FALL GUIDE TO A HAPPY PET
Merritt Milam | August 31, 2020
Fall is around the corner, bringing cooler weather, pumpkin lattes, and football fever. For pet owners, fall is a season when pet care and safety are important issues based on back to school routines, holiday gatherings and festivities. To help your pets stay safe and happy this fall, here are a few key tips.
Back to School
Most schools have started back with in-person classes, at least for a few days a week. Parents are also making their way back to work and “away-from-home” activities. These changes can bring anxiety and stress to pets whose routine has mainly involved staying at home with family. This can especially be difficult if your pet was a new puppy during the pandemic and has gotten accustomed to the run of the house. Going back to a small run, outside pen, or crate may produce confusion.
To help your pet adapt to their pre-COVID19 routine, consider these changes.
– Take short excursions away from home on a regular basis. Provide a treat to condition your pet with a reward as you leave the house. A pet approved play toy can also provide comfort and help them pass the time if they get anxious. Slowly increase the time away to help them increase endurance for changes in routine.
– Provide a safe place for them to stay. If your pet is new to a crate or they are going back to a crate, slowly increase your time away. If they are confined to a run or small room, make sure they have fresh water, bedding, and a safe pet toy. Put away personal items that might be viewed as a chew toy. Also, consider keeping a TV or radio on low volume – this can provide your pet a comforting, human voice while you’re away.
– Be on the lookout for signs of stress. Barking or whining excessively, urinating/defecating inappropriately – are all indicators of stress. Additional action on your part may be warranted to decrease anxiety levels and facilitate an adjustment.
– Consider boarding your pet. If your pet is not a happy pup alone at home while the kids are at school or you are away at work, Camp Wags daycare is the perfect place for them to work off their energy and reduce the stress of a lonely, empty home. Day-boarding and daycare are great ways to provide your pet exercise and a place where they can be with other furry friends.
Speak to your veterinarian. Some pets may need behavioral or medical intervention to help with the difficulties of separation anxiety and stress.
Football & Holidays
Believe it or not, football is coming back and holiday gatherings won’t be far behind. These events bring out great fun and food – but Fido may be at risk for having “too good” of a time. Here are a few tips to make sure our pets can enjoy the festivities without a problem.
Don’t let food ruin a good game or holiday. Many of our favorite fall food recipes are dangerous to pets. Turkey skins and other fatty foods are difficult for dogs to digest and can cause pancreatitis. Onions, garlic, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and chocolate are all off limits! If your dog is going to be around the dinner table in anticipation of a Thanksgiving feast or even close to a bowl of Halloween candy or football game snacks – Be Pet Aware! Provide them pet-approved snacks and make sure your guests know that feeding from the table is not allowed.
Allergens that typically affect our pets are considered a spring issue. But aside from the colorful leaves of autumn, weeds that pollinate in the fall, especially ragweed, can mean problematic allergies for your pet. Other fall weeds that can cause problems for your pet include sagebrush, Russian thistle (tumbleweeds), plantain, cocklebur and lamb’s-quarters.
Pets that experience these fall allergens will exhibit symptoms of sneezing, skin itching and irritation, ear infections/redness, swollen/red paws, and watery/itchy eyes. If your pet has any of these allergic signs, see your vet for an exam and medication to relieve their symptoms.
Fall Pet Pests
Despite what you think, that cool fall breeze you’ll be feeling soon does not mean the end of your furry friend’s pesky pests. Fleas and ticks are a year-round problem. Make sure you keep your pet protected with a safe preventative medication.
Keeping your yard cut and fallen leaves removed regularly will help reduce your pet’s chance of attracting unwelcomed fleas and ticks. Also, make sure their bedding is washed regularly.
WARNING: Snakes may be heading into hibernation, but fall can be an active time as they look for that last bite before a long winters nap. Snakes also love a nice pile of fall leaves, so beware.
The onset of fall, and eventually winter, doesn’t mean we abandon our pet’s need for walks in the park or a game of fetch. Pets need some routines like playtime and socializing with friends to continue as the seasons change. These activities keep your pet mentally engaged and physically active.
We hope this fall is a safe and healthy time for you and your pet. Enjoy your football, holidays, and most of all…your best furry friend.
P.S. Remember, we are still required to wear face coverings until October 2, so let’s all do our part to help keep one another healthy.