Fall Health Tips for Your Dog.
Fall Health Tips for Your Dog.
While it may not seem like it, fall is just around the corner. The kids are back in school, and you may be working more as summer hours come to an end. With all of that activity ramping up, make sure your dog is ready for the season as well. Here are key health and safety tips to help you take the best care of your pup throughout the fall.
Fall is a tough time for pet care because the temperature is so variable. Depending on where you live, you may need to worry about anything from heatstroke to frostbite.
In some regions, the temperature drops quickly once fall hits. Put a blanket on the porch for your dog if he or she spends a lot of time playing in the yard, and don’t leave your dog out for extended periods of time in the late evenings and early mornings. Most breeds are well-equipped to withstand cooler temperatures, but others – like Chihuahuas, Greyhounds and Salukis – are not. Help you dog transition slowly from the heat of summer… at least until his or her winter coat comes in.
In particular, make sure your dog always has enough water. Just because you may be in a climate where the weather’s gotten cooler doesn't mean that your pet doesn't still need a lot to drink.
Dogs tend to be very active in the summer thanks to long walks and frequent trips to the park, and it’s just as important to maintain an exercise routine during the fall months. Taking your dog along with you on hikes and jogs and playing frisbee are some ways to help maintain your dog’s cardiovascular and muscle health.
Take your dog’s activity level into account when reassessing his or her diet for the season. Does he or she need more calories to account for expending more energy? Do you need to rotate proteins to ensure your dog’s getting the nutrients he or she needs? Seek answers to canine nutrition questions by talking to your veterinarian.
Dog-proof your environment.
Do a daily sweep of your yard to ensure it’s safe for your canine companion. Clean up rotten fruit that’s fallen off trees, as the seeds, stems and leaves aren’t good for animals to eat. Break off any bare sticks that your pet can get caught on while playing – as they shed their leaves, they also pose more of a danger to your pet’s eyes. If you’ve already put anti-freeze in your car to prepare for the first frost, be sure that no spills have pooled anywhere that your dog can access.
Be careful around mushrooms.
In the fall, mushrooms start popping up on forest floors and around your yard. While most of these fungi are safe to eat, others are highly toxic to your pet, and it’s best not to take the risk. Prevent your dog from ingesting them by supervising independent play and keeping him close during off-leash walks and hikes. If you suspect he’s eaten one, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
Check for ticks.
The end of summer doesn’t necessarily mean the end of tick season. In fact, many species of ticks can survive well into winter. Use caution when playing in fallen leaves, as ticks thrive in damp environments. Continue using natural bug repellents, and always check your dog thoroughly after returning from the outdoors.
Fall allergens like ragweed and mold can cause your pet to itch, sneeze and cough all season long. The first step is avoidance – but this isn’t always possible, especially if you don’t know exactly what’s causing your dog’s allergic reactions. If you suspect he has seasonal allergies, talk to your veterinarian about getting him tested to determine the best natural treatment plan.
Watch out for wildlife.
During the fall months, wild animals – like skunks, bears, and snakes – are out and about, busily preparing for winter hibernation. If you and your dog find yourself in the woods, keep a close eye out for these creatures, and mind your distance. If you live in an area that’s home to venomous snakes, consider keeping your dog on-leash until the snow falls.
Keep this healthy and safety list in the back of your mind, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying the beautiful fall season!