Now that the last few warm days of summer are slipping away, the nights are drawing in and we have just passed the equinox on 21st September, autumn is definitely on its way!  So brace yourself for those chillier evenings, and a bit more rain which of course means the soggy walk season!  And since it is not just us humans that notice the change in seasons, Friends for Pets have put together a few tips to get you and your dog through the coming months.

  • Keep on top of your flea treatments!  This is the time of year that fleas breed the most, so unfortunately the population increases around autumn time.  Also this is the time when many of us begin to turn our central heating back on, and as fleas love the warmth they will start to come inside too, laying eggs everywhere you do not want them to!
  • Who doesn’t love a crisp walk through the lovely autumn leaves?  Just be careful if you see oak leaves or acorns lying on the ground or in puddles – do not let your dog drink out of these puddles as oak leaves or acorns are toxic and can give your dog a very bad belly!  No one wants the poops after a lovely autumn walk!!!
  • Stay visible!  With the evenings closing in our pooches still need the same amount of exercise so unfortunately that means more walks in the dark.  It is always worth wearing some reflective gear (especially if you are not walking along a footpath) and don’t forget Fido – invest in a light for his collar, well worth the money if you are walking in a park and still let them off lead.
  • Stay warm!  Not only do you find the change in temperatures require an extra layer but your pup might also, especially the shorter haired breeds such as whippets and greyhounds, so why not think about investing in a nice little coat for the winter, it will also help keep them dry on those rainy day walks.
  • Autumn = Comfort Foods!!  We all love this time of year for the warm comforting stews, roast dinners, crumbles and apple pies.  But don’t be tempted to give your pet too many tit bits and table scraps, especially if they are really fatty – it doesn’t take much before some breeds will start to put on a few extra pounds.  Also remember turkey and chicken bones can splinter so NEVER let your dog have them, they can be a severe choking hazard.
  • Maintain a healthy weight (and for full disclosure Friends for Pets are merely advising this for the dogs!!!  Humans you are free to put on as much ‘winter weight’ as you want!).  With the walking weather never being as predictable as that in the summer it is always tricky to maintain a healthy weight for your dog.  So why not consider some lower calorie treats such as raw carrots, or creating some indoor games (this will also help to keep their mind active too – so they are less likely to become bored and destructive – I recommend our Kong stuffing blog for ideas).
  • Keep an eye out in your garden.  No I am not appealing to the ardent gardener among you all but rather prompting you to keep a watch out for winter visitors in your back yard.  This is the time of year that many animals such as hedgehogs look for a nice cosy place to hibernate and it is advisable that you discourage any signs of interest your dog may show towards them, not only can the spikes prove painful to Fido’s snout but hedgehogs are also well known for carrying a great number of fleas.  Also be on the lookout for other animals such as foxes and badgers looking for food in your garden or yards, you do not want an altercation between wild animals and your pet.
  • Trick or Treat?  As Halloween fast approaches this is the time for sweets and other treats, many of which prove very harmful to dogs – never let your dog eat chocolate or raisins and if they do contact your vet for advice immediately.  Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog on how to survive Halloween and bonfire night with your pets.
  • More dangers – now that the temperature is dropping you may wake up to the occasional frosty car window.  Antifreeze is really dangerous for your dog; it can cause acute kidney failure or even death.  For some reason many pets (especially cats) are quite partial to the taste of antifreeze, so just make sure you store it out of reach and when defrosting the car keep your pets inside.  Incidentally road grit can also be very harmful to your dog, so be aware when you walk on gritted footpaths and ensure you wipe their feet when you get back from your walk.
  •  Scratch, scratch, scratch?  Allergies can increase at this time of year, so if you notice your dog scratching more don’t automatically think that they must have fleas.  Perhaps a nice warm bath will help and if not then book them in for a quick check up with the vet in case they need some medication to soothe that infernal itch!

That’s our top 10 tips for approaching the autumn.  I just have one final piece of advice for this time of year…  Don’t forget to enjoy the colder, darker evenings by snuggling up and enjoying lots of lovely cuddles with your dog!!  Treat yourself to a nice new throw and share it with your fur baby!  Enjoy!  From all here at Friends for Pets!