7 Smart Tips for Autumn Safety
Crisp morning walks. Stunning leaf color. A fresh line up of new TV shows. Provocative nurse costumes. There’s plenty for you and your dog to love about autumn. And while your fall worries may be limited to pesky teenage pumpkin smashers, and your secret fear of zombies, there are some seasonal health risks for your dog. Fortunately they can easily be avoided, when you consider these tips for autumn safety.
Beware of Mushrooms
While about 99% of mushrooms are harmless, it’s really hard to tell them apart. You swore off mushrooms after your roommate brought some on that camping trip in college, and it’s best to keep your dog away from them too. He probably won’t strip naked and disappear in the woods for two days, but you never know. It’s best to avoid areas where wild mushrooms are growing; the 1% that are toxic can cause life threatening symptoms in your dog.
Avoid Engine Coolant
Maybe this fall she’ll finally let you put that supercharger on the family wagon. And if you decide to switch out the antifreeze while you’re under the hood, remember that any spills should be cleaned up immediately. Antifreeze has an enticingly sweet taste to dogs, but the ethylene glycol-based coolant is especially toxic to pets.
Practice the Fundamentals
Is it any surprise that after three months of hanging by the pool, your flag football team only had three receptions and a total of 37 yards in the season opener? While he waited out the summer with his face parked on an air vent, your dog may have gotten a little rusty on fundamentals like ‘down’ and ‘stay’. It can’t hurt to brush up on basic obedience training before diving into outdoor activities this fall.
Snakes on a Walk
Your 87 year old neighbor Dorothy isn’t the only one who might be a little grouchy this fall. Snakes preparing for hibernation can be especially resentful of a misplaced paw or snout, and bites can result. Copperhead bites are especially common in the southeast, and you should take care when walking your dog in wooded areas. Keep your lawn tidier and reign in those late night Halloween parties, and Dorothy might be a little nicer too.
Careful with Rat Bait
Poor rats. Their cousins with the furry tails operate unchallenged, in plain view, while dodging all manner of traps, baits and poisons is just a part of their daily grind. And when the autumn chill really starts to bite, basements, sheds, and crawlspaces might as well have a flickering neon sign that says ‘Vacancy’. Rat poison might be your weapon of choice, but remember that it can also be deadly for your dog. Make sure he can’t access areas where you’ve placed rodent bait, because, like antifreeze, he’ll think it’s a treat you set out to be lapped up.
Back to School
Finger painting. Magic Markers. Glue sticks. Wedgies. It’s back to school. And while a ripped pair of underwear can be replaced without too much trouble, you’ll definitely want to keep the school supplies away from your dog. The toxicity of a marker or two is relatively low, but ingested in large amounts, the ingredients in common school supplies can be dangerous. Not to mention the hassle of following him around with an empty crayon box just so your daughter can finish that art project.
Your dog already has a ferocious reputation with the mail carrier, UPS man, vacuum salesman, and that persistent pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Imagine how worked up she’ll be when ninety strangers in weird costumes ring the doorbell in one night. If possible, have a plan B to save all the stress this will put on her. Or maybe she can’t wait to wear her sleeping cap and nightgown to the party alongside you in your red hooded cape. Pet costumes can be a lot of fun, just make sure they fit properly and don’t have any parts that can get snagged and strangle, or get chewed off swallowed. Remember that dark chocolate is toxic for dogs. Keep the candy out of reach and scout the porch and front yard for any that was dropped by little goblins.