Autumn Is Tick, Tick, Ticking Closer
Fall is on the horizon and dog owners who live anywhere but in the middle of the concrete jungle are probably concerned they might have a dog tick problem. Ticks—deer ticks, dog ticks, and other varieties—can spread disease to both you and your pet. But what are the other animal health concerns you need to worry about in the fall? Here are some important things to consider when thinking about fall pet safety:
- Ticks: Although tick nymphs peak in the spring months, the number of adult deer ticks is higher in the fall than it is during any other part of the year. Deer ticks are the ticks that are responsible for spreading Lyme disease—which can be just as much of a danger for you as it is for your pet. If you're worried you might have a tick problem, there are several things you can do to help. A tick and flea preventative will help keep the bugs away, but if you don't choose to use them, consider paying more attention to your lawn care. Ticks prefer to live in long grass, so giving your lawn a good manicure, and keeping your pets confined, can help keep your tick problem under control.
- Temperature: Fall is a tough time for pet care because the temperature is so variable. Depending on where you live, you may need to worry about anything from heatstroke to frostbite. In particular, you'll always want to make certain that your dog or cat has enough water. Just because the weather has gotten cooler doesn't mean that your pet doesn't still need a lot to drink.
- Halloween: Halloween time can be fun time for both you and your pets, but you'll also want to plan ahead and take some safety precautions. Chocolate, which is found so plentifully at Halloween, can be extremely toxic for both your dogs and your cats. Also, candies containing xylitol are among the harmful foods you should keep away from your pet. Pet Halloween costumes can be cute, but you'll want to be certain that they don't have small parts which pose a choking hazard or impair your pets' breathing or hearing. If you have a black cat, plan to keep it indoors around Halloween time. People have been known to play some nasty tricks on "witch's cats" around the holiday, and you'll want to keep your kitty safe.
- Grooming: Finally, fall is a good time to remember that keeping your pet's coat in good shape isn't just a matter of vanity; it's also a matter of health. Some good dog grooming tips include regularly brushing your pet to avoid matting and always making certain your pet is completely dry after a bath. These and other tips can help your pet avoid "hot spots" and other skin irritations that can contribute to poor health.
- Quick Tip: If you have a long-haired dog or cat, it's important to brush them regularly to avoid serious matting, which can cause your furry friend real discomfort and negatively affect their health. If you cannot commit to regular coat care, then talk to your veterinarian or groomer about whether or not it might be a good idea to keep Fluffy shaved. He won't be fluffy anymore but it could improve both his temperament and his well-being.