Keeping Pets Safe in Autumn, The arrival of fall brings a new challenge to pet owners, particularly when the clocks go back, so here are some useful tips to keep you and your pet safe and healthy.

All pets

  • Modification of seasons can lead to skin problems, aching joints, allergies and breathing issues, so make sure to monitor the health of your pets carefully. If you notice unusual changes, look for veterinary advice.
  • Slug pellets are toxic to all pets, so avoid using them in your pots and flowerbeds. If consumed by your pet, it can result in diarrhea, vomiting, excessive panting, twitching, fitting, muscle tremors, hypothermia, uncoordinated walking and several other symptoms. If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, take him to the veterinary doctor immediately.
  • Similarly, screen-wash and anti-freeze have the same dangerous effect on pets as slug pellets, so if you are preparing your car for the winter, remember how deadly they can be to animals. What is worse is that there is a substance in screen-wash and antifreeze that is highly palatable, so try keeping them away from your pets.
  • The winter season encourages rodents to look for a warmer shelter, so do not leave the rodenticides in the sheds or garages where your pet could reach them, as these can also be fatal if eaten.
  • The season of fireworks seems to be longer each year and can be a stressful time for all animals in various ways. If you need further information or guidance, take a look at the NAWT’s FireWorks tips.
  • Problems with ticks and fleas both increase during the fall period, with a peak when people start to turn on their central heating. Make sure to use tick and flea control and often check your pet coats. Make sure to use the correct tick removal kit if a tick is found.

Rabbits and Guinea Pigs

  • If you kept your rabbits or guinea pigs outside, now is the time to start planning their location for the coldest months to come. If you have a shed or garage, you can move them into there. If you don’t, keep their hutch warm to protect them from the harsh weather. Off cuts of carpet or spare blankets can be used as insulation.
  • Remember, not to use electric blankets or hot water bottles as they can burn your little furry pet. Instead, you can add extra bedding to keep them warm and more comfortable.
  • In addition to their usual feed, guinea pigs and rabbits can have a little extra hay to increase their caloric intake, they do not hibernate like other animals, so they need bit extra.
  • To avoid freezing of water bottles, you can wrap them in bubble wrap.

Cats

  • Some cats do much less exercise in these colder months because they do not go outside so much. Make sure to adjust their caloric intake accordingly to avoid having too much weight, also ensure that fresh water is always available.
  • If your cat continues to go outside during the colder months, make sure they do not stay long, especially when the temperature is below freezing.
  • Pay attention to frostbite. It is more common on the ears, the footpads and tail and such organs look pale, glossy or white. Take them to the vet if you think frostbite is developing.
  • Avoid potential burns by protecting your cat from open fires and radiators.
  • Bang the bonnet or hoot your horn before starting your car as cats tend to snuggle near the engine or in the tyre.
  • Cats are most likely to consume antifreeze, so keep it locked away.
  • Make a comfortable place for your cat to sleep with warm bedding, without drafts, and you may even lift the bed off the floor as they love it.

Dogs

  • Even with the worsening weather and darker mornings and nights, your dog always needs regular exercise. It is unlikely that your dog will have the same level of exercise and access to the outside as during the summer. It can cause behavioral problems if your dog doesn’t have enough activity and mental stimulation. If your dog does less exercise during the week, his fitness levels will not be as high as in summer, so do not go mad with his training on the weekends as he may experience health problems.
  • If you are walking your dog after work or early in the morning, invest in a lead or reflective collar for your dog. If you take him to a safe place where he can run off lead, you can buy small flashing lights that are attached to the collar so you can see where he is going and when he stops for a poo! The flashing lights come in different colors, which is quite useful if you have many dogs.
  • Also, buy a headlight or a good quality torch with a good range which keeps you ‘hands-free.’
  • Always keep your safety in mind when the dog is walking in the dark. Only walk in areas which are safe such as where there are street lights or other people around.
  • Avoid making calls on your mobile and listening to anything on your headphones as a little distraction can be devastating.
  • Always take a route that you know and let someone know where you are going and how long you expect to be. Use a mobile phone in case you need to call someone in an emergency.

Other ways to exercise your dog

  • Feed some or all of your dog’s meal in a treat dispensing ball or a Kong. Buy a couple of interactive dog puzzle toys, or either way, make your own.
  • Try to teach your dog a repertoire of some useful tricks. Buy a tutorial book or subscribe to www.naturallyhappydogs.com, a great dog website where you can access useful videos on how to teach your dog some great tricks.
  • Play scent games in the house by hiding toys or treats and letting him search for them. Make it easy and obvious at the start and gradually build up the difficulty level. If you feed dry food, scatter his meal over the lawn and let him forage for it.
  • If your dog is getting less exercise due to the winter season, make sure you adjust his diet intake accordingly, so he doesn’t gain too much weight.

 

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