Fall pet safety keeps pets safe as the seasons change

While fall in New England is undeniably gorgeous, we think autumn in Maine takes the cake. The chilly mornings and changing leaves serve as beautiful backdrops for a multitude of fall activities, and taking in all that nature has to offer is on the agenda for many pet owners this time of year.

As always, your pet’s well being is our ongoing goal at Androscoggin Animal Hospital. Whether you’re hiking, hunting, or just relaxing in the backyard, be sure to keep these fall pet safety tips in mind.

Fall Pet Safety Outdoors

To truly enjoy the season with your pet, it’s important to remember these basics before heading outside:

  • Disease prevention – Fleas, ticks, heartworm, and the risk of rabies don’t go away when the seasons change! Make sure your pet is fully vaccinated and remains protected all year long.
  • Supervision – Always keep your pet leashed while in the woods and on the trail. Don’t allow them to investigate any wildlife (living or dead). Use caution when approaching other people and pets.
  • Mushroom safety – Mushrooms are prevalent during the fall, and although most are nontoxic, the few that are poisonous can cause life-threatening symptoms if ingested. Play it safe by keeping your pet away from all mushrooms.
  • Fall chemicals – Antifreeze and rodenticides are used regularly during the fall, and both are highly toxic to pets. Clean up antifreeze spills immediately, and store any unused amounts in a safe, secure location. Find alternatives to rodenticides whenever possible; if you must use them, do so with extreme caution.

On the Hunt

Hunting dogs everywhere look forward to this time of year. Maximizing your dog’s enjoyment of the sport while keeping them safe is a top priority.

  • If your dog hasn’t had a wellness exam for a while, be sure to schedule one before heading out to hunt. We’ll make sure they’re healthy and are protected against disease and parasites.
  • Make sure your dog is easily identifiable with ID tags and a microchip.
  • Safety gear is as important for dogs as it is for humans. Outfit your pet in a well-fitting reflective vest and breakaway collar (allows your dog to break out of the collar if it becomes tangled in brush or debris). A set of booties will also help protect the paw pads if you’re going to be in especially rough terrain.
  • Hypothermia is another huge concern, especially if your dog gets wet. Be sure to get them out of the wind, and dry them off as best you can.
  • During unseasonably warm days, be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion (excessive panting, drooling, stumbling, confusion, etc.). Always provide your pet with plenty of fresh drinking water.
  • Never transport your pet in the bed of a pickup truck without some sort of structure. Instead, mount a crate in the truck, and fill it with soft bedding as a way to stay out of the elements.
  • Don’t allow your dog to investigate any carcasses. Many wild animals carry disease, which could put your pet at risk.
  • Always have a pet first aid kit with you, and install the free Red Cross Pet First Aid app on your phone.
  • Even if you aren’t a hunter, it’s important to be aware of the season once it begins. Know the areas where hunting is allowed, so you and your dog can avoid them. Always dress in bright clothing, and keep your dog with you at all times.

We want to help you and your pet make the most of this beautiful time of year! Please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Androscoggin with any questions or concerns about fall pet safety.