As the nights are getting darker you need to protect yourself and your dog when you take them out for walks. Consider walking a different route that may be more lit or walk them a little earlier when it is lighter.
Both you and your dog should dress for the weather. Just because your pooch has a fur coat does not mean they don’t feel the cold, especially if they get wet. If you have a pet that needs regular clipping consider allowing them to get a little bit longer over the winter months, this may mean a little more brushing.
Remember to think about waterproof coats for when you are out walking – there are even some that cover all the way down their legs!
For you – carry a torch and consider a reflective jacket.
For your dog – there are lots of products available to make them more visible which include reflective coats, collars and leads (the disadvantage of these is that they are only visible when light is shining on them). To give a constant light there are also leads, collars and tags that have LED lighting meaning that your pet is constantly visible. If you are in a safe area and want to throw toys for your dog there are various glow in the dark or LED toys available.
Take your mobile phone with you so you can ring in case of emergencies.
Since 2016 it is by law necessary to have your dog microchipped and it is essential that you keep all your details up-to-date. During the dark nights it is possible that your dog may get spooked, and if off their lead could run away. A microchip with up-to-date details is essential in ensuring your dog will be returned to you if found!
Although it may be great to try and get that lovely Autumn photo of your pets in fallen leaves watch out for the hidden hazards. You never know what is hidden underneath i.e. broken glass, cans or sticks that they may cut their paws on. Also, the damp leaves can harbour bacteria and moulds which can be toxic causing gastrointestinal problems and in more serious cases, seizures.
There are lots of plants around at this time of year e.g. Chrysanthemums, Autumn Crocus, Clematis, Amaryllis, Hydrangea, Oleander and Ragwort. If eaten, these can cause a wide range of signs from drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea, rashes and incoordination. If you think your pet has had access to and eaten any parts of a plant (from bulb to leaves) that you think might be poisonous, please contact your vet.
Only a very small amount of antifreeze can be fatal. Many symptoms can develop within 30 minutes of ingestion, but it can take up to two days for kidney failure to develop. Please ensure that you take real care when using antifreeze and clean up any spillages – it has a very sweet taste so can be very tempting to pets.
Signs of poisoning include vomiting, seeming depressed/sleepy, appearing drunk/uncoordinated, seizures/fits and difficulty breathing. If you suspect your pet has had contact with antifreeze immediate treatment is essential. Even with aggressive and early treatment antifreeze toxicity unfortunately often proves fatal.
Research has shown that there are less flea products sold in the colder months, which is more than likely due to the thought that fleas are not around in the winter. Although it is true that fleas cannot survive outside in the freezing temperatures, they can still live on our pets and in our houses. Turning on the central heating will encourage adult fleas to emerge. Remember prevention is better than cure so don’t forget to continue using flea control even over the colder months!