Animal Care

Autumn Pet Care Advice

AutumnAh, Autumn—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. But pet parents, beware—Autumn is also a time of lurking dangers for our furry friends. From household poisons to cold weather hazards, the season is a minefield! Here are some tips to keep your pet snug and healthy during the autumn months.

The use of mouse and rat poison increases in Autumn as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets—if ingested, the results could be fatal. If you must use these products, do so with extreme caution and put them in places inaccessible to your pets.

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.

Training tip: If you and your pooch haven’t been active outdoors in a while because of the summer heat, do some remedial recall training. Dogs, like people, get rusty on their skills if they aren't using them.

Autumn and spring and are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic (PDF) can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, most of the highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from the nontoxic ones, so the best way to keep pets from ingesting poisonous mushrooms is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing. Contact your veterinarian  immediately if you witness your pet eating a wild mushroom.

In order to generate body heat, pets who exercise heavily outdoors, or who live outdoors, should be given more food during colder seasons. Make sure horses and other outdoor animals have access to clean, fresh water that is not frozen.

Many people choose autumn as the time to change their car’s engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren’t completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.

Information courtesy of the ASPCA

 

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