The summer is behind us and it’s that time of year when the weather can be quite unpredictable no matter where you live in the country. Your senior dog is probably welcoming the slightly cooler temperatures and a relief from summer’s hot, sticky weather. As with many of the seasons, Help ‘Em Up wants to make sure you and your senior dog avoid certain weather hazards and household poisons. Here are some great autumn tips for your senior dog:
- Antifreeze and poisons. Unfortunately, many rodents seek shelter inside where it’s warmer and eek … begin to invade to invade your house. Rat poisons can be fatal for your dog so put them in a place where your dog can’t reach. Many people also change their antifreeze in the fall. According to the ASCPA: “Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately.”
- School supplies. It’s back-to-school time. Although magic markers and glue sticks are not fatal, they can cause extreme stomach blockages in your dog. Be sure to keep them in your child’s backpack!
- Ticks. One of the most beautiful parts of Autumn is when the leaves change colors to brilliant oranges and yellows and fall from the trees. Behind these fallen leaves can lurk ticks which can cause Lyme disease. Spiders and snakes can also be hiding under the brush, so be careful where you walk.
- Look out for wildlife. It’s almost hibernation season! This means that wild animals – like skunks, bears, and snakes – are out and about, getting ready for the winter. If you and your dog find yourself in the woods, keep a close eye out for these creatures, and keep your distance!
- Fall coat. Just as we start breaking out our coats, if you have shaved your dog in the summer, it’s time to let it grow back.
- Weather appropriate clothing. Fall is a great time of year to go hiking and camping. Keep in mind that it may be cool in the morning, warmer during the day, and cooler again in the evening. Make sure you have the appropriate gear for all types of weather including rain gear, sweaters and reflective gear. Also be prepared for any emergency with a first aid kit for both you and your pet in your pack. Depending on the terrain, your pet may need footwear. At a minimum, bring a leash and make sure all identification tags are up-to-date.
- Pets in the car. If your pets are traveling with you in the car, make sure you carry extra blankets, food and water. Just as you wear a seat belt, it’s best to keep your dog secured as well.
- Mushrooms. This time of year, mushrooms start popping up on forest floors and around your yard. Fall and Spring are mushroom season. Although 99% of mushrooms are not toxic, the 1% that are toxic can be life-threatening for your dog. Since it is hard to distinguish the different varieties, keep your dog away from all mushrooms.
- Fall allergies. Fall allergens like ragweed and mold can cause your pet to itch, sneeze and cough all season long. Talk to your vet about the best treatment.
- The holidays are ahead. Before you know it, Thanksgiving and the holidays will be here. If you need a pet sitter, dog walker or doggy day care, make your reservations early so you are well prepared. This will help lower the stress.
If your pet is exposed to anything that is potentially toxic, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If a trip to the vet is required, be sure to bring the possibly toxic product container along for the vet to inspect.
Autumn can be a great time of year to get out and about with your dog. Follow these autumn tips for your senior dog and you’ll have a safe season!