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Fall Pet Tips

Ah, fall—there’s nothing like crisp, cool air, the first months of school and luscious foliage to get you excited for the changing seasons. Your pet, too, is probably welcoming the break from hot, sticky weather. Here are some tips to keep your pet snug and healthy during the autumn months.

It’s back-to-school time, and those of you with young children know that means stocking up on fun items like glue sticks, pencils and magic markers. These items are considered “low toxicity” to pets, which means they’re unlikely to cause serious problems unless large amounts are ingested. However, since gastrointestinal upset and blockages certainly are possible, be sure your children keep their school supplies out of paw’s reach.

Beware of Allergies
You’re not the only one who can get the curse of fall allergies. Your pet can be just as susceptible to allergens as you. If you see your pet itching more than usual, you might want to check with the vet to identify any possible allergies. Keep leaves raked and grass cut short to eliminate irritation to your pet’s skin.

Coping with Shedding
In early fall, pets begin shedding their summer coat to allow room for their winter coat. For many pet owners, this means pet hair on your couch, your clothes, and everywhere in between. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Make time to brush your pet weekly, if not daily, depending on your pet’s shedding habits. Brushing your pet will allow you to catch most of the unwanted hair before it ends up around your home.

Got Water?
No matter the season, always be sure that your pet has access to water. It is important that the water is clean to avoid any bacteria from entering your pet’s system. Also remember that in autumn, nighttime temperatures often drop below freezing. If your pet spends a lot of time outside, check for ice formation in their water and remove any floating chunks that could lead to choking.

Things to Watch For on Halloween
Halloween is a fun time for kids and many adults, but can be a frightening and stressful time for your pets. As a pet owner, you know your pet best, but here are some points to consider for your pet’s safety.

  • Continual doorbell ringing and people at the door (in costume, no less!) can be stressful for a pet. Some pets may experience stress-related diarrhea or potentially injure themselves if crated or otherwise contained. Keep your pet in a quiet and safe place on Halloween.
  • Strangers in costume – some animals may become unexpectedly aggressive or fearful, even normally friendly pets.
  • Candles and Jack-O’-Lanterns within a pet’s range are a fire hazard. Wagging tails and frightened cats zooming through the house can easily tip over a candle or carved pumpkin, causing burns or a fire.

Candy Concerns
Candies, gums, mints, baked goods and chocolate containing the “sugar free” sweetener xylitol are especially poisonous, causing rapid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs and possibly other species (ferrets).

Chocolate is toxic to pets. Granted, a 50 pound dog would have to eat about 50 ounces of milk chocolate (but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate) for a toxic dose, but much smaller amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Other candies, such as lollipops and those with plastic components, pose a danger if ingested. Lollipop sticks and plastic parts can cause intestinal obstruction and potentially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency.

Rodents During the fall, rodents are more present as they search for warmth in shelters and even in our homes. Take caution when using rodenticides around the home as these can be toxic to pets and can cause bleeding disorders that can be deadly. Consider using traps instead.

Thanksgiving Holiday meals can pose a medical threat for your pet. Chicken and turkey bones can get stuck or can pierce holes in any portion of the digestive tract. Rich foods can cause sudden pancreatitis or bloat. Keep holiday meals, leftovers and table scraps out of reach of your pet.

Watch the video below to learn how to clean your dog’s ears.

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