The Dog Owners’ Guide to Autumn
“Delicious autumn!” wrote George Eliot in 1841, “My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly around the earth seeking the successive autumns.” Autumn can certainly be a beautiful and magical time of the year. But when you’re looking at it from the perspective of a dog, rather than a bird, there are certain practical considerations that you have to think about.
That’s why, in this dog owners’ guide to autumn, we share with you our top five tips for making the most of the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” with your furry friend.
Watch out for oak leaves, acorns and more!
One of autumn’s finest pleasures is walking on paths piled with multi-coloured leaves. But make sure to keep your eyes peeled for any oak leaves or acorns that are strewn across your path. They’re both toxic, and if your dog drinks from an autumnal puddle that they’ve been in, there’s every chance that they’ll end up with an upset stomach. So make sure to be vigilant when you’re enjoying walking your dog on a crisp autumn day.
Other foods to watch out for in the harvest season include berries and, especially, mushrooms. Keep an eye on what your dog’s chewing on walks. And if you’re concerned about anything, take a photo of it and pay a trip to the vet.
I’m sure we don’t need to remind you about some of the dangers that might be lurking under those beautiful piles of fallen leaves. Your dog might be as tempted as a child to run through the leaves, but just be weary that there could be dog poo, broken glass, or even a hedgehog hidden beneath them.
Take care in the dark
As the clocks go back and the nights draw in, many dog owners find themselves walking at dusk or in the dark. Of course, the risk of accidents is higher at that time, so we’d recommend investing in some reflective items, for you and your canine companion. A light on the collar could make all the difference in terms of keeping your dog safe, and easy to find, when the dark descends early.
Beware of the fleas (and the allergies)!
Autumn might be associated with the slowing down of the natural world’s cycles of growth. But for the fleas, it’s boom time. It’s not only romantic poets who love this time of year. It’s also the season in which fleas thrive the most, and the warmth of a centrally-heated house can often tempt them inside.
Also watch out for the harvest mite, which can burrow into your dog’s paws. That’s why autumn is the time to be extra careful about keeping up with your pet’s flea treatments, which will work on harvest mites too.
However, if you do spot your dog itching more than usual, don’t necessarily assume the autumnal fleas or harvest mites are to blame. This is also a season when allergies are more common. Soothing baths can help, or head to the vet if you need to try and get to the source of their discomfort.
Keep away the chills
In autumn, it’s not just the leaves that are falling, the mercury plummets too as our part of the planet tilts away from the sun. Of course, dogs are well protected by their fur, but some might still appreciate the extra warmth offered by a coat, especially those with shorter hair. A coat that will keep out the rain is also a good idea when faced with those bracing autumnal downpours.
Also, if autumn brings with it the first frosty days of the year, make sure to keep your dog away from anywhere you are spraying antifreeze and wash their feet if they’ve walked on the grit on the roads, as both substances can be very harmful to them.
Finally, just because it’s colder outside, it’s still best not to leave a dog inside a car; it can still get surprisingly, and dangerously, hot in there, even on an autumnal day.
Enjoy the advantages of autumn
With all those warnings, it’s easy to forget how much fun autumn can be. With schools back after the summer, and the chill drawing in, lots of your favourite parks and walking routes are likely to be quieter.
The same goes for beaches, if you’re lucky enough to live near one, you will, of course, find it much quieter in the autumn. Plus, some beaches “no dogs” rules are relaxed in autumn, so you and your best friend can enjoy running on the sand and playing on the edge of the waves till your hearts are content.
Stay safe and from all of us at Project Blu we hope that you enjoy the best of what autumn has to offer with your dog!