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It will be autumn all over the country very soon. For many people, it’s their favorite time of year. Temperatures become bearable, lots of fun activities and holidays take place, great seasonal food and drink draws fans, and many of us dress up just for fun! These are all the same reasons your dog (and cat at times) love fall, too! It’s all fun and games mostly, but for pets the season holds several dangers and risks pet parents need to be aware of to keep Fido and Fluffy safe.
Is It Ok To Dress Up My Pet?
Is It Safe To Give Them Treats?
One Word. Halloween. We love it! We dress up! We buy treats! We decorate! It’s the best fun, but keep your dog and cat happy and safe.
That bowl of Trick or Treat goodies smells and tastes just as good to dogs as it does to us. However, chocolate can be deadly to pets, so make sure no one can reach the treat bowl. Store it up high, keep it covered, or secure it in a cabinet until Oct. 31 when someone is supervising the treat distribution. If one of your pets does manage to snag a chocolate snack, consult your veterinarian immediately to get treatment since ingestion can be fatal for animals.
Pet costumes make for a fun addition to the festivities, but some dogs and cats will not take kindly to wearing an outfit, no matter how darling it is. They may bite, rip, tear, and chew to escape and in the process, eat beads, sequins, glue, or string that might make them sick or choke. If you have to do a costume, get your pictures and then take it off if your pet is not comfortable.
Human costumes might be too much for some pets. Suddenly having the hand that feeds you dressed in a full-size T-Rex might send your dog on an attack mission. Even simple outfits with strings and ties may draw unwanted interest from pets, so make sure your cat or dog don’t ingest any fabric or glue that they shouldn’t if they are playing with your costume. Human face paint and makeup can be toxic to pets, too.
On Halloween night, you may be opening your door multiple times to reward your trick or treaters. That could be the perfect time for your cat or dog to make an exit outside and that would present a new emergency as you try to find a lost pet in the dark. Some anxious pets may not like all the doorbell-ringing and the endless supply of strangers at the house, so if you know your cat or dog may struggle with this, try to put them in a safe room with ample food and water and a litter box if necessary. Most nervous pets would be far happier there than dealing with squealing children dressed in strange clothes.
Do I Still Have To Worry About Fleas And Ticks?
Fall can still bug pets and humans, literally. Fleas, and especially ticks, are still out in force.
Infographic: The Lifecycle of Fleas >>
Ticks love yard debris like leaves and garden clippings. Keep taking preventive action against these parasites with monthly treatments for your pets, whether topical or chew tablets. Stay on tick patrol after your pet goes outside and do tick and flea inspections on your cat and dog’s fur.
Humans who take their pets hunting, hiking, and camping need to make sure to look for ticks after an outing. Ticks spread several serious and life-threatening diseases, including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Related Article: Help! My Dog Has Tapeworms! >>
What Things Can Poison My Dog or Cat?
Poison comes in many types, sizes and shapes and several man-made and natural products can sicken animals or even kill them.
As the temperatures decline, many rodents (rats and mice) will be looking for warm homes inside barns, garages, sheds, and other structures. Those bait traps, powders, and boxes use poison to stop the vermin. You can secure your residence safely, but you don’t always know what your neighbor may have used to get rid of rodents. If a pet unwittingly ingests this poison or a dead animal that was poisoned, your cat or dog could become seriously ill and even die. Seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested poison. Try to supervise any pet that goes outside so you know where he has been and what he has been exploring.
Leaf piles are great fun, but they will also harbor moisture that will attract bacteria, mold, and fungus. Many animals love a good roll or frolic in these mounds, but be careful, too. Mushrooms will also thrive in this wet environment and some are poisonous. Keep an eye on what your dog is doing when he is romping outside.
Chrysanthemums and other fall foliage can make pets sick. Lilies can be deadly for cats, too. Watch what your pets decide to munch and get them to steer clear of risky plants if you go for a walk.
It’s that time of year when many drivers will be checking levels and refilling their anti-freeze in their cars in preparation for winter. Drinking anti-freeze is DEADLY, even in small portions, to cats and dogs. Pets are attracted to the ethylene glycol in the compound that is sickly-sweet. Even small spills in the garage or driveway must be cleaned up or covered with sand to keep pets from lapping up the tempting liquid. The best idea may be to keep pets out of your garage altogether if you are working on your auto.
After all the fun and games are over, clean-up follows. Make sure what cleaning agents you use to take decorations off windows and other areas are not toxic to pets either. Cleanliness is wonderful, but not if the chemicals pose a risk to pets and humans. Read labels and search the internet for safe, natural cleaning options if necessary.
Is Holiday Food Safe For My Pets?
Autumn brings out some of the best food and drink of the season. Enjoy it as you please, but make sure your cat and dog doesn’t get too much of a good thing.
Rich foods for tailgates, holiday parties, and gatherings are often high in fat content. Sharing too many fatty table scraps can lead to pancreatitis for cats and dogs. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, which can be painful. If untreated, death often happens quickly. Dogs love bones from a turkey, but the splinters that break off can lodge in a dog’s throat and cause choking or worse. Better to stick with dog chews, but maybe you can dip it in turkey broth for an extra treat.
Alcohol and pets don’t mix. Whether it is hard liquor, beer or hard cider, pet metabolism is not designed to ingest alcohol. In fact, drinking alcohol will poison your cat or dog.
Pumpkin-spice is everywhere in the fall from lattes and ice cream to candles and potpourri. Just be careful what you do and what you have that pets can have access to at home.
Seasonal smells are great. Open-flame candles? Not so much. Dogs, and especially, cats, will be drawn to this bright, flickering light. Use warmers or covered candles where no paws or fur can connect with the open flame. Animals can get burned severely and house fires can also start.
What Health Issues Do I Need To Watch For?
Take good care of your cat or dog, especially if fall allergies develop for your pet.
Know the signs of possible allergy issues like itching, scratching and runny eyes and consult with your veterinarian about the best treatment options to make life comfortable for you cat or dog. With proper medication and skin care, many pets can still enjoy all the outside playtime and romps they can without so much of the misery associated with allergies.
Cooler weather means an end to the heat of summer, but it may require some special accommodations for certain pets.
Small dogs may need to wear a sweater when outside for extra protection from the chilly temperatures. They simply do not have enough body fat and fur to insulate them properly so they can stay warm.
Whether you call it fall or autumn, this season deserves all its good characteristics. You love it. Your pets love it. Just remember that safety and health should be your first priority for you and pets.