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Toasting life

Fall Health Tips for Your Pet

Cute dog on chair

Fall in Coastal Virginia is as comfortable as it is beautiful, with temperatures still warm enough to spend long days outdoors and changing, colorful foliage in every direction. When autumn arrives, you may find your household schedule shifting with the change in weather. Your pet's needs will change as well, and it's  important to be aware of how seasonal changes and adjustments to your family's lifestyle may affect your pet.

When a new season arrives, it often brings with it new vegetation, routines, weather changes and household products. You can prevent harm, illness or injury to your pet by being mindful of possible dangers and risks associated with these changes. After all, your pet is your family member, and you want to keep them feeling healthy and happy all year long!

Here are fall health tips to help you both enjoy this new season safely.

Keep School Supplies Out of Reach
Your kids may be excited about their brand new bounty of fresh glue sticks, markers, pencils and reusable stickers, but if you have pets in your home, they'll need to know how to properly store them. Your pup or kitty may be drawn to the packaging on these items and end up ingesting them, causing uncomfortable gastrointestinal issues. While most of these products are low in toxicity, they can cause a great degree of discomfort in your pet that may even render a costly and stressful trip to the vet. Avoid GI issues from the start by storing your children's school supplies out of reach of your pets.

Watch Out for Mushrooms
Fall is the season for mushroom and fungus growth, and your pet may encounter quite a few while out exploring nature during beautiful fall afternoons. Most mushrooms aren't toxic, but about 1% of them are, and it's extremely difficult to tell the difference. If your pet does ingest a poisonous mushroom, he may be facing life-threatening health issues immediately. Protect your pet by steering clear of mushrooms on your walks, and keeping a close eye on the ground as you go.

Weather Changes
As the weather changes from sticky hot to crisp and cool, be mindful of keeping your pet comfortable and warm. If you have a small breed pet with very short hair, make sure to use a jacket or sweater on long walks. Bring your pet in before dark to avoid exposing them to too crisp temperatures, altogether. If you do find that shorter days have you walking in the dark more often than not, make sure to wear bright clothing and ensure that your dog wears a reflective collar.

New Routines
When fall comes around, the kids head back to school, the parents' schedules shift and the whole house may begin to beat to a new rhythm. Depending on your pet's temperament, sudden changes to the household's lifestyle could be very stressful, and your pet could begin to demonstrate signs of separation anxiety, including barking or using the bathroom indoors. Watch your pet closely during transition periods, and try to ease into your family's new routine slowly to help your pet come along with you. If you know your pet will be spending more time alone, consider hiring a dog walker to spend extra time with him during the day, or schedule a morning to work from home to ease his anxiety.



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