Keep the Fun in Fall by Policing Your Dog’s Yard & Other Seasonal Tips
With the arrival of autumn comes a new surge of energy for us and our pets. After a summer of humidity and oppressive heat, fuzzy ears now perk up and there is an aura of excitement as our dogs step outside and feel the cool snap in the air. As the yard trees become radiant with the fall colors and shed them to the ground, the crunching of leaves only enhances the fun of playing and doing “zoomies!” Oh, what a glorious season! But, as with the arrival of each season, there are some safety precautions we pet parents need to be aware of.
Here are a few of my FiveSibes tips to keep the fun in fall:
No Room for Mushrooms
These characters can pop up virtually overnight and in all kinds of places, and certain fungi can be extremely toxic to our dogs. According to Preventative Vet, “Some of the most common and dangerous types of mushrooms for dogs are in the Amanita family, like the aptly named ‘Death Cap' mushroom—which, because of their ‘fishy’ odor and taste, are often very attractive to dogs. Ingestion of even a small amount of some Amanita mushrooms can severely sicken or kill a dog because of the devastating effect they can have on the liver.” Be sure to check the yard in all of the areas where your dog has access to, including under the leaf piles, places where it may be damp or hold water, along fences and buildings, shady areas, and even in window sills! Yes, windowsills! I actually discovered a hearty mushroom growing right out of my dining room window frame that took several attempts to dislodge. Our best pet tip: remove all mushrooms just to be safe.
Hide and Not Seek
When the seasons change and we pack up all the summer furniture and toys, walk around the area to check for hidden items that could pose a danger to your dog. These could include rakes and sharp objects hidden under the fallen leaves; food from picnics or barbecues that may have fallen through the deck slats and have become moldy; or possibly pieces of bread, apples, or other foods that birds or wild animals may have dropped. Also beware of pesticide containers, old candles, and yard plants. To check on whether a plant or shrub is poisonous, visit the ASPCA’s “Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List.” (1). Also, you can download their free Animal Poison Control mobile app (2).
Cool, Clear Water
Keeping our dog’s water dishes clean sounds like an obvious thing to do, but sometimes germs and bacteria can be invisible to the naked eye. Just think about each time our furry best friend laps up some water, s/he is leaving behind saliva, dirt, and possibly bits of food or treats that can muck up and contaminate the water. Our best tip is to use stainless steel water dishes (never plastic) and be vigilant about giving them a daily deep clean and replenishing the fresh water often.
Dogs Have Laundry, Too!
The start of autumn is also a great time to take inventory of your dogs’ outdoor beds. Do they smell or is there any mold on them? Do they need a few stitches to mend some tears? Or, maybe they are past their prime and need to be replaced. When a new season starts, Ii’s a great time to give all bedding and blankets a once over.
Tag, You’re It!
Be sure to check your dog’s ID, medical, and microchip tags. Can you read the information, or is it worn off? If the latter, order replacement tags. Also, be sure to check with your vet, area municipality, and microchip company to be sure all of your dog’s information is current.
Winter is Coming
What better time to prepare for when the snow flies then now? If your dog wears booties or a coat, check that they fit and are in good shape. If you use a paw protectant, check to be sure it is still fresh. It is also a great time to stock up on pet-friendly, non-toxic ice melt.
By giving your dog’s yard and cool weather essentials a good review, you both can enjoy the glorious days of autumn!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books: What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the FiveSibes.com, an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed and Canine Epilepsy information, as well as her international award-winning FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.
Dorothy is a 9-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2017 and 2016 for her writing, photography, and design. Her book EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy received the 2018 Independent Press Award for “Excellence” in the Reference Book category and 2017 NYC Big Book Award for “Excellence” in the Animal/Pet book category. Dorothy was also named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign and partnered with The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for #Paws4Purple Project, both inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram(@FiveSibesMom).