Keep your pet safe and healthy this autumn
1 October 2023
As the seasons change, so do the hazards that are around for our pets. It’s important to keep our pets safe and healthy, so here are our top tips for this autumn!
As bonfire night approaches, a fear of fireworks is very common in pets. There are a few things you can do to prevent your pets, particularly dogs, from being fearful. These include walking them early in the evening and on a lead before it gets dark, as this minimises the risk of fireworks going off and spooking them. Keep them inside as much as possible and close the curtains to block out the lights outside. You can also keep the TV or radio on, as background noise can help to drown out the bangs. These measures will also help keep cats safe, as well as providing them a safe hiding space, such as a box lined with blankets.
Dogs can show that they are anxious or stressed in many ways, including drooling, shaking, panting excessively, yawning, or putting their tail between their legs1. Your vet may be able to provide some calming products, as well as advice if needed. If you have rabbits or guinea pigs housed outdoors, it’s best to bring their hutch indoors into a quiet room, shed or garage, and close the curtains. If this is not possible, cover their enclosure with a thick blanket or duvet and provide extra bedding to burrow in.
Many dogs find Halloween a scary time, with the doorbell ringing, unexpected visitors and people wearing costumes. If you’re expecting trick or treaters or other visitors at home, keep your dog in a secure room away from the door to make sure they can’t escape. Put the TV, radio, or music on to muffle noise. Keep your dog away from chocolate (which is toxic to dogs) and other sweets.
You’ll find a lot of things can be on the ground that you might not be expecting your dog to find. Conkers and acorns contain a toxin that can make a dog sick or upset their stomach. How dogs are affected by conkers and acorns will depend on their size, how many they’ve eaten and when they last ate.
A small number of wild mushrooms are poisonous to dogs, and it’s very difficult to tell which mushrooms are safe and which are not, so it’s safest not to let your dog eat any wild mushrooms. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a wild mushroom, conker, or acorn, don’t hesitate and contact your vet immediately.
Wet autumnal weather provides perfect conditions for slugs and snails, which can carry a parasite called lungworm. Dogs can become infected after eating slugs or snails and through contact with slime left on food/water bowls and toys left outside. Bring dog’s bowls and toys inside overnight and be vigilant when walking your dog in places with slugs or snails.
Whilst the cause of Alabama rot is unknown, it is believed to be caused by muddy conditions. It’s a rare but potentially fatal disease that can affect dogs, causing problems with blood vessels in the skin and kidneys. It often first appears as sores, ulcers, or unexplained marks, usually on their paws or legs2. There is no guaranteed way of preventing your dog from getting Alabama rot, but it’s recommended that you avoid walking your dog in very muddy areas and wash mud off your dog after a walk if they get muddy and wet.
As the summer nights draw to a close, make sure that you and your dog are visible. You can buy reflective dog coats and leads, as well as lights that can easily clip onto collars and harnesses. Check that your dog’s microchip is up to date, and that they’re wearing an ID tag, just in case they get lost2.
If you have any concerns about any of the above, always speak to your vet for advice.