October Is the final turning point in each year. October signals the end of summer fun and the deep plunge into fall colors and crisp, cold mornings. October reminds us that there is cold and snow ahead. So we shift gears and start getting ready for the cold, dark days when we cocoon in the nice, warm house.
Our pets make the change too. Their fur grows thicker and they spend more time in the warm house with their favorite people. They remind us that we need to be aware of the dangers of fall and winter and holidays. Keeping our dogs and cats safe on Halloween is just one item on our winterization list.
Our pets love the change from summer to fall and winter. The air turns cooler and drier. Dogs feel the urge to run, and to plow through the leaves in fall. The cooler air liberates them and you will have a hard time getting them to come in and rest.
Even though it isn’t really cold yet, smaller dogs and older dogs can become chilled in the cooler air, especially in late afternoon and evening, or early morning. Make sure your pets drink plenty of water. They can get dehydrated playing around in the cooler, drier air.
Autumn is a good time to check your pet’s ID tags and microchip. Just take a few minutes to make sure all your pet’s information is up to date.
If you do let your pets, both dogs and cats, outside, be sure to check them daily for parasites. Adult deer ticks are prevalent in the late summer and fall. Deer ticks are responsible for spreading Lyme disease–which can be dangerous for both you and your pet.
Use a tick and flea preventative to keep the bugs away. Ticks Iive in long grass, so keep your lawn cut short. If your dog or cat go out during the day, be sure to check them over when they come in for the night.
Now is a good time to check for yearly shots and vaccinations for your dog and cat. When winter sets in, you can rest easy, knowing that your pet should be healthy and you can avoid those trips to the vet during the dead of winter.
All about food
If you have pets in your household you know that dinner time is the favorite time of their day. However, We need to be careful about what our pets eat. We should not feed our pets human food even though they put on a good show when they beg for what we have on our plates.
The truth is that some of our food contains ingredients that may actually harm our pets. If you want to give your pet a taste of your roast, put some aside before you add spices, flavoring, salt, pepper, flour, and give your pet a snack with no additions.
People food has a tendency to add weight to our pets, and some ingredients cause allergic reactions in our pets. Artificial Sweetener (Xylitol)is extremely harmful for animals. Check with your veterinarian to learn which foods are best for your cat or dog.
Always provide plenty of fresh water for your pets. No matter what the weather is where you live, animals need plenty of water. If your pet is both an inside/outside animal, be sure to have fresh water for them in both places.
What about Halloween?
Halloween can be a fun time for kids. Running around playing Trick or Treat, dressing up in scary costumes, collecting candy and goodies from the neighbors. Some people like to “dress up” their pets for Halloween. Dogs will tolerate “dress up” better than cats, but I suspect they don’t like it too well.
If you do dress up your pet, be sure the costume doesn’t have small parts that can be a choking hazard, or are too tight to become a breathing hazard. If you do succeed in dressing your pet in a crazy costumes, don’t have them stay dressed up too long.
Halloween is a time when your door is opened frequently. If you want your pets to stay in and be safe, move them to a secure place in your home so they won’t escape. A word of caution to cat owners on this creepy, crazy night: Some people think it is fun to mistreat cats on this goofy night–especially black cats and sometimes all white cats. For this reason, some adoption centers will not adopt out cats on Halloween and a few nights ahead of time.
During Halloween, all kinds of snacks and candy are out for friends and family to nibble on. Candies, especially chocolate, can be very toxic for both cats and dogs. Another reason to keep snacks in a place where your pets can’t reach.
As usual, humane societies, adoption centers and rescue shelters are overflowing with cats and dogs all year. These forsaken creatures are desperate for a second chance at life. If you have room in your heart and home, go look around, and bring one home. They will love you for it.
The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) regularly puts out pet advice tips for those who donate to and volunteer with the organization. By the way, volunteers with this and with other animal rescue organizations, are still rescuing stranded pets in Florida, and other places all over, even in Ukraine.
Now all of you and your pets have a happy and safe Halloween.
I’m Barbara Nelson and I hope these tips for a safe, fun Halloween have come in handy. If you have any questions or comments, please submit them. I’d love to hear from you.