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Preparing for Autumn: Seasonal Hazards for Massachusetts Pets

seasonal-hazardsIt’s hard to believe that the warm days and nights of summer are already coming to a close. Before you know it, autumn will be here and winter will be right behind. It is important to prepare for the change of season and take some essential precautions that will help keep all types of pets in Massachusetts safe and healthy.

  • Poisons
    This time of year, many people are busy getting winter equipment cleaned and ready for use when the snow begins to fall. That means a lot of chemicals, such as antifreeze/coolant, will be in use. Did you know that just five teaspoons of antifreeze can kill a 10-pound dog? It is important to keep dangerous chemicals like this up and away from pets and children. This extremely hazardous chemical has a sweet taste, making it more likely to be consumed by pets and children than other stronger-smelling and bad-tasting chemicals. Check antifreeze bottles regularly for leaks and call your local veterinarian in Dartmouth if you believe your pet has consumed any coolant or other chemicals.
  • Pesticides
    Many homeowners are busy spraying or treating their homes to prevent insects and rodents from entering their homes during the colder months. Unfortunately, pesticides and rodenticides that are designed to kill these pests can also kill your pets as well. Make sure to store any pesticides or rodenticides in a place where pets and children cannot access them. When spraying or treating your home, make sure to follow the directions completely, keeping pets away from treated areas until the chemical has dried thoroughly or for the specified period of time stated on the package. Contact the local Dartmouth animal hospital if you believe your pet has consumed or been exposed to these chemicals.
  • Holiday Treats
    The fall and winter seasons bring a host of hazardous holiday treats within close proximity to your pets. Well-meaning guests might think it’s a good idea to share their Thanksgiving turkey and other treats with your pets, but it is important to keep many of these foods away from your pets. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, birds and cats, so make sure to keep Halloween treats and other holiday favorites away from your pets. Some of the ingredients in our other favorite holiday foods, like onions and garlic, can also be toxic to many pets. Many holiday foods are extremely rich, which can cause bloat or sudden pancreatitis. Ask your guests to refrain from sharing “people food” with your pets and make sure your family members are aware of the dangers associated with these foods.
  • Cold Temperatures
    It can be easy to think that your pets will be warmer than you are because they have fur coats. However, pets can become acclimated to indoor weather just as people do, requiring special attention during the colder seasons. Indoor pets should not be left outdoors in cold weather for long periods of time. Outdoor pets should have a shelter that they can use to stay warm that will protect them from rain, wind and snow. It is important to remember that outdoor pets will need extra food in the cold weather to help generate body heat.
  • Toxic Mushrooms
    This is the time of year that we see more wild mushrooms growing throughout the region. Toxic mushrooms can be very dangerous for your pets. Most wild mushrooms are non-toxic, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Completely remove any mushrooms you see growing on your property and make sure to call your Dartmouth animal hospital right away if you suspect that your pet has been eating mushrooms, which can be fatal in some cases.

Things You Can Do to Prepare
In addition to being aware of the common seasonal hazards that can seriously hurt or kill pets in Massachusetts, there are other things you can do today to make sure you are prepared for the season. From updating your pet’s medication to treating them for parasites, it is important to make sure you are ready for anything that nature can throw your way.

#1 – Parasite Prevention – Make sure that your pets are still being treated for flea and tick prevention year-round. While these pests are more prevalent in the warmer months, they can still affect your pets in the fall and winter. Speak with your veterinarian in Dartmouth about year-round parasite prevention.

#2 – First Aid – Do you have a first aid kit for your pet? Make sure to have pet-safe bandages, antibacterial ointments, styptic powder and other materials on-hand that you can easily take with you on the go. Consult with the experts at the Dartmouth animal hospital for tips and ideas that can help you put together a complete first aid kit for your pet.

#3 – Safety Equipment – When was the last time you checked your pet’s ID? Make sure that collars, leashes and ID tags are all clean, easy to read and in good working order. The fall is a great time to double-check these and replace anything that needs to be updated. Also, take this time to check out fences and runs on your property to ensure that your pet can’t escape and take off in the cold season.

#4 – Teach Your Children Well – Take time to teach your children about the importance of keeping hazardous items away from beloved pets. School supplies, such as glue, pens, markers and pencils, should all be kept up and away from pets. Teaching children about pet safety when they are young will help them to be more aware and careful around pets as they grow, ultimately making them more responsible pet owners in the future.

Better Safe Than Sorry
If you own pets in Massachusetts, make sure to schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian in Dartmouth. Anchor Animal Hospital has been treating all sorts of pets, from cats and dogs to exotics and pocket pets, for many years. Ask your vet about additional precautions you can take to help keep your pets safe all year long.