Friday, September 23, 2016

Happy Fall!

There are many great festivities that you, your family and your pets can do in the fall. However, there are also a few things pet parents should be aware of to protect their four legged family members. This article will go over some of the fun festivities available and some of the dangers to be aware of.

Living on Long Island I grew up with the tradition of going apple picking and pumpkin picking in the fall. All you have to do is drive out east and you will find a plethora of farms that host various kinds of “Pick Your Own.” Many of them have websites and you can find out if they are having any special events. A number of them do allow leashed dogs, plus your dog can enjoy a healthy snack of apple slices and fresh pumpkin! (Just make sure there are no spices on it)

As the weather begins to cool, it’ll be easier to take your dog on longer walks without worry of heat exhaustion or burning asphalt. On Long Island we have a number of dog friendly parks that offer hiking trails where you can take in the sights of the leaves changing colors. I frequently take my dog to Blydenburgh County Park, where there are many trails following the lake, it is a beautiful place to go especially during the changing season. This is a great way to get you and your family out for exercise and your dog will most certainly enjoy it.

Speaking of trails… Long Island is all around a historical area and many of the towns host a slew of events geared towards this. From Ghost Tours to festivals it feels like every town has something unique to offer and a lot of them are outside. Call ahead and see if they allow dogs to join in the fun!

As the leaves fall off the trees, we start raking them into piles for fall clean up. However, these piles can also lead to a lot more fun and photographic opportunity! Many dogs enjoy running through piles of leaves just as much as children. Just make sure the leaves are dry! 


As people begin to prepare for fall and for winter, there become a number of things that loving pet owners should be aware of for the safety of their animals:


  • Not to contradict the fun of playing in leaf piles but, if it’s rained or very humid, leaves can start to decompose and become host to a number of bacteria and mold that are not safe for pets or children.  Besides these dangers, also watch your yard for the growth of mushrooms and remove them quickly! Most mushrooms are toxic to ingest and now is the time of year they start to appear more frequently.
  • Watch were your pets go! Pay attention to public announcements of spraying for insects as pesticides are not pet (or human) friendly. Many people put down fertilizer and other chemicals on their lawn during this time of year so make sure to keep your pets off unfamiliar yards or walking in the brush along maintained trails that have notices of chemical spray. 
  • In addition to outside sprays for insects, some people still use moth balls in their closet to prevent moth damage to clothing or moth balls in storage bins. These are toxic for cats and dogs who might try to play with them or ingest them. A safer alternative is to use cedar wood hangers, or to place/hang cedar in pouches and keep it above animal height in the closet. Many local retailers now sell this alternative such as Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart.
  • Also during this time of year many families spray rodentcidies or put down bait traps that are toxic if our pets ingest. Pets can also become ill in the event they catch a poisoned rodent and ingest it.

  • With people doing their fall yard clean up and prepping their vehicles for winter, keep an eye on your pets to prevent them from drinking out of random puddles. This time of year we have to be careful of poisoning due to engine coolant, oil and other toxic spills.
  • Daylight hours are currently decreasing more and more, consider getting your pet a reflective collar or vest or one that lights up. They are not very expensive and can be purchased on most online websites for pets and amazon. These can be real life savers for your animals as in low lighting your pet might not be visible to a driver. If you are walking your dog on the road, stand between your dog and the traffic. A driver is more likely to see a human but your furry friend might be below their field of sight from the vehicle.
  • Heartworm! Make sure you dog is up to date on their heartworm, if they need a blood test now is the time to get it done and many of the preventative medications are a once a month chewable. It’s a simple way to protect your pet.
  • From now the temperature is going to only get cooler to cold out. If your dog normally gets shaved in the summer, it’s now time to let their coat grow in so they will have their full coat by winter. If you have a short hair dog, consider getting them a sweater or jacket just in case.  Our pets don’t enjoy being cold any more than we do.

Lastly,
Little Shelter does always encourages keeping cats indoors, they will live longer healthier lives and not be put at risk of getting hit by a car or attacked by wild predators. We do have Coyotes on Long Island as well as foxes. 

During this time of year these animals can present more of a threat for kitty as they try to bulk up a bit more before the coming cold. In addition cats are less likely to be seen by passing cars and accident rates go up around this time of year as the hours of darkness increase. Consider keeping your cat inside until late spring, or at least from dusk to dawn if you’re not ready to switch kitty to living indoors only.

There are many great opportunities to get out with your furry friends this season and create some wonderful memories. Just because the summer is over, doesn't mean the fun has to be and with these helpful tips we can keep our four legged loved ones safe. In the comments, post some of your favorite fall past times that your pet partakes in. We would love to see some photos! Or links to fur friendly activities to promote getting out there with your pet.

See you soon!

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