Whether celebrating more moderate weather, or mourning the loss of summer, the post-summer re-entry into the hustle bustle of the cooler months can be a challenge. Even if you’re not a student or don’t have kids of your own, the back to school season seems to kick everything into high gear. Some things may get overlooked as you settle into a new schedule, so here’s what to keep in mind to be sure pet care doesn’t fall to the wayside.
SLOW DOWN & REMEMBER YOUR PET
Keep to a regular exercise regimen: Lack of exercise leads to unwanted behavior. Pent up energy can be expressed through unwanted chewing, and unwanted chewing can lead to medical care that’s painful (for them) and expensive (for you).
Offer them the same level of affection they’re used to: A neglected pet won’t hesitate to protest, usually in ways that will not please you.
Remember to keep an eye on behavior and well being: Dogs and cats are hard wired to keep feelings of illness to themselves to whatever degree possible. A dog’s instincts tell them that to remain in the pack, they have to be valuable and strong. A cat’s instincts tell them they must seem strong to any potential rivals or predators. For this reason, it can sometimes be hard to tell when they’re not feeling up to snuff. If we’re distracted by a hundred other things, we can easily overlook ailments that are treatable in the short term, but if left unattended, can turn into larger issues.
Keep on the lookout for signs your cat is sick, or signs your dog isn’t feeling well.
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR CHANGING ENVIRONMENT
With cooler temperatures, fall is a time when space heaters are lugged up from basements and wood piles are replenished. Keep in mind these few tips while going through your autumn chores.
Fireplace screens: To keep your pet safe from flying sparks, use a fireplace screen, and don’t leave fires unattended.
Space heater safety: Most space heater manuals recommend we keep a three foot radius. Pets are smart. They’ll likely figure this out on their own. If you know your pet to have questionable boundaries, though, consider setting up a barrier of some sort.
Drive carefully: Wet leaves are the bane of many autumn hikers, and drivers aren’t too fond of them either. As a driver, take care on these slippery surfaces, and look out for animals. As a pet owner, if your pets are permitted to roam, consider keeping them home when the weather is wet and leaves are still coating the roads.
WATCH WHAT YOUR PETS EAT
Autumn is mushroom season: If your pet is lucky enough to roam off leash in wide open spaces, even if that wide open space is just in your backyard, beware of mushrooms. Most are harmless, but there are those few that can be highly toxic, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Glue sticks and pencils make for a delicious snack: School supplies are back in action, and if your home is like many households in the fall, certain spaces may fall into disarray. Whether a bedroom floor or a den coffee table, small bite sized school supplies can attract unwanted attention from your curious four legged family member. Set boundaries. Put swallowable or tantalizing items out of reach.
LOOK OUT FOR VERMIN AND THEIR REPELLANTS
Rodenticides are in higher demand: When the weather cools off, rodents look to move inside. For this reason, there’s more pest bait and pest poison about. Make sure rodenticides are inaccessible to your pet.
Snakes are cranky: In the fall, snakes prepare to hibernate. They can be a bit temperamental during these months. If you know your area is prone to snakes, keep your pets away from wherever they may be lurking.
Fleas and ticks are still out and biting, as are mosquitoes: Don’t suspend use of your monthly flea and tick treatments, or your heartworm prevention medications, just because the weather is cooler. Your pet may still become infested, and those infestations can still cause all the same challenging conditions like Lyme disease or heartworm.
More on Pet Safety Tips
5 Tips for Dog Safety Around the Home
Pet Safety and Household Cleaning Products
Pet Safety for the Holidays Infographic
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.