We’re happy to say hello to fall. Where you can wrap up in knit layers, and put on winter boots. And take your dogs for Sunday walks through green fields, and pulsing leafy trails. And crisp misty mornings. But, with fewer hours in the day and the reality that you work 9-5. You will be walking your dog in the dark before or after work. We’re here to give you the best tips for walking your dog in the autumn months to keep you and your dog safe.
Get out with your dog this season:
The changing colors and cooler fall temperatures make it a great time to take long walks with the dog. Not only will it be much more comfortable than the summer heat. But there are plenty of new sights and smells for them to explore.
Read our tips to ensure you and your dog stay safe this autumn.
Switch up your routine:
As we head into winter, the days are getting shorter. It’s a good idea to change your normal walk so you don’t head into the dark. Start your morning walks later. And your evening walks earlier to avoid being outside before or after daylight.
It will also help your pet adjust to the changing schedule when the clocks return. So you may want to change your regular feeding times.
If you need to go for a walk later, ensure you and your dog are as visible as possible to avoid accidents. When crossing the road, you’ll be easy spotted wearing bright-colored clothing. And putting a hi-vis coat on your dog. You may want to invest in a light-up collar for your dog. These equipped with flashing lights so your dog can’t miss them.
Although it may be tempting, never let your dog off-leash in the dark. In low visibility, It can be difficult to spot and disoriented.
Watch out for lungworm:
Lungworm is a parasite that can be fatal in pets. It is often picked up from infected slugs and snails on wet autumn walks. So keep your dog close, and don’t let them rummage out of sight. The only effective way to protect dogs. One of the dangers of lungworms is regular deworming. So make sure their parasite control is always full up to date.
Be aware of autumnal toxins:
Unfortunately, several fall staples pose a risk to pets. So watching them on walks is important.
Not only can chestnuts block your dog’s airways. But they also contain a chemical called aesculin. Which can cause internal damage if ingested.
Acorns are also toxic to dogs due to tannic acid, which can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. In severe cases, acorns can even cause internal damage and kidney disease.
Avid gardeners often use slug pellets to control slimy pests. But these pellets are poisonous to dogs. They contain metaldehyde. Which can cause tremors and convulsions and are usually fatal without immediate treatment.
You should also keep a safe distance from piles of damp leaves. They are the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria that can make your dog serious ill.
If you think your dog has ingested any of these fall toxins, or if he is showing signs of illness. Contact your veterinarian immediately.
If you’re concerned about what might be toxic to your dog, check out our Guide to poisons.
Clean up afterward:
If you spend a few minutes cleaning your dog after a walk. You can prevent health problems from developing.
Alabama rot (CRGV) thought to pick up on wet, muddy walks. This condition causes skin ulcers and leads to kidney failure. So cleaning up your dog after a wet or muddy walk is important.
Ticks remain active throughout the fall, so if you give your pet a quick break after a walk in grassy, wooded areas. You can spot any signs and remove them as soon as possible. Tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease can prevented. If the tick removed within 24 hours.
Watch for snakes:
Here, we are constant looking to avoid our four venomous snakes. Rattlesnakes (above, outside our yard), coral snakes, water moccasins, and copperheads.
You might get lucky and get a warning from the rattlesnake. It sounds like when a commercial lawn sprinkler starts up. But again, you may not get any warning from a rattlesnake—and you won’t get any warning from other snakes.
Keep your dog close to you on walks to see where you’re both going. I use a 4-foot leash, but I know many prefer long leashes, but keep them no more than six feet. So you can see where you are both stepping.
Some trails make it near impossible to keep your dog at heel. So a shorter leash makes it easier to see danger ahead and react.
Many snakes lie beside trails rather than in the middle, waiting for mice and small prey to approach them.
Keep an eye out for rodent poison:
When the weather turns cold, some households plagued by mice and rats. They may leave out rodent poison. We also often saw rodent poison traps (usually black boxes) outside hotels. And other commercial areas.
Keep your dog away from all rodent poison as well as poisoned rodents. Both are extreme dangerous for your dog.
Contact your veterinarian immediately. If you suspect your dog has ingested a poison or a poisoned rodent.
Watch for tarantulas:
Many of you may not be afraid of these hairy spiders. But they are a common autumn sight, like this beauty we see along our walking path.
Although they would rather run than fight, they can give your dog a nasty bite.
Keep your dog away from them, be aware that they can jump, and call your vet if your dog bitten.
Watch for mistletoe:
You might associate mistletoe with the holiday season. But in the fall months, you’ll find it with berries.
Different areas have different types of mistletoe (both American and European varieties). And the danger to your dog varies depending on the type it eats and the amount.
Know your local hunting season:
Problems can range from an upset stomach to liver failure and seizures. Play it safe and keep a close eye on your dog on walks under mistletoe berry trees.
If you venture into the woods, know your local hunting seasons, which may vary from county to county. Make sure you and your dog stay safe during hunting season.
Early morning and evening hours are usually the most disturbing. So plan your walks according.
Watch for mushrooms:
We keep the mushrooms out of the yard, but your dog may come across mushrooms when you go exploring.
Try to keep your dog away from mushrooms and assume. They are all toxic; if you see your dog eat one, take pictures of all the surrounding mushrooms and call your vet.
Keep an out for antifreeze:
Fall means it’s time for many people to replace the antifreeze. In their cars in preparation for the cold weather around the corner.
Antifreeze is deadly to dogs. So make sure you never let your dog drink from puddles in driveways, and parking lots. And other places that might contain antifreeze.
Stay tuned! With evening closing in our pups, we still need the same amount of exercise. So, unfortunately, that means more walks in the dark. It’s always worth wearing some reflective gear. (especially if you’re not walking on footpaths). And don’t forget Fido – invest in light on his collar. Which will pay off if you’re walking in the park and still let them go off Guide.
Stay warm! Not only will you find that the change in temperatures calls for an extra layer. But your pup, especially short-haired breeds like Whippets and Greyhounds. May also want to consider investing in a nice coat for the winter will also help keep them dry on those rainy walks.
Another danger – now that the temperature is dropping. You may woken up by the occasional frozen car window. Antifreeze is dangerous for your dog; it can cause acute kidney failure or even death. For some reason, many pets (especially cats) don’t like the taste of antifreeze. So make sure you store it out of reach and keep your pets inside when you’re defrosting your car. Road sand can also be very harmful to your dog. So be careful when walking on gravel paths and wipe his feet when you return from a walk.
That is our top tips for approaching autumn. I have one final piece of advice for this time of year… Don’t forget to enjoy the colder. Darker evenings by snuggling up and enjoying lots of lovely cuddles with your dog!! Treat yourself to a nice new throw and share it with your fur baby!
Enjoy! From all here at Friends for Pets!