Now that the temperature is falling and the nights are drawing in, it won’t be long before we’re all wrapped up in our winter coats, and the leaves will be falling from the trees. There are several risks that arise during the autumn months that may cause your dog some health issues. I’ve suggested a few hints to consider when taking care of your dog, now that summer is long gone!
Of course, fleas can be an issue all year round, but when the days begin to get cooler, we tend to turn up the Central Heating, when fleas can become a problem for your pet. One of the best ways to solve this is to treat your whole house with a treatment for fleas. Your Vet should be able to recommend a safe product to use.
Harvest mites can be a problem so when you return from your countryside walks, ensure you check the paw, ears and abdomen of your pooch. Harvest Mites are active during the summer months. They are found in grass, woodlands and other foliage and hop on to bite any animal or human that passes. In the UK we have the mite Trombicula autumnal during July – September and most dogs are affected by them late on in the summer months.
After a walk outdoors
Always have an old towel next to your front door – returning from a wet, cold and windy walk could mean that your carpets will be damaged. It’s a help if you can train your dog to wait at the door, so that you can towel them dry and clean dirty paws before they go racing into the house.
Walking in the dark
If you must let your dog off the lead in the dark, make sure you are 100% confident that the area you are walking is entirely secure, with closed park gates and that you know your dog to understand and return to recall. Even the most reliable dog will be eager to investigate any cat or fox smells when out later at night, when he may disappear off track and become lost in the darkness. Walking in the darkness can be quite unnerving, so stick to well-lit areas and try to walk on pavements. It is also important if you walk off-road to make sure you have some means of ID should something happen
It’s quite often to come across wild mushrooms on an autumn walk and while the majority of them are non-toxic the remainder is life-threatening if eaten. As it’s so difficult to distinguish between the species, it’s advisable to keep your dog away from all mushrooms.
Conkers and Acorns
Other outdoor threats to dogs, are acorns and conkers, which fall from the trees to the ground. They are highly poisonous if eaten or chewed and very dangerous if swallowed whole with the risk of them causing a stomach obstruction. Take extra care too, if you’re planting tulip or daffodil bulbs in the garden, as these are highly toxic for dogs if eaten.
Anti-freeze is dangerous
When you come to winterise your car, be sure to clean up every drop of anti-freeze as it has a sweet smell that attracts pets. Be aware that however small the amount, anti-freeze will kill your pets. Keep them well away.
The shift in seasons may also trigger an allergy in your dog, just as it can for a human. An allergic reaction can take the form of sneezing and clear discharge from the dog’s nose, or as a skin rash. Discuss with your Vet who will diagnose and prescribe medication such as antihistamines to make your pet more comfortable.
And remember if your dog is anxious around fireworks, or generally noise phobic, with Halloween and November 5th fast looming, why not try to teach him some invaluable calming techniques. Speak to your Vet for help and advice.