Autumn is a beautiful season and is the most colourful season of the year with the gold and red hues of falling leaves and the foraging squirrels hiding their nuts but as Dog Walkers and Pet owners that brings a new set of challenges especially when the clocks go back.
I am writing this blog to give you a few tips on keeping you and your pets especially dogs safe during this season.
For all pets
A change in any season can bring on skin conditions breathing issues allergies and aching joints so its important to keep monitoring your pet’s health and to seek veterinary advise if you see any changes.
Slug pellets are poisonous to all pets so be careful of popping them around flower beds, signs to look out for are twitching or fitting, diarrhoea and vomiting, excessive panting and uncoordinated walking and hypothermia, if you see any of these signs seek immediate veterinary help.
Antifreeze and screen wash have the same dangerous life threatening effect on pets made worse with the fact that there is a substance in them that makes both Antifreeze and Screen wash palatable, its sweet tasting to our pets but even a small amount can cause serious kidney damage and be fatal. Antifreeze can leak from a cars radiator a dog or cat can walk on it then go to lick their paws and become intoxicated. The first signs of intoxication can be that dogs appear drunk. If you know your dog or cat as ingested antifreeze or screen wash contact your vet without delay as the prognosis becomes less good the longer the delay.
Seasonal canine illness there is a lot of research going into this mystery illness but not a lot of answers as yet, it usually rears its ugly head between august and November, case have been reported around the uk this year. It can affect any dog of any size breed age or sex and does cause dogs to become very ill very quickly after being walked in woodland areas. The most common symptoms you will notice are sickness, diarrhoea and lethargy. If you think your dog is showing signs of SCI and you’ve been walking in woodland areas go immediately to your vets.
Conkers as much as we love to go and collect these with our children who have hours of fun with them, ingestion by dogs can cause gastro-ingestional signs such as retching, drooling, vomiting diarrhoea and stomach pain. The conkers case and the conker itself can also cause intestinal blockages. Dogs usually vomit any ingested conkers quickly so treatment to control vomiting may be needed.
Acorns contain tannic a cid which is thought to be poisonous to dogs and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys and can also cause an intestinal blockage. Signs to watch out for are vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and lethargy. Watch out for what your dog is picking up among the leaves and maybe distract them with a treat or a ball if they are prone to gathering.
Rat Poisons most contain an anti-coagulant compound that interferes with a rat’s ability to clot its own blood. Repeated exposure to products bought in shops or exposure to professional rodent baits can cause disruption to a dog’s blood clotting ability too. This can result in massive internal bleeding. The effects may be delayed for several days -blood clotting tests are often required to determine if the dog is at risk of developing problems. Treatment involves giving an antidote and in severe cases transfusions of plasma or whole blood.
Luminous necklaces and glow stick the chemicals inside these products is very irritating to gums if dogs ingest them and cause drooling frothing and foaming of the mouth, vomiting and abdominal pain although the symptoms can look bad thankfully ingestion is unlikely to cause any long-term problems.
Fallen leaves can develop bacteria and mould so can lead to gastrointestinal upsets if ingested by our dogs
Chocolate is around more at Halloween time and we must remember it contains a stimulant called theobromine that’s poisonous to dogs, the darker the chocolate the more theobromine it contains. Theobromine affects the heart, central nervous system and the kidneys. Symptoms usually start to appear within 4-24 hours of ingestion, increased heart rate and you may see vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, restlessness, rapid breathing, muscle tension and seizures. Keep chocolate well away from dogs.
Raisons and grapes, we don’t know what the toxic substance in these are, but it can cause kidney failure. dogs with health problems are at even more risk of a serious reaction so ingestion of these should be avoided.
Toadstools and Mushrooms some of these are highly toxic to dogs but its hard to tell which ones are and which are not so its best just to avoid your dog having any.
Fleas and Ticks increase over the autumn period especially peaking when we start to turn up our central heating make sure you use flea and tick prevention and check your dog and cats’ coats over regularly. If you see a tick, make sure you use the correct tick removal tool. Using a household flea spray in your home can help as well.
Exercise and nutrition with the dark night and the cold wet weather you may find that your dog is not getting as much exercise as he would normally. You need to keep an eye on his weight during this time as if he’s exercising less and still eating the same amount of food he could easily put weight on, if you see this happening you need to reduce his intake of food accordingly and monitor. You could always employ a dog walker like us at Paws 4 A Break if you really don’t want to go out in the cold or rain. If walks are getting less frequent there are other ways to exercise your dog’s mind and body:
Play scent games in the house
Feed some or all of your dog’s dinner in Kong’s or on licki mats
Make your own interactive puzzle toys
Teach your dogs some basic tricks
Play hide and seek in the house and garden
Play fetch or tug sensibly
Go to training classes
If you are walking your dog in the early morning or after work, invest in a reflective vest for yourself and a reflective collar for your dog. If you take your dog to a safe are where you can let him run off the lead you can buy flashing lights that you attach to a collar or harness so you can see where he is and also if he stops to have a poo. The flashing lights come in different colours so are great if you have multi dogs. But a good quality torch with a decent beam or even better a headlight so you can be hands free.
Keep your personal safety in mind when walking in the dark, only walk in areas where you feel safe and have some light such as streetlights. Always tell someone where you are going and how long you will be. Carry a mobile phone in your pocket in case of an emergency, but don’t be constantly on it. Keep vigilant. It’s always best whenever possible to walk with someone else or use a dog walking service, if it’s too dark for your own comfort, some will do early morning and Evening walks, I know we at Paws 4 A Break do. You could always set up a walker’s group too with other walkers you know.
Fireworks can be really frightening to your dog and cause lots of issues and with the firework season just becoming longer and longer dogs need help. If this is an issue you would like to resolve as its causing lots of distress for yourselves and your dog contact our in house dog trainer at http://www.pawspositivedogtraining.co.uk for help. She recommends training as soon as possible before the fireworks begin its also advisable to have a training session with puppies to try and prevent the fear occurring in the first place.
Enjoy your lovely Autumn walks but be safe!!