New Season Brings New Challenges for Pet Owners

Snakes and toxic plants aren’t the only danger to dogs and cats.

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited that fall is finally here! The summer heat tends to put a kink in my plans with my dog Blue–especially lately, when the 100-degree temperatures dashed any hopes of an evening walk or ball playing.

While I am celebrating the end of the Dog Days of Summer, it’s important to note that the new season does bring some challenges for us pet parents. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we get deeper into autumn:

Watch out for snakes: It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security once the temperatures cool, but our reptile friends are still out and about. Snakes are preparing to hibernate this time of year, which means they are particularly bad-tempered. When hiking with your dog, keep him on a leash and stay on the trail. If you do see a snake, do not approach it and slowly back away. At home, be diligent about keeping your yard tidy. 

Be careful with rodenticides: It’s not uncommon to see an increase in rodents around your home when the weather turns colder. Rodenticides may keep them at bay, but they contain poison that is highly toxic and even fatal to our pets. Humane mousetraps are a safer option – you can find them at your local hardware store. If you must use a rodenticide, use it only in areas that your pets cannot reach or access.

No fungi: Have you ever noticed little mushrooms popping up in your yard? Fall is prime time for the fungi to appear, so you may be seeing them more and more. Most mushrooms are non-toxic, but some are dangerous to dogs and cats. Just be sure to keep your pets away from where they grow.

Fleas and ticks: Summer is the peak season for fleas and ticks, but you still need to be diligent about prevention. There are countless products on the market that promise to prevent and treat fleas on our pets, so consult with your veterinarian about which products are best for you and your pet. Bees, hornets and wasps are other critters that are prevalent in the fall. They are known to burrow under fallen leaves, so keep your yard clutter-free to prevent painful stings.

Toxic plants: If you move your plants indoors as it cools down, be aware that many plants are poisonous to our pets. Just a few include amaryllis, aloe, lilies, carnations, chrysanthemums, daffodils, daisies, philodendron, some palms and grasses, poinsettias, holly and some common herbs.

Use caution when changing your car’s coolant: According to the ASPCA, autumn is a common time of year to change your car’s engine coolant, but ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic to pets. Switching to a propylene glycol-based coolant is a good choice. Although these can still harm pets they are less toxic than other coolants. Either way, keep your pets away from your garage when changing the coolant, and clean up any spills immediately.


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