Fall is in the air! The leaves are changing, and it’s time for your pets to change their routines. While summer can be hot and sunny, fall brings cooler temperatures and rain. For many pet parents, this can mean a whole host of new challenges when caring for their four-legged friends. From protecting them from the elements to finding new ways to keep them active, here are five tips to help you stay on top of your furry friend’s health this season.
Keep Pets Safe on Walks
The first thing you should do is keep your pet safe. Autumn is a great time to take your dog or cat for walks and enjoy the weather together. However, knowing the temperature and what you’re wearing when walking with your pet is important.
Be sure to dress appropriately for yourself and your dog or cat. It’s okay if they wear a sweater on chilly days. Make sure that you wear something warm as well.
Also, fall is mushroom season. While most mushrooms (say 99%) are not toxic, the remaining 1% is not only toxic but can also be life-threatening. It’s advisable to steer clear of mushrooms when walking your pet. And if your dog consumes mushrooms by mistake, head to the vet immediately.
When checking weather forecasts before going out, look at temperatures over periods rather than just checking one-hour readings. If there are any warnings about extreme heat or cold, either stay inside until things improve or take along the water for yourself and your furry friend so that you don’t needlessly risk dehydration during an outing together.
Replace Summer Temperature Treats with Fall Time Flavors
Whether a dog or cat parent, autumn is the perfect time to switch up your pet’s treat flavors. Pumpkins, apples, and sweet potatoes are all popular fall time treats that will help keep your furry friend warm this season. Puppies and kittens can also try pumpkin-flavored dog food or cat treats made with sweet potato flour.
However, if you have any concerns about allergies in dogs or cats—especially skin allergies—you should ask your veterinarian before introducing new foods into their diet. For instance, chocolate is toxic for dogs, and sugar substitutes like xylitol can be fatal for cats if ingested in large enough doses.
Protect Pets from Pests
There are many reasons to protect your pets from pests this autumn. Heartworm is the most important to worry about because it can be fatal if left untreated. If you live in an area where heartworm is common, ensure your dog has been on prevention for at least four months before mosquito season and continue giving them that protection all year long. The CAPC’s 2022 Annual Pet Parasite Forecast suggests that the chances of heartworm disease will be higher than average in 2022.
Fleas and ticks are another concern for dogs and cats because they’re difficult to eliminate once they’ve infested a pet’s fur. If you suspect fleas, look for scabs or redness along the animal’s body; if there are no signs of an infestation, use repellent as a preventative measure.
Ticks prefer moist environments like grassy fields or thick brush. If you find one on your pet during tick season, remove it carefully with tweezers (use hot water afterward) so as not to leave any part behind that could become infected later on down the line.
Also, it’s a good idea to use flea shampoos and sprays to protect your pet. You can find these products at online stores like PetCareRx.
Don’t Forget Pet Dental Care
Dental care is just as important for pets as it is for humans. According to AVMA, most dogs or cats will show signs of periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old. If you are not brushing your pet’s teeth at home, you should regularly take them to the vet for professional dental cleaning. It will ensure that their mouths stay healthy and free of any infections or other issues that can create problems.
While brushing your pet’s teeth may sound daunting at first, it’s quite easy once you start. Brush twice a week with an enzymatic toothpaste designed specifically for cats and dogs (no human toothpaste allowed!), being sure to reach every surface of their mouth, including behind their front teeth, where most tartar builds up. You may need to start gently by rubbing your finger along the gum line before moving on to using a brush, but even if they don’t like it at first, they should learn over time how good oral health feels, and trust me, no self-respecting dog wants bad breath.
Get Exercise as the Weather Changes
Exercise is important for all pets, especially in the fall. Exercising your pet in the fall helps them stay healthy and happy, and it can help them deal with all the changes that come along with the season change.
The first change that comes with autumn is cold weather. The days are shorter, meaning less outside and more time inside. But don’t worry, you don’t have to give up on fun activities. Exercise doesn’t have to be done solely outdoors. A great way to get some exercise but still enjoy being indoors is by playing fetch indoors.
You could also try walking through some leaves on a nice day if there’s enough light out. Take your pup out on walks at dusk if it doesn’t rain too hard, go swimming together instead of just watching other dogs swim at the dog park (if they’re not afraid of water), etc.
We hope this article has helped you better understand how to care for your pets during the fall season. It’s important to remember that even though they may not be able to communicate with us, they still need our help. With some simple prep work and good planning, you can ensure that your pets are safe and healthy all year.