It’s officially fall — the days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing and the air is getting crisper. But don’t let the beautiful foliage fool you — there are dangers lurking both inside and outside for your dog. Here are some tips to keep your furry best friend safe during this time of year.
Mushrooms make a comeback during the chillier months, and while 99 percent are not toxic, the remaining 1 percent are highly toxic and life-threatening if eaten. Because it’s so difficult to distinguish toxic mushrooms from non-toxic ones, a best practice is to keep your dog away from all mushrooms. If you do see your dog eating a mushroom, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends you immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
During this time of year, many people use rodenticides to deter rats and other rodents who seek shelter inside as the weather cools down. The ASPCA reminds pet parents that rodenticides are extremely toxic to animals and if ingested, and could be fatal. If you must use a rodenticide, be very careful and make sure they’re in places where your dog can’t access. Consider an ultrasonic pest repellent as a safer alternative to toxic rodenticides.
The ASPCA warns that autumn is the time when snakes prepare for hibernation and may be particularly “grumpy,” and therefore more likely to bite. Pet parents need to be aware of the types of venomous snakes in their area and where they’re most likely to be found. Read more on Dogster about how to prevent snakebites, and how to avoid rattlesnakes in particular.
Another outdoor hazard is conkers, which fall from horse chestnut trees. Conkers are highly poisonous if chewed or eaten and are also dangerous if swallowed whole by dogs because they may cause a serious blockage. Gardeners should also be careful when planting daffodil or tulip bulbs in the yard, as these are also highly toxic if eaten.
There’s less daylight now and many of us are now walking our dogs at dusk or in the dark once we get home from work. Help keep Sparky visible with a lighted collar such as a Glowdoggie LED collar or a reflective dog vest with LED lights. It’s the safe thing to do — and it’s what all the cool dogs are wearing.
Outdoor dogs require special attention in preparation for colder temperatures. They will need additional food and water in order to stay warm and adequate shelter from wind and rain. To keep your dog warmer, provide bedding products that have cedar shavings, rather than blankets, for better insulation from the cold ground.
Inside the home, as you’re bringing your sweaters and winter wardrobe out of storage, beware of mothballs, as they are toxic to animals if ingested.
And just because the weather is getting cooler doesn’t mean that fleas and ticks are going away. You’ll still need to shield your dog from these pesky buggers by using flea protection such as Frontline or Advantage and vacuuming the house regularly.
The change of seasons can also trigger allergies for dogs, just as it does for humans. These allergies can take the form of skin rashes or sneezing and clear discharge from your dog’s nose. Your veterinarian can diagnose and prescribe antihistamines or other therapy to make your dog more comfortable.
About the author: Cathy Weselby is a purple-lovin’ ambivert who enjoys exploring new places and ideas, the arts, humorous memoirs, collecting old magazines, and making collages. She and her husband live with Sasha, a rescued Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.
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