Tips for adjusting to a new autumn routine
Imagine you are a dog or cat. One day a big yellow bus pulls up to the
driveway and suddenly there are no children to play with anymore. What’s up
This scenario is typical in many households this time of year. Because his
“pack” has been dispersed, you may notice your dog or cat following you
around begging for attention. Now is a good time for some extra affection
and a few additional belly rubs.
Here are some other ways to make autumn a happy, healthy time for you and
If you have school-age children, pay special attention to
pets in the morning so they don’t attempt to follow children or buses.
Realize that the nights are getting colder and make sure
your outdoor pet has a warm, dry shelter that is elevated off the ground,
insulated for warmth, and draft free. Add some soft, thick bedding for
Outdoor pets require extra calories to keep warm, so ask you
veterinarian whether you should increase the rations slightly. With winter
weather coming, now is prime time to get your pet into healthy body
condition before he faces the stresses of inclement weather, so make sure
you’re feeding a good quality diet.
A frost or freeze isn’t out of the question this time of
year. Should temperatures plummet, remember to check your pet’s water bowl
to make sure he has water and not a solid block of ice. A pet with no access
to fresh water will drink from gutters and puddles that may be contaminated
with antifreeze and other chemicals.
Speaking of antifreeze, it smells good and tastes sweet. It
doesn’t take much to destroy a pet’s kidneys. Don’t allow leaky antifreeze
to accumulate inside your garage or on your driveway.
At this time of year, most dogs and cats shed their summer
coats in preparation for putting on their winter fur. Tangled, matted hair
cannot provide insulation as nature intended. Daily or weekly brushing can
help keep fur tangle-free and healthy.
Many pets are not naturally equipped to live in cold
temperatures. If temperatures drop below 32ºF, bring your pet indoors into a
Halloween can be confusing for pets, with strangers coming
and going. For the benefit of pets and humans alike, consider keeping your
pet in a separate room during prime trick-or-treat hours.
Caution your children to keep Halloween treats out of
reach—chocolate and certain sweeteners (often found in gum) can be toxic to
If your pet doesn’t enjoy dressing up for Halloween, please
don’t force the issue. If your pet enjoys dressing up, make sure his costume
allows unobstructed vision, panting and freedom of movement (including for
bathroom breaks). For safety’s sake, apply reflective tape to his costume
and be sure to keep him on a short leash and away from other animals or
children he doesn’t know.
Cats and kittens love to nap in warm places, so a warm
vehicle engine can seem especially inviting on a chilly day. Make it a habit
to knock on the hood of your vehicle, honk the horn, or even look under the
hood before you turn the key.
If you notice your cat “straining” to go to the bathroom, it
may not be constipation. Instead it could be a sign of a life-threatening
urinary tract blockage common in male cats. Consult your veterinarian
Beware of holiday decorations. Electrical cords, tinsel and
glass ornaments can be enticing, but dangerous.
Keep your pet’s paws clear of salt and snow-removal
chemicals. Pets tend to lick their paws. To avoid poisoning or a skin
reaction, wipe the paws thoroughly, especially between the pads.
Just say no to turkey bones. They can splinter causing
internal injury. Avoid the temptation to feed table scraps during the
holidays and keep your pets on a familiar, consistent, good quality pet
With those hot summer days behind us, fall can be a great time to enjoy your
pet to the fullest. Be safe and have fun.