Autumn Pet Safety Tips

Autumn Pet Safety Tips

Autumn is a season of great change, but did you know that many of the lovely things we associate with Autumn are harmful and sometimes stressful to our pets? Our top tips offers some advice on how to help your pets stay calm through fireworks season and the hazards to watch out for over the coming months.

Autumn toxic hazards

Many of the lovely things we associate with Autumn are harmful to our pets. The following items are highly toxic to cats and dogs:

Acorns / Conkers

Both acorns and conkers contain substances such as aesculin/tannic acid which can be toxic to dogs. Some signs to look out for are anxiety, vomiting, diarrhoea, pain and dehydration.

Rotten apples

Apples on the ground can have wasps inside feeding on the fruit. Our pets cannot resist snapping, pawing and chasing wasps, which can result in a nasty, painful sting! If you spot any swelling, particularly around the face or mouth, drooling, difficult breathing or collapse, please call your vet immediately as some cats and dogs can be allergic to stings.

Mulch

Mulch is from old, damp. rotting fallen leaves and is the perfect breeding ground for mould spores and bacteria, which can be harmful to your pet if ingested.

Mushrooms

Always keep your dog away from any mushrooms or toadstools that appear in your garden or are found on walks. It's difficult to separate good from bad and the latter can be highly toxic.

Slug pellets

Please avoid using them as the active ingredient in most forms of slugs pellets, metaldehyde, is highly toxic to both dogs and cats, and even in small amounts, if ingested, can lead to fatal clinical signs which progress very rapidly.

Please thoroughly wipe down your pet's paws and muzzles after a walk and keep an eye for the early signs which are nausea, drooling, wobbliness and lack of coordination.

Anti-freeze

The taste can be attractive especially to cats, but even the smallest amount of antifreeze can cause severe kidney failure.

Please check your garden and keep an eye out when walking your dog.
If you believe your pet has consumed any of the above it is always best to take them straight to your vet. Symptoms to watch out for are fitting, vomiting, diarrhoea, panting, and unsteady walking. If your pet shows any of these signs please bring your pet straight to your vet.

Parasites

As it starts getting chillier and darker, those fleas and ticks start looking for a warm place to live and our central heating and furry pets become very inviting! We always see lots of flea cases over the colder months. Remember your flea treatment (dogs and cats) and don’t forget to treat your home as well.

Fireworks

Whether your furry family members have issues with noises, cower at the sound of a loud bang or pop, or hide under the furniture, these tips will help you all feel secure, comfortable and at ease during fireworks season.

Here are our top tips to help you cope with fireworks night…

We recommend that you do not leave your preparation until the evening itself, we certainly don’t want you to be in a rush or panic, nor do we want your pets to encounter any unnecessary stress!

For our canine friends

  1. Now is the time to start taking your dog for a walk earlier in the evening. This will ease them in gently to a slight change in their routine.
  2. Give your dog a big starchy meal the night before the fireworks to help them relax.
  3. Build a safe, dark, comfortable den with their favourite toys, treats and blankets in a quiet place. Let your pet have access to this den at all times and, offer healthy treats and praise when your dog uses it, this will build a positive association with this space. Also leave the door to the room that they spend the majority of the time, open. This creates a space for them to come and go freely, so they don’t feel in any way trapped. It also means that they can come and see you for some TLC!
  4. On the night of the celebrations, shut all doors and windows to keep the noise to a minimum. This is subtle but very effective, and it also creates a buffer from the noise. Cover glass doors with blankets to muffle any sounds. Close curtains to block out flashes.
  5. Ensure they micro-chipped so that if they escape from the house, scared and confused, there is a better chance you will be reunited.
  6. Spend time helping your dog relax with some music or TV. You’ll be surprised how you will all instantly feel more at ease- and the music will drown out any other noises.
  7. Consider investing in Adaptil plug-ins and spray products at least two weeks before fireworks night begins.

For our feline friends:

  1. You can bring your cat in a few hours earlier, staggering the times so it’s a bit earlier each time so that he or she gets used to it.
  2. Shut the flap before the evening draws in (remember the nights will get darker earlier). Also make sure they have a litter tray available, as well as enough food and water and a cosy blanket for them to snuggle into!
  3. Build a safe, dark, comfortable den with their favourite toys, treats and blankets in a quiet place. Making sure their favourite ‘safe place’ is available to them, and try to avoid constantly checking on them if they have chosen to hide during fireworks.
  4. On the night of the celebrations, shut all doors and windows to keep the noise to a minimum. This is subtle but very effective, and it also creates a buffer from the noise. Cover glass doors with blankets to muffle any sounds. Close curtains to block out flashes.
  5. Ensure they micro-chipped so that if they escape from the house, scared and confused, there is a better chance you will be reunited.
  6. Consider investing in Feliway plug ins or sprays. The smell is a synthetic copy of a pheromone that cats leave naturally when they are feeling comfortable in their environment.

Not forgetting rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds:

Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds can all be affected too, and you can really help your pet by ensuring you make them as calm and comfortable as possible.

  1. If you can please bring them/their hutches inside.
  2. If this is not possible, partly cover hutches and other outside cages with blankets so that they have some soundproofing.

How to spot stress in your pets

Lots of our feline friends and pooch pals will have mild fears in the same way people do, but they will usually manage without it becoming a phobia.
It’s also worth remembering that just because cats aren’t running around, salivating, or digging holes through a door, that they’re not frightened. Cats are more likely to take themselves away and hide so it’s not a problem to the owners.
However, sometimes fears do progress to phobias and we then need to try and work out a way to manage the problem.

Signs of a scared dog

  • Trembling and shaking
  • Clinging to owners
  • Excessive barking
  • Cowering and hiding behind furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Pacing and panting
  • Refusing to eat

Signs of a scared cat

  • Cowering and hiding behind/on top of furniture
  • Trying to run away
  • Soiling the house
  • Refusing to eat

Signs of a scared rabbit

  • Stamping hind feet
  • Staying motionless
  • Trying to escape

Please note that our advice is not a proper substitute for a consultation with a vet, and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your surgery for advice or treatment if you are worried about the health of your pet.


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