11 October 2023
Everyone can feel the change in the air as we move from season to season. You should realize that this also affects our pets. You may notice that they are slowing down a bit and putting on a more fat, reminiscent of their wild forebearers, to withstand the colder temperatures looming. There are a few things we can do to ensure continued safety and happiness.
Yep, the dog ate my homework is not just an old joke. Kids have the tendency to place tempting books, papers, pencils, glue sticks, markers, etc. any where convenient. This can be quite a temptation. While many of these items are low toxicity, they can cause gastric upsets or blockages, causing a trip to the vet as well as having more household mess.
This is the time of year when we tend to treat our homes to prevent insects and rodents from finding a winter residence. Be aware that many insecticides and rodenticides are highly toxic to pets. If you must use them, put them in places that are completely inaccessible (remember cats are notorious for finding hidden objects) and are used only according to manufacturer directions and with extreme caution.
Vehicles require engine coolants, antifreeze. Ethylene glycol-based products are highly toxic and, sadly, quite attractive to pets. Be sure to address all spills immediately and thoroughly. A propylene glycol-based coolant is far less toxic but can still be harmful.
This is the perfect time of year for a nice hike in the woods. However, many ferral animals are preparing for hibernation and may not take kindly to inquiring dogs.
Additionally cold blooded creatures like snakes are grasping for the warmth of sun heated rocks and other areas. Know where these serpents are likely to be found and which can be venomous or othewise hazardous to both pets and humans.
Not all mushrooms are easily identifiable and it can be difficult to distinguish between varieties. Unless you are absolutely sure, avoid harvesting anything you do not recognize. The best way to keep your pets safe is to keep them away from areas where mushrooms are growing.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Most of us are familiar with this condition that involves mood shifts with decreasing daylight hours and increasing cold weather that reduces the production of serotonin and increases melatonin. This can also affect our pets without our realization. Notice any loss of energy, decreased appetite, or symptoms of sadness.
- Exercise – Even short walks outdoors in decent weather can help perk up pets and humans alike. Just be sure to use proper fitting booties to protect delicate paws from rain, cold, salt, and chemicals. If walking in the early morning or dusk, be sure to have reflective stripping on yourself as well as harnesses and leashes.
- Indoor Lighting – Keep your pet bed near a sunny window and allow the sun to shine on their bed or crate. Replace light bulbs with full spectrum lighting to simulate natural sunlight.
- Play Indoors – Increase the time you play with your cat or dog. Toys filled with treats or a round of their favorite game will keep them engaged and give you a bit of a respite as well. Brushing, petting, and just sitting together can also reap rewards for all of you.
- Diet – Check with your vet about any changes your cat or dog may need for the months ahead. This could be weight control or simply to improve overall health. Good gut health, like in humans, can produce overall better well being. Check on whether you need to add supplements to your furry friend’s regular meals.