Your pets are valuable members of the family, and ensuring their safety in an emergency is no different than for any other member of your household. There are a few differences in the way we approach safety for our furry family members, so here are a few Pet Safety Tips to consider for the Fall season.
Dressing for the Weather
As the weather gets colder, some pets might need a little help staying warm when they go outside. Whether it’s a sweater or a rain jacket, check out your local pet store for supplies and make sure whatever you’re buying for your little one fits properly.
If you’re in an area that experiences ice and snow, consider getting your pups some shoes so that the pads of their feet are protected from the cold, and any salt or de-icing products that may be used in your neighbourhood. For cats, you might want to limit their time outdoors overall.
One of the most-loved parts of the holiday season is the food, and our pets are no different! Even the best trained pets are likely to be tempted by holiday food, whether it’s offered by friends or family, or accidentally dropped on the floor.
Many human foods are toxic to pets, and lots of them are available during the holidays – things like sweets, onions and garlic, certain nuts, and fruits like grapes. Ask your guests to avoid passing table snacks to your pets, and help avoid accidental poisoning (and bookmark the Pet Poison Control Center now so you’re ready just in case).
Watch for Wildlife
While we’re enjoying our Fall foods over the holidays, many animals are doing so too as they get ready to hibernate for the winter. Animals of all sizes prepare for their winter sleep by foraging for food, and this may mean that we’ll cross paths with the likes of racoons, skunks, rodents, and even bears!
Whether you’re out for a walk in the woods or simply enjoying your own back yard, keep your eyes peeled for these wild critters, and keep a safe distance if you spot them. Keep your dogs close (even if they’re off-leash) and if you’re big into hiking, consider attaching a bell to your dog’s harness or collar – making noise means you’re less likely to stumble upon, and surprise or scare bigger animals like bears.
Back to School Supplies
This doesn’t sound particularly pet related out the gate but with the kids back in full school mode, there are lots of supplies lying around from homework assignments and school projects.
While many of these are deemed “low toxicity” for pets, the items themselves can still cause intestinal blockages. Make sure your kids keep their supplies tidy and out of reach of curious pets so that they don’t chew on batteries, choke on marker lids, or swallow rubber bands.
Winterizing Your Vehicles
Now is a great time to do all those winter checks on your vehicle(s), from swapping out tires to checking washer fluid levels. One of the items on your checklist might be to add antifreeze to your engine coolant to stop water from freezing in cold weather.
Exercise caution when using antifreeze as it’s extremely toxic to pets, but is appealing to eat due to its sweet flavour. Make sure you plan for any accidental spills or leaks, by putting down a towel, mat, or newspaper before you get started, and immediately clean up any spills that hit the garage floor or driveway. Always make sure that the bottle is completely sealed and out of reach of pets when not in use.
Check / Update Tags and Chips
The changing season is a great time to make sure that your pet’s tags and/or microchips are up to date with your contact information. If you’ve changed your vet recently, or even your phone number, now is a great time to make sure those details are correct so that, in the event your pet is lost, or you’re separated due to a disaster, you can be reunited as quickly and easily as possible.
In addition, make sure you have copies of your pet’s paperwork and information in your emergency kits, as well as a current photograph (if you can get one with you in it as well, that’s a big help with reunification!).
Steer Clear of Mushrooms
This might seem like a very specific food to avoid, but we mean wild mushrooms in this case. The Fall is one of two key mushroom seasons, and while most have little to no toxicity, there are a small percentage that are highly toxic to animals. Because they’re hard to distinguish from one another, it’s safest to keep your pets away from any area that might have mushrooms, whether it’s out at the park, on a hike, or even your back yard (the latter is easiest to deal with as you can remove them yourself!).
Fireworks and Holiday Activities
Halloween is one of the most fun events for humans, but it’s rarely the case for pets, especially when there’s fireworks involved, and with the holidays on their way, you may have a busy house overall with guests and family arriving regularly.
Both scenarios can be stressful for pets, whether it’s the loud noises, or simply the large number of people in their home. Try to stick with your regular routine as much as possible, ensure your pet gets lots of exercise, and keep toys around for positive distractions. Even the most sociable of pets can get overwhelmed this time of year, so make sure that they have a quiet, safe space to go if the stress gets too much.
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