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Autumn Survival Tips: Embrace the new season with your dog

22nd October

Autumn is one of our favourite seasons here at WAHF; the colours, the crackling fire and any excuse to cuddle our dogs under a cosy blanket! But this time of year also brings a whole host of challenges – not only do walkies get a whole lot muddier, but holidays Guy Fawkes and Halloween can prove pretty scary for your dog, especially new arrivals! So we’ve put together some survival tips for the season ahead…

Halloween

What is a fun evening full of costumes and candy for us, can be unsettling for our dogs. Not only are there unfamiliar costumes but there’s strange people knocking at the door, so try these tips for a less spooky All Hallow’s Eve.

  • Walk your dog before it gets dark and the trick-or-treaters descend
  • Keep human treats and candy well out of reach
  • Provide a safe, quiet space for your dog to escape to, especially if they’re fearful of strangers knocking at the door
  • As cute as it might be, never force your dog to wear a costume or receive unwanted attention from someone in a costume
  • With more people out and about than usual, never leave your dog in the garden unattended. Not only could the unusual goings on be distressing, but it makes them an easy target for dog theft.

Flea treatment

It’s likely that treating fleas is already a part of your dog’s healthcare routine. But did you know that Autumn is primetime for dormant eggs to ‘wake up’ in the warmth of our central heating? Yes, it’s gross but it also makes now the perfect time to treat your home and soft furnishings – as well as your pets!

Fireworks

November 5th can be one of the trickiest nights of the year for dog-lovers around the world, especially if you have firework-loving neighbours nearby. With their loud bangs and high-pitched squeals, fireworks aren’t something your dog can easily be familiarised with, which explains why 45% of dogs show some kind of fear or distress come fireworks night

Where possible, do try to introduce your dog to loud noises and high-pitched sounds early on. We don’t suggest regularly hosting firework displays throughout the year but a specifically-designed desensitisation CD can be played either when your dog is still young, or in the weeks leading up to fireworks season. Just be sure to take it slow, and stop at any point your dog shows signs of distress.

On the night itself, try the following tips to keep your companion calm and settled.

  • Walk your dog well before dark to avoid getting caught outside when the firework displays start
  • Mask the noise by playing music or keeping the TV turned up
  • Keep windows, doors, dog and cat-flaps closed. You can mask the flashes of light by closing your curtains too.
  • Create a safe space for your dog. Include a chew to distract them and line their space with blankets and cushions to mask the noise.
  • Follow your dog’s lead – they might seek comfort from you but they also might hide themselves away. Both are completely natural ways of coping.
  • Never take your dog to a fireworks display
  • Avoid leaving your dog at home alone; even a dog who seems confident with noise can become fearful when left alone

Hidden hazards

Antifreeze, unlit bonfires and Halloween candy are all hazards that come with the changing of seasons, but some hazards are hidden. For example, did you know that conkers and acorns are toxic to dogs? So too is the blue-green algae that forms on the surface of lakes and ponds, particularly dangerous for the avid-swimmers amongst us.

 

We hope our tips give you the confidence to embrace Autumn with your furry companions by your side. Please do get in touch if you have any suggestions of your own – after all, sharing is what this community is all about!

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