Fall Safety Tips for Your Dog
by: Bonnie Sweebe
Fall is a beautiful time of year to be outside enjoying your dog. However, hiding in the beauty may be dog-related hazards.
1) Beautiful fall color and cooler temperatures: The beauty of the fall season encourages dog owners to get out and exercise with their pets.
2) Cooler sidewalk and road temperatures: The drop in temperature takes the sizzle out of sidewalks, making dog walks kinder to tender paws.
3) Kids: Fall equals sports and sports equals kids. Kids playing outside or raking leaves with family really wags that tail.
4) Exercise: As dogs get out and exercise more, they begin to gain muscle and burn fat. Exercise stimulates both the mind and body of the dog and the dog owner.
5) Company: Many dogs look forward to the additional visitors that Halloween and Thanksgiving bring.
6) Back to School Snoozes: Daytime doggie naps increase as kids go back to school.
7) Thanksgiving: During the Thanksgiving holiday, many college students return home. From a dog’s perspective, that means more attention and playtime.
8) Did you know that pumpkin is good for dogs? Pumpkin is both nutritious and low in calories. In fact, pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) is a good source of fiber and is often recommended as a dietary addition for a dog suffering from constipation.
1) Tree debris choking hazards: If ingested, sharp edges of sticks, pine needs and pine cones could damage or puncture a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Acorns are toxic to dogs and could cause an intestinal blockage. Check for fallen fruit. Plum and peach pits contain cyanide and should not be ingested.
2) Tree and grass pollen: Does your dog sneeze? Cough? Have watery eyes? Is your dog chewing and licking its paws, turning them reddish-brown? Your dog could be suffering from seasonal allergies. Fall inhalant allergies are commonly caused by ragweed and mold. When ragweed pollen and mold spores are inhaled, the body labels these nasal invaders as foreigners and sends antibodies to destroy the unwanted pests. When antibodies attack, they release histamines into the bloodstream. That is what causes itchy eyes, drippy noses and sneezing. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from allergies, it’s time to visit your veterinarian for professional advice.
3) Halloween: Halloween candy can overproduce insulin in dogs. Then, if a dog’s sugar level decreases, it could be at risk for liver failure. Halloween candy can cause weight gain in dogs and dental problems. Chocolate in Halloween candy can be toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaline substance that dogs metabolize slowly. Both a diuretic and a stimulant, theobromine in a dog can produce a rapid heartbeat and drop in blood pressure, tremors, seizure or death. Also remember, that although some dogs welcome trick-or-treaters, costumed visitors can stress and frighten others. To a dog, trick-or-treaters are yelling strangers appearing to invade the dog’s home. If your dog is protective or territorial, it may be a good idea to confine your dog to a more peaceful part of the home.
4) Turkey hazards: Keep turkey bones and scraps away from your dog. When chewed, turkey bones can splinter creating a choking hazard. They can also puncture internal organs–a gastrointestinal nightmare. Meat scraps containing fat may also cause pancreatic distress in dogs.
5) School bus chasing: Some dogs will never learn. When children leave for or return from school, keep bus or car chasing dogs indoors. If outside with your dog, hold the dog leash firmly and put the dog in a sit stay. A good dog obedience class that teaches dogs how to sit, stay and deal with distractions can really improve this situation. Never trust a dog off-leash where there are moving vehicles.
6) Boredom: When the kids go back to school, family dynamics change and dogs can suffer from depression. Boredom can cause dogs to chew and dig. To avoid dog damage, take the dog on a morning, afternoon or evening walk. It is a great way to stimulate a dog’s mind and to burn off excess energy.
7) Fleas: Fleas begin breeding in the spring and are at peak numbers in the fall. To prevent fleas on your dog or in your house, flea protection is a must. Contact your veterinarian to prescribe the right flea protection for your dog.
8) Fire and smoke: For some dogs, the flame and smoke of a candle or fireplace irritate sensitive dog noses. Some dogs have a fear of fire and can panic. Make sure that you know how your dog reacts to candles and fire before you strike a match to light that holiday pumpkin. A panicked dog can hurt itself and others.
Safety tips for a safe fall season!
Bonnie Sweebe is a dog lover, dog owner, dog advocate, and rescue and service dog volunteer. She is also the owner of WelcomePup.com, an online dog gift delivery company.