Autumn can be a wonderful time of year, even when we're not out and about as much as we would usually be.
Chunky scarves, thick coats, crisp days and clear skies. Your garden turns into a rainbow of reds, yellows, browns and orange and your pets start to rediscovered the joy of playing around in fallen leaves and sniffing all of the leaf debris smells!
However it’s vital to keep in mind that, while autumn can be fun, it can also play host to a variety of problems for your pet.
Pet's wear fur, do they really feel the cold?
Yes! Yes they do. If pet's are spending any time outside, they MUST be provided with a warm, dry place to shelter out of the weather. A kennel for dogs must be a place where their bedding stays dry, they are protected from the wind and they feel comfortable and safe. An outdoor shelter for cats can look like something as simple as a cardboard box, a cat carrier, a cat house, bed, etc... so long as it is warm, dry and sheltered. Ideally, cats should be kept inside all the time and according to the local council laws they MUST be indoors from dusk until dawn. You can purchase heated pet beds which work very well. (Mumma Puss, our clinic cat has one and LOVES it.)
Please be wary when starting your car in the colder months as cats often like to climb into the vehicle engine for warmth. Check under your bonnet and the tyre rims thoroughly or give a knock on the bonnet before you start the engine to try and scare them out.
As the temperature drops, your pet will start feeling the cold. Particularly elderly pets or sick pets are not able to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as younger, healthy animals. You should consider buying dogs a jacket for walks and providing them with extra bedding particularly for cats and dogs with arthritis as the cold can aggravate joints.
As the days get shorter, darker and colder it is tempting to go for infrequent walks with your dog. This can lead to your dog putting on weight, which in turn can lead to arthritis or injury in over loaded joints, heart disease and diabetes to name a few. It may also cause behavioural problems such as hyperactivity and chewing which are both destructive ways to exert energy.
When walking your dog in the dark, consider investing in a reflective jacket for both you and your dog for extra safety, a light on your dogs harness may be necessary if they are walked off lead in a park or slip their lead.