolate, onions, and sugar-free sweets, but some lesser-known foods can be just as dangerous if not more so.
Avoid grapes and raisins, which contain an unknown toxin that can cause kidney failure. Avoid high-fat foods such as turkey skin and dark meat, ham, and gravy, which can cause pancreatitis, a painful and lifelong condition. The day following Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for veterinarians diagnosing canine pancreatitis.
Though some nuts are safe, it is best to avoid them altogether in favor of foods that are more species appropriate for your dog. Though it may be difficult to resist those puppy dog eyes begging for a bite of your holiday meal, do your dog a favor and provide them with a special dog-safe treat instead.
Even though it’s not food as such it’s still worth mentioning for the purpose of the blog post: With sweater season we usually put out mothballs to prevent the little insects from invading our wardrobes. Make sure to take extra precautions when unpacking your cold weather clothing, such as keeping mothballs properly stored and out of reach of pets. Mothballs contain high levels of toxic insecticides, which are all toxic to dogs. Mothballs can cause anemia, vomiting, lethargy, and liver or kidney damage if consumed. If swallowed or chewed, they can cause choking or intestinal blockage. Consider alternatives to keep moths away. For example, cedar balls, chips, or blocks can be used in drawers instead of mothballs, and a simple sachet of lavender not only smells lovely but naturally repels the fiber-snacking pests.
Did you know that ragweed, pollen and mold can also affect our dogs? They can all cause itching, scratching, rubbing, watery eyes, runny noses, and ear infections in our four-legged companions. When it comes to seasonal allergies, the best defense is a good offense!
Bathing your dog on a regular basis with a gentle dog shampoo can help to remove allergens while also soothing itchy skin. Keeping your dog's paws clean, either by wiping them every time he enters the house or by installing a paw washing station near the backdoor, can help prevent allergens from being tracked around the house and onto bedding.
A thick coat will keep your dog warm in the winter, but don't let it become matted, as this will invite bacteria and skin infections. If you let their hair grow out a little, you may have to brush them more frequently, but it will be worth it when they're all snuggly, clean, and warm.
Now that you know what to look out for, you're ready to enjoy the beautiful weather with your dog by your side! Let’s have a quick overview:
1. Get the necessary equipment for the darkness and the cold weather
2. Watch out for mushrooms when you’re outside
3. Remember that parasites don’t die during colder months
4. Make a list so you don’t forget the food your dog can’t eat
5. Watch out for seasonal allergies, keep you dog groomed
Do you agree with our fall precautions? Do you have anything else to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below! We’re always happy to read you.
Until then, make sure you…
… stay Fluffy!
Your MrFluffyFriend Team
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Words from our author
Hey! I’m Stivi, thank you for joining our MrFluffyFriend Blog!
As a pet owner, I often found myself in a very frustrating situation: going to the internet and finding multiple unhelpful and redundant articles about the care and training of pets. My mission is to create a community blog where you can find all types of information, training tips and tricks, focusing on natural and organic ways of pet-owning and training. Understanding your pet is like understanding a whole new world - and I want us to discover it together!