The onset of fall and holiday preparations brings a welcome change, albeit with some precautions where our pets are concerned. Things to keep in mind for your pet’s safety this fall and holiday season:
As you reshape outdoor lawn and gardens, know that compost piles are not safe for pets. They grow toxic molds that can cause severe muscle tremors and seizures. Fallen leaves promote a cool, damp environment for fungus to grow.
Mushrooms are prevalent in the fall and some varieties contain amanitin toxins that can cause serious GI side effects. Err on the side of caution and remove all outdoor varieties within nose reach.
Chrysanthemums pose a toxic threat to pets, especially cats. They contain pyrethrins which is the ingredient used in flea and tick prevention. Cats are especially sensitive and if they munch on a mum could suffer from vomiting, diarrhea and possibly ataxia (abnormal gait) and incoordination. Other seasonal plants to avoid include: holly, amaryllis, mistletoe, poinsettia, Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus, American and European bittersweet, Christmas rose, Jerusalem cherry, autumn crocus, and burning bush.
Rats and mice seek shelter as the weather gets colder. Rodent poison is lethal to pets and wildlife. If not used by you, keep an eye on your neighbor’s pest control methods. Snakes are preparing to hibernate, so until they do keep a sharp eye out while walking and especially hiking with your dog.
Fleas are at a peak in the fall, until temperatures fall below 30 degrees. Maintain flea & tick treatment to ensure your pets are protected from these pesky pests.
Nightfall is earlier allowing for cooler walks later in the day. Adding a reflective light to your dog’s collar will help maintain his visibility and carrying a flashlight will help you ferret out hidden hazards on your route.
As you prepare your Thanksgiving meal, holiday spoils you can share with your dog:
Butternut Squash: small, cooked portions can be added to their food for an added dose of fiber and minerals.
Apples: served without the seeds is a high-fiber (year-round) snack for dogs.
Unsweetened cranberries: full of antioxidants and vitamins A, B & C.
Sweet potatoes: Vitamin A, C & calcium in cooked, unseasoned sweet potatoes is a great snack to share with your dogs.
Pure Pumpkin: this is my favorite addition to a dog’s food bowl anytime of the year for the added fiber and beta carotene benefit. Pure Pumpkin will also firm up loose stools and working in the reverse, can help launch a movement if your dog is constipated.
Avoid giving your dog or cat turkey bones and only share a tiny bit of skinless turkey with them as it is high in fat.
Many veterinary clinics have limited holiday office hours. In the absence of available Vet care, do not self-medicate your animal pals. What is safe for us can be deadly to them. If you suspect that your pet has ingested something harmful, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is a unique, emergency hotline
providing 24/7 telephone assistance to pet owners. The Center’s hotline is
staffed by veterinarians and toxicologists who can quickly answer your emergency questions @ 1-888-4-ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435).
As always, be safe and enjoy a delicious and blessed Thanksgiving.
photo attribution: Alvan Nee @ unsplash.com