It's that time of year when the leaves are starting to fall off the trees and the days are getting shorter. Hot sunny days are being replaced by crisp cold mornings. Autumn is here!
Here are a few hints, tips and things to think about over the coming months to keep our furry friends happy and safe.
The cold, dark (and sometimes wet) mornings and evenings mean that going out for a walk is less appealing for both you and your dog, but it is essential that exercise continues to be part of your daily routine.
When you go out, think about what you and your dog are wearing. Make sure that you are visible to others - you should consider high-vis clothing such as a fluorescent jacket for both you and your dog and perhaps a light on your dog's collar, or one that lights up with LEDs.
There are also additional things you can do to maintain exercise levels and brain stimulation
- meal times can be interactive with the use of puzzle bowls or a Kong instead of a standard food bowl
- your dog loves to learn and wants to please you. You can spend time each day teaching them new tricks
- consider training or agility classes and then work on what you learn at home.
Don't forget to monitor your dog's weight and food intake - you can read our feeding guides here
Autumn provides new stimulus for our dog's noses, and along with new smells, come new challenges. If you are out and about, make sure you keep an eye out for:
- cold moist days provide the perfect environment for mushrooms and toadstools, and whilst they aren't all poisonous, you can't guarantee that the one your dog selects to eat will be fine - therefore, best to avoid all!
- acorns and conkers are poisonous to dogs, but they can also cause intestinal blockages and other ingestion problems
- be careful if you are putting rat or mouse poison down to ensure that your pet can't get to it
- antifreeze can typically be found if it drips from a car radiator, or it can be found in puddles. You should avoid letting your dog drink from any surface water on a pathway or road just in case.
If you suspect that your dog has digested poison, contact your vet immediately.
3. Fireworks and bonfire night.
It is natural for any animal to be scared of big bangs and flashes of light. Autumn and Winter mean fireworks, and for our pets these can be frightening times. There is a lot of advice written about what to do to keep your dog safe and it is best to research and have a thorough understanding before November.
- if you know of a local fireworks display, ensure that you dog is inside and that doors and windows are closed. You may also want to draw the curtains
- your dog can display stress or anxiety in a number of ways including panting, shaking, excessive yawning, or putting their tail between their legs. They may want a cuddle, or they may want to hide under your bed or behind the sofa. Either is ok, just be sure that you act normally, and keep calm and let them do what they need to in order to feel safe.
If in doubt, speak to your vet or animal behaviourist for advice.
This is a beautiful time of year for every member of your family to enjoy. Make the most of it and stay safe.