Fall Dog Safety Guide
As summer moves to fall and the temperatures get chillier, you’ll start to layer up and, depending on your dog, they may need to as well. Just as some dogs handle summer heat better than others, some dogs are able to handle cool weather much better than others. Regardless, it’s important to help your dog stay safe and comfortable in the fall. Here is a fall dog safety guide to get you started:
Add Layers (if Needed)
If you own an arctic dog breed, like a Siberian Husky, or a dog with a thick, fluffy coat, you likely won’t need to add any extra layers for warmth during the fall. These dog breeds will likely welcome the chillier weather with open paws and wagging tails. However, if your dog is more sensitive to cold weather, like a Chihuahua, Yorkie, or another small dog breed, you’ll likely need to add some extra layers to help them stay warm. A good dog sweater on more mild days and a winter coat on colder days will help ward off the chill and keep them comfortable.
Maintain Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Care
Although temperatures may be dropping, fleas and ticks are still a concern. To ensure your pup stays protected, be sure to continue regular flea and tick prevention treatments as well as any treatments for heartworm prevention. This will help keep your dog as healthy as possible during the change in seasons.
Beware of Outdoor Dangers
During the fall, there are some outdoor dangers to be aware of and you’ll want to keep an eye on your dog to ensure they don’t encounter or ingest them. Ensuring your dog masters basic commands like “Come” and “Leave it” can help you keep your dog safe while they are outside in the fall.
As temperatures start to drop, more wild mushrooms will start to pop up. Although many are not toxic, there are plenty that can be life-threatening if eaten. And, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between some species. It’s best to keep your dog away from all mushrooms to ensure they don’t come across any that will make them sick or worse. “Leave it” is a useful command in these circumstances, especially if you are traipsing through the woods with your dog.
During the fall, snakes are preparing for hibernation and can be more likely to bite if disturbed. The best thing you can do is to find out what types of snakes are common in your area, which ones are venomous, and the areas they are most likely to inhabit. If you don’t usually walk your dog in areas where snakes are common, you may not need to worry too much about this potential outdoor hazard. However, it never hurts to be prepared.
Conkers, Daffodils, and Tulips
Conkers look like big acorns and drop from Horse Chestnut trees in the fall. If chewed, these are highly poisonous. They are also a choking hazard and can cause serious blockages if swallowed whole. Although they are beautiful once they bloom, Daffodil and Tulip bulbs are highly toxic if they are eaten. If you have a dog, it’s best to keep these items out of your yard in the fall. If you come across them while out on a walk, keep your dog well away to avoid any chance of ingestion.
Wear Reflectors in the Dark
During autumn, it starts to get darker earlier and earlier, which means your evening walk may end up being in the dark. You want to make sure you and your dog are visible and wearing reflectors are a great way to do this. A reflective dog vest, a dog vest with LED lights, or a lighted collar are all ways you can stay visible in the dark.
Give Some Extra Care to Paws
Your pup’s paw pads are sensitive. As the weather changes, they can get dry and even start to crack. This can be really painful for your dog. So, make sure you give your pup’s paws a little extra care during the fall. DIY paw balm or paw balm you purchase can help keep your dog’s paw pads moisturized and can help prevent dry or cracked skin. Regularly checking your dog’s paws to ensure nails are trimmed, paw pads are healthy, and paws are free of debris is another way to protect your dog’s paws. Also, invest in a good pair of dog booties to protect your dog’s paws from rough terrain while they are outside, especially in the case of early ice or snow.
Watch for Signs of Allergies
Much like us, a change in the seasons can trigger allergies in your dog. If your dog is prone to allergies and experiences them in the spring, it’s possible they’ll exhibit some symptoms in the fall too. Keep an eye out for sneezing or clear discharge from the nose, skin rashes or irritation, and increased scratching. If your dog is suffering from allergies, a quick trip to the vet can help. They can take a look and prescribe the best treatment to help your dog be more comfortable.
With this fall dog safety guide on hand, you and your dog can enjoy autumn together, comfortable and worry-free!