There is something truly magical about the change of seasons – with a crispness in the air and vibrant hues abound – it makes for the ideal time to explore the great outdoors. As temperatures are finally getting cooler, dogs seem as equally overjoyed and ready to adventure. This means everyone is more active, but it also means there are some new hazards to keep in mind. Here are 5 safety tips to think about this season:
#1- Falling tree nuts: Playful and opportunistic dogs may eagerly play with acorns, black walnuts and the like that fall from trees, but these nuts offer a potential choking hazard. If too many are consumed, it could cause intestinal blockage. In addition, acorns contain a chemical known as gallotannin that can be toxic and cause lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea and have the potential to cause liver and kidney damage if eaten in large quantities.
#2- Car Safety: 80% of dog owners take their pups with them for a drive--which is awesome! However, if you let your dog put their head out the window of a moving vehicle, you are putting them at risk. Road debris, dirt, rocks, insects and other potential hazards can easily damage the delicate corneas of their eyes. Additionally, you never want to leave your window low enough where your dog is able to easily jump out while your vehicle is moving. Keep your window up just enough so your dog, depending on size, can’t easily escape and invest in some dog goggles to protect their vision if your dog insists on his head being out the window. You will both be happier for it - what could be cuter than doggy goggles! If doggy goggles aren’t on your shopping list, roll the windows down (to that sweet spot only) when the car is not in motion like at stop signs and lights.
#3- Reflective Vests and Flashlights: Over 1 million dogs were killed by motorists last year, and many of these accidents were caused by motorists being unable to see the animal. We get it, sometimes those nightly strolls can’t be avoided with visibility decreasing earlier in the day. Buy a headlamp or a good flashlight for your walks. Reflective night vests and a reflective collar are also helpful to ensure your pup is seen by motorists. This is also important if your dog is on an e-collar—batteries can fail at the most inconvenient time—and if your dog breaks the boundaries, they will at least be visible!
#4- Beware of Wild Animals: There are more than just ghosts and goblins to scare your buddy during the fall. As it gets darker earlier, wild animals are moving about earlier in the night. If you don't have a fenced-in yard, take your pup out on a leash to do their nightly rituals. And if you have an e-fence, check the batteries weekly and go out with them to ensure no wild animals have come onto your property.
#5- Avoid the Creepy Crawlies: Piles of raked leaves are fun for everyone to jump in--but you may want to think twice before letting your pup participate. Leaves are a haven for ticks and spiders, so be sure to check your pup when they are done. Also, watch out for sticks that linger in leaf piles. A dog can easily swallow a stick which can lead to internal perforation.
With these tips in mind, get outside, be safe and have fun with your pup!
Johnna Devereaux is a Clinical Pet Nutritionist and canine wellness expert. She is the Director of Nutrition and Wellness for Bow Wow Labs and sits on their Board of Advisors.
The points of view expressed above are those of our clinical nutritionist and supported by science, her education and experience. However, we recognize there may be different points of view or opinions on some aspect or even the premise of this article. Our goal at Bow Wow Labs is to provide the best, clearest, and most helpful information possible to help keep your dog happy, healthy, and safe.