By Dr. Bruce Little
Labor Day is over, which means fall is almost upon us. It might be beneficial to review some precautions pet owners should take as we head into this next season.
- If you haven’t already done so, get your pets vaccinated for rabies and other communicable diseases. Thursday, September 28 is World Rabies Day. Created in 2007 by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, World Rabies Day is meant to bring attention to the fact that approximately 69,000 people worldwide die from rabies each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 99 percent of these deaths occur in Africa and Asia. Most dog diseases including rabies are preventable by vaccinations, so ask your veterinarian what your dog needs, and when they will need booster vaccinations to keep them immune to these diseases.
- The end of summer brings with it the highest number of external parasites because newly hatched fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and mites are at their highest concentration. Fleas can give pets flea bite dermatitis that causes severe itching, scratching, tail chasing, and chewing. The entire house and yard must be eradicated of parasites before the dermatitis will subside. Consult your veterinarian for instructions on how to accomplish this.
- Fall is the time of year when dogs develop allergic dermatitis. This skin problem is caused by an allergic reaction to dust and pollen created by grass and foliage. Many dogs need medicated bathing and treatments to relieve the itchy, dry skin. If you suspect your dog has allergic dermatitis, contact your veterinarian
- Since children have gone back to school dogs might find their way out of the house and wander off to look for their playmates. Be sure to microchip your dogs and cats and check that their identification collar is firmly in place. Make sure your contact information is accurate.
- If you walk your dog in a park or along a walking/bicycle path near a lake, make sure they don’t jump into the water for a swim or to chase a duck or goose. Many lakes and ponds this time of year have algae that can be detrimental to your pet’s health. If you notice green algae growing on the water, be sure leash your dog and keep it from jumping in for a swim.
- If your dog runs off-leash, plan its outings during daylight hours. As the season continues into October and November, the night air is usually much cooler and might require additional clothing to protect from the cool air, especially for short-haired or older dogs and those compromised by physical conditions or disease.
- Pet owners should be aware of hazards that may occur around Halloween. Dogs and cats may take the opportunity, when the door opens for trick-or-treaters, to dart out an open door, run into the street, and potentially get hit by a car. Also, noisy, costumed children may cause an aggressive dog to bite if the child makes a sudden move toward the dog. Make sure to also keep candy away from pets. The candy and the wrapper can cause trouble if the dog or cat gets too much of either. Chocolate is toxic to dogs in large amounts. The wrapper, especially if aluminum in structure can block the digestive track of both dogs and cats. Perhaps the safest thing to do for your pets on Halloween would be to put them in a closed room with music or TV on. It may save you time, money and heartache. Your animals will appreciate it as well.
- Even though the air is cooler, it’s still not a good idea to leave your pets in the ca. The inside of a car is much warmer than the outside temperature, so it is not okay to leave the dog or cat in the car during any season. Don’t ever leave your pets in the car, at any time of year!
So, with these precautions in mind, here’s hoping your transition to fall goes well! Consult your vet if you have any questions. Visit Veterinarians.com to find a vet near you.