As the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, there are certain things we should think about when it comes to our pets. The arrival of autumn means an increase in fireworks, and the colder, darker evenings may mean our pets needs to be kept a little warmer and safer. Here are our pieces of advice to help keep you and your pet safe this season.
Night Time Walkies
With the evenings becoming darker earlier, it may not always be possible to walk our dogs during daylight hours. If this is the case, it is important to make sure both you and your dog are visible. For dogs, there are several options to achieve this. First, you can purchase hi-vis dog coats with reflective fabric, these are similar to human hi-vis jackets. This will allow for your dog to be easily seen by torchlight or the headlights of cars.
Alternatively, you can attach a light to your dog’s collar or harness. These LED flashing lights come in different forms; including a collar with the lights embedded in it, or a clip-on light that can be attached to any D-ring. Some are more effective than others depending on your dog’s fur length and where you attach the light, so be sure to take this into consideration.
When walking at night during these autumn months, there is always a chance of fireworks being set off. Even if these fireworks are in the distance, the loud and sudden noises may startle your dog. In some cases, it may be safer to keep your dog on a lead during night time walks so as not to risk them running off out of fear.
Microchipping & Identification
As there is a greater risk of losing your dog at night, you should always make sure your dog has an I.D. tag with your correct contact details, and ensure that their microchip details are up to date. Please not that this is also required by law and not doing so can result in a fine.
Cats can also be spooked by fireworks and may find places to hide outside of their home. As of June 2024 all cats will have to be microchipped by law, but we highly recommend having your cat microchipped regardless as it greatly increases the chance of your pet being returned to you if they get lost.
The colder weather means the donning of scarves, gloves, and winter coats, but what does it mean for our pets? Most dogs and cats will naturally have thicker coats at this time of year and may not feel the cold as much as we do. However, if you have an elderly pet or a pet with a short coat, they may not be able to keep themselves as warm.
Jumpers and similar garments for dogs and cats have become a popular fashion accessory in recent years, but they can serve a practical purpose as well. Older pets may appreciate the extra layer of warmth to help ease their stiff joints, especially during the night and when waking up in the morning. Shorter haired breeds of dogs may even need an extra layer when out walking to prevent them from getting too cold.
If you are unsure whether your dog or cat would benefit from a jumper, feel the tips of their ears. If they are cold it is a good indication that your pet is not as warm as they could be. Extra blankets and position of beds near radiators can also help keep your pets comfortable over the autumn and winter months.
Antifreeze poisoning is something that is seen in both cats and dogs. Although all antifreeze is dangerous, the most commonly ingested is antifreeze containing the active ingredient ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol has a sweet smell and taste that attracts animals and is very tempting to our pets. It only takes a small amount to be ingested to cause severe damage, and antifreeze poisoning often results in death or permanent organ damage.
Even if you do not use antifreeze yourself, your pet can still be exposed to it simply by drinking from puddles of water where antifreeze has been introduced. The biggest dangers will be puddles in driveways or in car parks.
It is vital to be aware of the signs of antifreeze poisoning. These include:
Sudden changes in behaviour (e.g. becoming more lethargic, reluctance to walk)
Staggered or “drunken” walking
If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact your vet immediately. Fast and effective treatment can prevent long-lasting damage or death.
Another potential danger to your pets this autumn is conkers. More commonly seen as a risk to dogs, conkers contain a substance called aesculin that is toxic when eaten. As well as this, conkers can be a choking hazard as they are the perfect size to become stuck in your dog’s throat. As much as our dogs will love to sniff and explore, it is best to discourage them from picking up or playing with conkers.
Symptoms of conker poisoning include:
Decreased interest in food
Obvious pain and discomfort (especially around the abdomen)
We hope all our readers and customers (both two legged and four legged) stay safe this autumn. Remember to also have fun and enjoy the changing of the seasons!