As summer winds down, dogs and their owners look to enjoy the festive holidays, the cooler weather, and the changing sights and sounds of the fall season. Fall offers lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures and family gatherings before the winter. In fact, many dog owners look forward to the last weeks of outdoor activity before cold weather. We often discuss our dog's health and safety risks during the frigid winter or hot summers, but fall and spring seasons also pose risks. What are some tips to remember about keeping your dog safe this fall?
Fall hunting season poses serious risks to dogs and owners. Fall weather is perfect for hiking through the woods, exploring fallen leaf covered trails, and enjoying the bright colors of nature. Hunting is also popular in many wooded areas during those same fall months. Protect your dog by wearing bright colors when hiking near possible hunting areas, and take precautions to keep him on the trail by your side. It would be tragic for a hunter to mistaken your dog, or you, for his target.
Protect your dog during Halloween festivities. Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. From costumes and candy to parties and trick-or-treating; Halloween celebrators go all out for the October holiday. The sights, sounds and smells of Halloween interest many dogs. Unfortunately, Halloween treats and events pose dangers. Keep candy and treats away from dogs as many contain chocolate or other harmful ingredients. Be sure to protect them from the scary sights and sounds, as well as from tricksters with ill-intentions.
Watch the Thanksgiving buffet. There are foods on the Thanksgiving dinner table that are harmful to your dog. He could also get burned or have something dropped on him when dining with guests unused to his presence. Even non-begging dogs become enticed by the presence of platters and dishes of yummy food. Keep an eye out and warn holiday guests about your pets.
Be careful of camouflage during outings with your dog. Fallen leaves make an impressive ground cover. In fact, they cover from sight the things that your dog's nose may not miss. Poisonous mushrooms, snakes and small rodents preparing for winter, hazards such as glass or sharp rocks all pose risks on leaf covered grounds. Supervise your dog when outdoors during the fall months, especially in new, unsecured areas.
Prepare for back-to-school pet dangers. Even if you do not have in-home risks, like crayons and markers, from children of your own, there are still other back to school pet dangers. You may need to adjust your dog's walk schedule to avoid busy bus stops and opportunities for him to bite or scratch a child. School buses may also frighten dogs after months of bus-free, outdoor times.
Keep your dog away from burn hazards. Fall months bring cooler temperatures and the need for heat. A fun, outdoor bonfire, or indoor fireplace or space heaters all pose burn risks for your curious dog.
Protect your dog from parasites year around. Many dog owners think that September marks the end of flea and tick protection, but veterinarians suggest year-around treatment in most situations. Fall is also the time when fleas seek out satisfying, warm, winter homes, so be sure to protect your home and your dog.
Remember that dogs may experience extreme temperatures in the fall. In many parts of the county, the fall season is actually a combination of the other three seasons, sometimes presented all in one day. Temperatures may vary dramatically overnight or throughout the afternoon. Take care to provide adequate water and shelter for outdoor dogs for all of the weather possibilities of fall.