By: Jill Fanslau comments by Diane Weinmann
During the hot summer months, you’ve learned how to keep your dog cool, hydrated, and happy. But what about when the chillier fall season rolls in, and brings its own set of unique challenges? How do we prep our pooches for the change in atmosphere and the possible dangers that befall them? Here are five ways to keep your dog safe when the temperature changes from warm to crisp.
As the weather gets cooler, you’ll stay indoors more often. Unfortunately, mice and rats will follow your lead, coming inside shelters to find warmth and food.
You may be tempted to put out pesticides or rodenticides—otherwise known as rat poison—to get rid of unwanted visitors. “But these rodent control chemicals can be toxic for pets if ingested,” says Len Donata, VMD, Radnor Veterinary Hospital in Pennsylvania.
“When a dog eats mouse or rat bait, a clotting factor gets blocked,” he explains. “Your pet will start to bleed.” This bleeding can start anywhere—internally or externally, from a small bump on their skin to inside their lungs. You may never even see it.” Symptoms can include rapid breathing, blood in their vomit, weakness, or seizures. “If you notice something wrong, immediately call your vet’s emergency line,” Donata urges.
Another thing to remember: some traps can be just that to a dog and they may face injuries as a result. “A mousetrap with cheese or peanut butter may look like an appetizer to an inquisitive dog,” says Teoti Anderson, CPTA-KA, KPA-CTP, owner of Pawsitive Results in Lexington, South Carolina.
Make sure your pets have no access to areas containing bait or traps. Keep doors locked and regularly check the areas to determine children or pets haven’t disturbed them.
I have an life and death personal experience with this very topic with my dog Cocoa. He at rat poison and went into seizures. I thought we were going to lose him but he pulled through (thank the Lord!). All caused from putting poison in a chipmunk hole by my husband!
Along with the beautiful fall foliage, unfortunately, comes mold, ragweed, and pollen. For many people, those seasonal allergens can lead to sneezing, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes for both you and your dog. Sure, you can pop an allergy medicine—but what about your pooch?
“When your dog comes in from outside, wipe him down with some gentle baby wipes,” says Anderson. This will help remove any microscopic allergens from his fur so he’s not carrying them around all day long.
“If your pup continues to have symptoms—like scratching, shaking his head, or constantly tearing up—see a vet,” says Dr. Donato. “Depending on how severe the symptoms are, treatments range from simple antihistamines to more aggressive medications.”
My husky Neko has been coughing after he smells crushed leaves and when he smells the base of trees where the mold grows. I gave him Benadryl based on the vet’s recommendation and it cleared up.
“You might only think of ticks as a danger during the summer, but they can pose a big problem to your dog in the fall, too,” Dr. Donato explains. That’s because many animals limit their times outdoors or hibernate when the temps start to drop. The result: fewer victims for ticks to latch on to. If your dog hangs out in the backyard or goes on walks near woods, he’s now an easy target for ticks.
“Ticks have heat sensors and can detect heat up to 30 feet away,” he says. “They can hang out on a branch or tall grass, and then latch on to the creature when they walk by.” Your dog can contract Lyme disease or other nasty infections from a tick after only 24 hours of the bug attaching.
“If a tick does attach to your pet, remove it immediately,” says Anderson. First, wipe the bite site and a pair of fine-point tweezers with rubbing alcohol. (Regular tweezers may squeeze germs from the tick’s body into your pet’s body.) Then grab the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible, and pull slowly upward with constant pressure until the tick pops out. “Clean the area again with rubbing alcohol,” she adds.
If there’s a bit of the tick still in the skin, don’t worry—it’ll eventually work itself out. But you may want to drop the tick in a small bottle full of alcohol and then take a photo of it on your phone. “That way you can show your vet if he or she needs to identify it later on,” Anderson recommends, adding, “Keep an eye on your dog’s health for the next two weeks.”
Still don’t want to attempt remove the bug yourself? No problem. Just call your vet!
I continue to give my dog his flea and tick meds but I also use essential oils called AWAY from Dr. Melissa Shelton DVM. Shown below is more info on the product and where you can purchase it:
Ingredients: Essential Oils of Eucalyptus citriodora, Catnip, Citronella, Lemon Tea Tree, White Cypress
Away was created for many purposes, but all are encompassed in the word “Away”. Bugs go “Away”, smells go “Away”, and stale energy can also go “Away”! I put it on my dog any time we are going into the woods or open field for a walk.
The petting technique is a way to apply the oils to your pet. This technique is well tolerated by almost every form of animal. The technique can be modified for small rodents, amphibians, or animals that may be difficult to handle, simply by having the oils absorbed into your hands, and then “cupping” and holding the animal within your hands.
Dogs: Away can also be applied to most dogs topically using the “Petting Technique.” Place 1-3 drops into your hands, rub them together until a light coating remains, then pet onto areas of need. For insect repellent; rubbing down the legs, neck, shoulders, and back are good locations to concentrate on. I especially focus on the “ankle” area of my dogs, since ticks will often contact this area first, as they start to climb up the legs.
Cats: Diffusion of Away in a water-based diffuser is also recommended for cat households. Away is wonderful for eliminating pet odors from the household, and litter box areas.
If you’re a pool owner, chances are you’ve already covered your pool for the winter. “Even though the pool is closed up, you still need to keep your pooch away from it,” says Dr. Donato.
The reason? Water can collect in puddles on top of solid covers. If your dog slides out on the cover, he may have trouble getting back to solid ground. “He can get stranded, and quickly get hypothermia if temperatures are low enough,” says Dr. Donato.
This can also occur with mesh covers and if the water isn’t low enough, your pet can walk across and get wet.
October brings a bunch of trick-or-treating superheroes, goblins, and Frozen Elsa’s to your front door. It also brings a ton of chocolate into your house. Most dog owners know to keep chocolate away from their dogs, but if your pup gets his paws on those sweets, bring them to the vet right away to induce vomiting. Too much chocolate can be toxic.
“You’ll want to keep your Thanksgiving leftovers to yourself, too,” says Anderson. Onions, grapes, and raisons can be toxic to dogs, and “turkey skin is very fatty and can lead to pancreatitis in your pet,” she explains. Dr. Donato warns that feeding Thanksgiving table scraps causes a lot of gastroenteritis issues in dogs. “I know it’s a way for people to bond with their pets, but it’s a big reason why we’re kept busy.”
In other words, more leftovers for you.