Autumn pet advice
Autumn in the UK brings both new experiences and challenges for pet owners. This season, while offering opportunities for different outdoor activities, also requires adjustments in how we care for our pets. Whether you own a dog, cat, or horse, here's essential autumn advice to ensure their safety and well-being.
1. Mind the Mushrooms
During autumn, you'll notice an array of mushrooms sprouting across gardens, forests, and even some urban areas. While they might seem intriguing and picturesque, some species can be toxic to pets. Dogs, with their innate curiosity, might be tempted to sniff or taste them. Keep a close watch during your walks and familiarise yourself with common toxic mushrooms in the UK. The Woodland Trust has a guide on the most poisonous mushrooms.
If you believe your dog has eaten a toxic mushroom, it’s really important to seek immediate advice from your vet.
2. Beware of Conkers and Acorns
Conkers (horse chestnuts) and acorns might be autumn's playful treasures for children, but they pose potential hazards for pets. If ingested, they can cause blockages and even poisoning in some cases. Ensure your garden is free of these and keep an eye on your dog during woodland strolls.
Blue Cross has more information regarding conkers and acorns, and recommend seeking immediate veterinary advice if you believe your dog has eaten a conker or acorn.
3. Changing Weather Patterns
Autumn brings fluctuating temperatures. Your horse's coat will naturally thicken in response to the cooler weather. Be mindful of this when considering rugs, and ensure they're not overheating. For dogs, if they have a thinner coat or are sensitive to the cold, consider getting them a light jacket for those chilly morning walks.
4. Flea and Tick Precautions
While we might associate fleas and ticks with summer, they remain active throughout the autumn months. Continue with your regular flea and tick preventive measures, and after outdoor adventures, check your pets (and yourself) for any unwelcome hitchhikers. We’ve written a blog about protecting your pets from ticks and fleas.
5. Twilight Walks and Visibility
As the days grow shorter, walks might coincide with twilight or darkness. Consider reflective gear for both you and your canine companion. ID tags, like those from Engraving Studios, not only ensure your pet's safety but are a legal requirement. Your need to ensure your tags are legible and the information is up to date. This is especially vital when exploring new terrains; ensuring a swift reunion should they wander off.
6. Cats and Cosy Spots
Our feline friends are experts at finding warm places during the colder months. Often, they might choose car engines or beneath vehicles. Always check these spots or give a gentle knock on your car bonnet before starting the engine.
7. Hydration and Horse Care
While horses might not sweat as visibly in cooler temperatures, they still need a significant amount of water. Ensure they have access to fresh water, and check it frequently to make sure it hasn't frozen over as winter approaches.
8. Leaf Piles and Play
While diving into piles of raked leaves can be fun for dogs, these piles can also conceal sharp objects or be a breeding ground for mould. If your dog enjoys this activity, ensure the leaf pile is fresh and free from hazards.
9. Adjusting Diets
Activity levels might change in autumn. Perhaps your horse's exercise regime shifts, or your dog's walks become shorter. If you feel that your pet is lowering their activity levels, it may be worthwhile speaking to your vet about adjusting their diets accordingly to prevent unwanted weight gain.
10. Embrace the Season
Autumn offers unique experiences. From rustling through the golden forest floors with your dog to enjoying serene horse rides amidst the misty moors, make sure to savour these moments. And for the quiet evenings, there's nothing like a purring cat curled up beside you.
In essence, while autumn in the UK carries its set of challenges for pet owners, it's also brimming with opportunities to create lasting memories with our companions. With vigilance and preparations, you and your pet can fully embrace the magic of the season.