For many people, our pets are members of our families. We treat them with love and make sure they are fed and healthy. We also keep them safe during the various seasons. When it comes to protecting our pets, each season is different and can have associated risks.
Canned Pumpkin – For humans, fall is the season for everything pumpkin, so why not let your furry friend join in? Pumpkin can actually help a pet’s digestive system. Its antioxidants and fatty acids help their skin, fur, and urinary health.
Get Active – Fall temperatures are perfect for getting your pet outside. Take advantage of the cool weather after a hot summer and before cold weather comes. Pets will welcome the extra exercise and time spent outdoors. Go on walks or take them to the local dog park and work on their training, or just let them run with a Frisbee in their mouth.
Be Safe during the Holidays – Halloween is known for candy, but candy, especially chocolate, is a huge no-no for pets. On Thanksgiving, watch out for your pet and make sure it doesn’t get into food it shouldn’t eat. Lastly, costumes and decorations can pose risks for pets. If you are taking your pet out trick-or-treating, be sure it is wearing reflective clothing and keep it close. For decorations, keep electronic cords out of reach, as well as other cords, ropes, and lights. This will help prevent your pet from chewing on the cords or getting tangled up in them.
Keep them sheltered – Dogs and cats should be kept inside during freezing temperatures, even if cats normally roam outdoors. Frequently take your pets outside for walks and exercise, but don’t let them stay out too long.
Bundle up – A pet’s skin on its nose, ears, and paw pads are all subject to frostbite and hypothermia. Also, wind chill can make a big impact on your pet’s life. If your pet is short-haired, trying letting it wear a sweater while outside. Also, rock salt and other chemicals used for snow can irritate an animal’s paw pads. Be sure to wipe all paws with a damp towel before heading inside. This helps prevent your pets from licking its paws and getting salt in its mouth.
Watch out for common poisons – As discussed above, rock salt puts animals at risk for salt poisoning. Keep your de-icing salt in a safe place away from your pets and if they ingest it, call a veterinarian immediately. Another common poison is antifreeze. Its sweet taste often attracts pets. Keep this item out of reach and clean up any spills immediately.
Protect their skin – Just like human skin, pets’ skin exposed to the sun is at risk for skin cancer. Their skin is protected by their fur; however, not all of their body is covered. It is recommended to apply pet sunscreen every three to four hours on their bellies, ears, and around a cat’s eyes. Check with your vet to purchase a sunscreen specifically for pets. Another way to help protect their skin is by keeping their fur long. Often during the hot months, it is common to cut a pet’s fur short, but actually, longer fur helps with an animal’s circulation and body temperature. In the case your pet does get burned, it is all right to apply a thin layer of aloe vera twice a day on the area.
Be on the watch for heat exhaustion – Heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, diarrhea, vomiting, and wobbly legs are all signs of a pet in heat exhaustion. Move your pet to cool place and place a damp towel over it. Don’t put it in cold water, because this will send it into shock. Take it immediately to the vet, rewetting the towel frequently on the way.
Don’t stay outside too long – Avoid taking walks between 1 pm and 4 pm, when the temperature and humidity are at their highest. Try walking it in the early morning and evening. Also, we all know the rule: never leave your pet inside a hot car, even with the windows cracked. Research shows that the temperature inside a car can rise by 19 degrees within seven minutes.
Keep flowers out of reach – Lilies, daffodils, and tulips are all highly toxic and potentially fatal to a pet. Be sure to keep them out of reach and don’t let your animal walk through them. Also, if you are preparing your garden or yard, use pet-friendly fertilizers and pesticides.
Make sure vaccinations are updated – Warm weather is right around the corner and is the time when bug counts are at their highest. Protect your pet by keeping up-to-date with its heartworm, flea, and tick prevention. Talk with your veterinarian to discuss various options. Also, discuss whether or not its vaccinations are current.
Allergies – Pets can be allergic to food, dust, and pollen. If your pet is itching, sniffling, and sneezing, it may be having an allergic reaction. Speak with your vet about the options to ease your pet’s allergies. Also, watch out for insect bites and stings, because they can cause anaphylactic shock.
No matter what season it is, everyone wants their pet to be happy and healthy. By following a few simple guidelines, your pet can be safe all year long.