From beautiful red, yellow and orange leaves to Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations in stores, the signs of autumn are in bloom. Fall brings fabulous weather, great holidays and relief from the summer heat. However, the fall season also brings health concerns for elder pups. From seasonal allergies to Halloween candy, there are a few things to watch out for this season to ensure the safety of your furry friend.
Seasonal allergies kick in for dogs in the fall, most commonly in the form of skin allergies, but also seen in allergic rhinitis – evidenced by sneezing, loud snorting and clear discharge from your dog’s nose. If you notice your elder pup experiencing some sort of allergy issue, a trip to the vet can bring your pup relief in the form of prescribed antihistamines or other therapies that can make your dog more comfortable.
While we love the crisp fall breezes, our dogs should only be exposed to so much of the cold weather. Think about putting your pup in a rain-proof coat or sweater during walks. If you use a space heater or similar device in your home, ensure your pet does not have access to chew on the cord and that they cannot be burned by the heater.
Holiday Eats, Treats and Decorations
Halloween candy – especially chocolate – contains ingredients like theobromine that are toxic to dogs. Keep the bags and bowls of candy out of reach of your pup. In addition to chocolate, watch out for grapes and raisins, which are also toxic to dogs.
In addition, too many table scraps from Thanksgiving, especially rich, high-fat foods, can cause stomach problems like diarrhea, gastroenteritis or pancreatitis. Instruct your family members to forgo the table scraps as your pup gets older. Also be on the lookout for small food items like turkey bones that could be a choking hazard. Ask your vet about which foods are safe for your pet and which are not.
Beyond the holiday food, be aware of holiday decorations. Leaving irregularly shaped objects and trinkets around the house presents a hazard to your dog, who may want a taste of your new plastic pumpkins or other decorative trinkets. Place decorations where your dog can’t reach them for maximum safety.
Poisons and Fungus
As the weather gets colder, mice and rodents start to scurry into your home for warmth. As you consider using mouse traps and rodenticides like mouse and rat poison, remember that many of the poisons on the market are also harmful to your elder pup. Additionally, as the wet fall weather adds more mushrooms to your backyard and forested areas, watch what your dog gets into. A small percentage of these fungi can be highly toxic for your pet!