It’s official… fall has arrived, and after an unusually hot, dry summer, most of us welcome a break from the heat, and enjoy the changing season. However fall is a time of many potential dangers for our four-footed companions. Our dogs may show signs of health problems, and just like humans, mild illnesses may resolve on their own, but we need to be alert to signals of health problems and act appropriately BEFORE the illness spirals out of control.
It is important to remember that fall is party time for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes! When these pesky critters appear in the spring, responsible pet caregivers immediately begin to use pest protection programs for their animals, but many feel that once the weather has had a few cold days, the flea problem disappears. The fact is that fleas are more prevalent in the fall than at any other time of the year.
Throughout the summer, the flea population has increased, and as the weather cools down, they instinctively seek out warm places to survive and lay eggs. Unless flea preventatives are used well into the winter, problems associated with flea infestations including flea-bite dermatitis and possibly tapeworms may develop.
Ticks have been abundant this summer, and they are still alive and well! These pests are tough and can hibernate and survive very cold weather. Then there are mosquitoes which are more than just inconveniences, as they pose serious health risks! Unlike fleas and ticks that live on your dog, mosquitoes drop by for a quick meal, and then are gone, but they have the potential to transmit life-threatening diseases such as heartworm.
We encourage pet caregivers to be diligent in the consistent use of vet approved flea, tick and heartworm prevention products. It is easier to expend a little extra energy, time, and money to prevent these problems than it is to treat them!
Fall provides some of the best walking weather. Most animal caregivers underestimate their dogs’ exercise needs, but with this beautiful Fall weather outside. Grab a leash and a friend and hit the sidewalks or trails with your furbaby.
Remember that destructive behavior may lead to a diagnosis of separation anxiety or other behavioral problems, and while these conditions do exist, in many cases the behavior is actually the result of an energy surplus. According to animal trainer, Jenna Stregowski, before you blame your dog for inappropriate behavior, ask yourself if she is getting enough exercise. Many dogs need at least one or two hours of exercise EVERY day, and with everyone’s hectic lifestyle, most are lucky to get fifteen minutes. Because dogs cannot talk, we must rely on the signs that they give us when it comes to analyzing our dog’s health.
So get out there and get walking!