As scorching temperatures fade and pest season passes, pet owners may breathe a sigh of relief. Although the seasonal risks of summer are gone, your four-legged friend may need some special attention this autumn, as well.
Cold-weather pests. Though the dangers associated with ticks, mosquitos and other creepy, crawly critters lessen as the temperatures drop, those same colder days bring other creatures scurrying inside and that can present a whole new set of problems. Rats and mice tend to migrate indoors in search of warmth and the poisons used to eliminate them can be highly toxic to pets. Be sure pesticides are used in areas inaccessible to your animals.
Stay alert. Ticks may be less prevalent in the fall, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone completely – especially if hospitable environments remain. Keep yard and garden debris to a minimum and continue administering repellents for any pets that spend time outdoors.
On the move. Seasonal changes mean wildlife is on the move, making changes to settle into winter. Snakes are often more mobile during autumn months and inexperienced pets may risk bites if they tangle with intruders.
Shiny, new things. Kids aren’t the only ones attracted to a collection of new school supplies. Curious pets may dive into a pile of crayons, markers, rulers and other supplies, and although the items likely aren’t toxic, they can result in digestive blockages or damage from sharp, broken edges.
Anticipate energy needs. Colder temperatures can mean your pet has to exert more energy to keep warm and that may warrant bumping up meal serving sizes. Consult with your veterinarian about the appropriate feeding amounts for your pet’s specific breed, health and lifestyle needs.
Auto-related issues. Many car owners use the change of season as a milestone for car maintenance and winterizing, such as changing oil or antifreeze. Antifreeze in particular is highly toxic; a small quantity can kill pets and, unfortunately, the sweet smell makes it quite attractive to curious creatures. Clean spills thoroughly and take added precaution by keeping pets away from your work area entirely while handling these substances.
Not so fun-gus. Damp conditions can bring about a surge of mushrooms. Although only a small percentage of mushrooms are toxic, they can be hard to distinguish from the non-toxic variety. A good rule of thumb: keep pets clear of areas where mushrooms may be found, or if that’s not possible, conduct regular checks and remove any temptation that pops up.
Comfort foods. Most pet owners know chocolate is dangerous for pets, but many other foods that are common in the fall can also be problematic. Keep pets away from rich, savory foods that can upset their digestion and leave Fido at home during your annual jaunt to the apple orchard; apple stems, seeds and cores can create plenty of digestive havoc. If you want to indulge your pet with a little seasonal flavor, instead try offering fresh or canned pumpkin.
Source: Family Features. Find more pet parenting tips for fall and all year long at eLivingToday.com.
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