The days are shorter, the good weather gradually gives way to freshness and greyness. Autumn is a great season for dogs, it’s probably the dog's favourite season. Well yes, the weather is cool enough to spend hours outside and it’s not too cold to have to stay inside. But, fall season comes with it’s seasonal hazards. The weather changing does not come without consequences for your little companion.
So what are these seasonal dangers that affect our pets and how can we prepare them to approach this season with confidence? Parasites, worms and bad weather are things you, as a responsible dog owner, should be aware of when the mid-season comes.
Here are 8 things you should remember in order to take care of your dog this fall.
1. Prevent and treat your dog for ticks and fleas
Just like in spring, autumn is a season conducive to the proliferation of ticks. The latter multiplies more when temperatures oscillate between 0 and 20 °C. And if you thought because you live in a city, you would be spared, you thought wrong: they are present everywhere, especially in places where there are trees and grass.
With the return of low temperatures, expect to see fleas come back too! Seeking shelter for the winter, they will not hesitate to come and take up residence with you.
There is only one solution to avoid these parasites: administer an antiparasitic treatment to your dog.
2. Deworm your dog
Sometimes invisible to the naked eye, worms can cause great damage. They can infiltrate the heart, intestines, lungs or blood vessels of your dog. These internal parasites are all the more dangerous as their presence is difficult to detect and can be fatal.
In addition, both city dogs and countryside dogs are vulnerable to it, regardless of the season. It is therefore recommended - as a precaution - to deworm your dog four times a year, at each change of season.
3. Watch out for dog ringworm
If summer is THE season when your dog is most at risk of contracting the parasitic fungus that causes ringworm, know that it is in the fall that the disease really wakes up.
There is no preventive treatment for this disease. So be careful: this mycosis on the skin usually manifests with a patched area devoid of hair. If you suspect your dog has caught ringworm, see your vet right away to prevent it from developing.
4. Help your dog if they have arthritis
The weather is less mild and more humid. Just like humans, this climate tends to awaken pain in animals suffering from arthritis. You should know that arthritis, a disease which isn’t often detected, affects 1 in 5 dogs, especially senior or overweight dogs. If this disease cannot be cured, its pain can nevertheless be soothed.
5. Shedding in Autumn: Brush your dog regularly
Along with spring, fall is the season which sees heavy shedding in most dog breeds. The summer coat falls off, making room for the warmer winter coat. Your dog will lose a lot of dead hair and will probably have some knots so it is necessary to brush your pooch more regularly.
6. Colder and shorter days: Help your dog to smoothly adapt to these changes
In the fall, days get shorter and shorter and the temperature slowly starts dropping. Changeover to winter season occurs during this period, generally by the end of October. Just like us, dogs are sensitive to it and may experience some upheavals in their daily life: fatigue, lack of appetite, stress ... The smooth transition is therefore favoured, especially with regards to meal times. The wisest thing to do is to gradually postpone (by a few minutes) your usual mealtime each day. So your dog will hardly feel the difference!
7. Watch out for acorns, conkers, mushrooms and fallen fruits
What do we do in autumn? We pick mushrooms of course! However, not all mushrooms are edible for humans and for dogs. Our dogs may also be tempted to chew on a mushroom that has barely grown and looks very appetising. But many of them are poisonous.
You should also be super careful with conkers and acorns as they both can be toxic to dogs if ingested in large quantities. They can also cause an upset stomach, an intestinal blockage or chokage. Fallen fruits are also dangerous for dogs. If the fruit is rotting, it contains tremorgenic mycotoxins which can cause muscle tremors and convulsions. On top of that, the alcohol contained in fermenting fruit can also cause sickness and diarrhoea in dogs. So yeah, best to avoid all of these.
Be careful when you are out walking your dog, keep an eye open especially when out in the forest. If you have any doubts your dog has eaten something bizarre, go see your vet immediately.
8. Be extra vigilant when on a walk with your dog
The temperature in autumn is great when you go out walking your dog as your pooch isn’t too hot nor too cold. So, dog owners tend to go walking a lot more this season but it’s important to be extra vigilant when you are walking your dog for many reasons.
Firstly, in fall the hunting season is open. If your dog is a hunter, think about his comfort and his energy expenditure (hunting is a sport for him): take care of its paws, adapt its diet, etc...
Even if your dog isn’t a hunter, remain vigilant during your walks, especially in certain hunting areas. Because of the gunshot or hunting dogs barking, your pooch could get scared so make sure he knows "recall" otherwise hold him on a leash.
Secondly, make sure your dog is clearly visible. As the days shorten, at some point, the evening walk will be at night, so it is important that your dog can be seen by cars. A reflective harness and reflective leash can be great for this, or a small light attached to their necklace.
Finally, temperatures can get pretty low sometimes and your dog could be cold. Don’t hesitate to put a coat on your dog when you go out on a walk, especially if your pooch doesn’t have a thick coat.
Most of all, don't forget to give your dog plenty of attention, tenderness, and listen to its needs. No matter which season we’re in, kindness and love remains the most effective treatment for your furry friend.