As September draws to a close, we have to accept that summer is finally coming to an end. The weather has been fairly favourable in the UK, but that will surely change soon as the cold and rain begin to creep in. So how will this affect your dog?
Each season of the year brings different risks for dogs and their owners. Autumn is no different, as the change in weather and the various festivals the next few months will see can be hazardous to dogs' health. You must make sure you keep your pet happy and healthy throughout this season.
Here are a few of the hazards you need to be mindful of this autumn, along with tips on how to get around them so you and your dog can enjoy the season.
As is typical, the weather at this time of year will be getting much colder and wetter. After a relatively warm and dry summer, this can come as a bit of a shock for your dog, and it means taking certain things into consideration.
Your dog will still need exercising, which means you are going to have to take them out even when the weather is miserable. However, you need to be careful; your dog gets cold and wet too, only they can't tell you if they're freezing!
With short-haired breeds and small dogs, the cold is the biggest concern. It might be worth investing in a coat for your pet when you take them out for walks. Long-haired dogs, on the other hand, can get very cold if their coats get too wet. Try not to take them out while it's raining, and be ready with towels and hairdryers when they get back.
The other thing you need to bear in mind when the weather is cold is that many dogs might need feeding a bit more to keep their energy up. It is worth making sure you have a very nutritious meal for them, such as James Wellbeloved dog food. This way they will be as fit and healthy as possible, therefore ready for the winter.
The other problem with walking a dog in the autumn is that the nights begin to get darker earlier. This can make exercising your pet a bit more dangerous, as motorists might be unable to spot you and your dog.
One solution - albeit an unflattering one - to this problem is to wear a high-visibility jacket or invest in something similar for your dog. This latter option is a good idea if your dog is likely to run off, as it will help drivers avoid them if they run off into the middle of the road.
Other than this, it is a good idea to plan your route out for optimum safety. Try to stick to roads with plenty of streetlights and wide pavements. If you live in a more rural area this might be more difficult, as you may find there are barely any pavements you can walk on. In this case, you must keep them on a tight lead so you can control them.
There are two main festivals in autumn in the UK: Halloween and bonfire night. Each of these has a number of risks that you will need to bear in mind if you want your dog to remain safe this year.
First up is Halloween. One of the main activities associated with this festival is 'trick or treating', which is often associated with pranks. Unfortunately, some people are incredibly foolish and there are sometimes reports of people using fireworks or other dangerous items. You might want to be better safe than sorry and keep your dog indoors for the night.
However, pranksters are not the biggest danger to your dog on Halloween; that title goes to chocolate. Cocoa and everything containing it can be toxic and even fatal to dogs, so on a festival where eating a lot of chocolate is the norm it is best to be careful.
Keep any dangerous foodstuffs out of reach of your dog. You should also be careful with sweet and chocolate wrappers, as if these are left out or fall on the floor your dog might try to eat them, which can be a choking hazard.
The second dangerous occasion this autumn is Bonfire night. This festival features two things - fireworks and bonfires - that can be both scary and harmful to your dog. Generally, it is a good idea to keep them indoors for the festival.
You might be tempted to go out to a large fireworks display with your family, but if you do then you should probably not bring your dog. They will be scared by the combination of a large crowd of people and the loud bangs of the fireworks. They might even manage to break free and run off if they are really frightened!
Keep them indoors and make sure they have access to a safe place they can go to if the noise still frightens them. It might be a good idea to use pillows and blankets to block up the window of one room in your house so that less noise and light can get through, making it more relaxing for your pet.
Written by: Hannah