October 1, 2014

Autumn Safety Tips For Your Floofins

Author: Kristin Skelton


Tips For A Safe Autumn With Your Pets

With the heat wave we experienced this past week, it is probably hard to think about what is coming down the pipe, the cool crisp weather of fall. As someone who IS a fan of living in an area with four distinct seasons, there is nothing like the yellows and golds of the falling leaves, back to school, and fall dog fashions.

But, pet parents beware! Autumn also brings a host of pet hazards from poisons to cold weather. Here are seven autumn safety tips to keep your furry friends happy and healthy this fall.

  1. Fall brings cold weather AND mice and rodents into the house. Rodenticides are used more heavily during the fall and winter months and are highly toxic to dogs and cats. If you must use these items, keep them out of reach.
  2. Back to school means all kinds of fun new school supplies, like pencils, markers and glue sticks. While most of these items have low toxicity, they can still cause damage and/or blockages if chewed and ingested. Keep school supplies in the desk and in the backpack.
  3. Fall and spring are big mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms are non-toxic, it is impossible to decipher for sure while out on a walk. Stay away from mushrooms and if you think one was digested, contact a pet poison helpline. 1% of mushrooms are highly toxic and can cause life threatening problems.
  4. Be cautious during fall home touch ups. Substances like fresh tar or driveway sealer, caulking, and paint may get stuck to an animal’s fur or skin or even be absorbed through the skin into the body. Most animals will lick or chew the affected area to try and remove the substance. This presents a risk if the material is toxic or irritating. Beware of pets that like to chew on things, especially on containers of expanding foam. After swallowing, the material expands in the pet’s stomach, causing a life-threatening obstruction requiring immediate surgery.
  5. Fall is a popular time to change a car’s engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so clean up spills immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants. Though not completely non-toxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.
  6. Sometimes it is just too hot to exercise outside. Just like you, pets will need a little bit of recovery time before they jump back into exercising for longer periods in the cooler weather. If your dog took a break from an active schedule due to the Chicago heat, be sure to ease back into fall activities.
  7. Snakes tend to be a bit grumpy when they are prepping for hibernation, thus increasing the possibility of bites. While Illinois is not notorious for many venomous snakes, be aware and stay clear. If you are curious, there are four native, the Copperhead, the Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth, the Timber Rattlesnake, and the Massasauga or Swamp Rattler. All are uncommon and are seldom seen.

As the temperature drops, don’t forget to enjoy the little things, like puppies in leaf piles. Happy fall to all of our Floofins.

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