Autumn weather has arrived and so has your new English bulldog puppy. The cooler fall days are perfect for playing and getting to know your new little friend and letting them get acquainted with their new environment. And although autumn brings lots to be thankful for and look forward to, it also brings some seasonal threats to your pets' health. People are winterizing their yards, garages, and cars, leaving lots of harmful substances around for curious pups to get into, and the celebrations and get-togethers that are just around the corner are a concern for a new puppy, as well as other pets in your home.
Many of the following examples of threats to your furry friends' well-being will be reminders, while some you might not be aware of.
Holidays and Celebrations
Your child's Halloween treat bag contains all sorts of dangers, from chocolate, which is poisonous to dogs, to candy in general, which is bad for your pets' teeth and presents a choking hazard. Be aware that some sugar-free candies contain xylitol, which is also highly toxic to dogs. Candles are also a fire hazard around your curious cat or clumsy pooch. Trick-or-treaters are also stressful for your furry friends, and they may dart outside or get lost. Keep your pup safely locked up away from the excitement.
Thanksgiving poses similar dangers. Keep your animals away from the dinner table, as the rich, fatty foods are irresistible but can cause pancreatitis and other gastrointestinal upset. And make sure they can't escape when guests come and go. Keep their ID tags current and on their collar, and do have them microchipped, which will improve your chances of bringing your little friend home if they get lost.
Chemicals, Cleaners, and Dangerous Plants
Keep fertilizers, pesticides, and cleaning products out of reach. When you spread fertilizer, spray pesticides and leave out rodenticides, make sure your pup cannot come in contact. Use pet-friendly de-icers for your driveway and sidewalks and keep ethylene glycol-based antifreeze products behind closed doors. When you pull out your winter wardrobe, don't let your cat or dog get hold of a mothball; they are highly toxic.
Mushrooms make a comeback when temperatures start to fall. Although most are not poisonous, a few types are life-threatening, so it's best to steer clear of all of them just in case. Chrysanthemums, poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can also cause gastrointestinal upset, while lilies can cause feline kidney failure. When planting your tulip and daffodil bulbs in the fall, keep them away from your animals as ingesting them causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, and even cardiac arrhythmias. Other plants to avoid include azaleas, castor bean pods, iris, and philodendron.
If your pup shows signs such as drooling, nausea, shallow breathing, or disorientation, or you think he has come in contact with a questionable plant, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
Miscellaneous Threats and Dangers
Autumn is a great time for hiking with your dog, but be aware of your surroundings. Rattlesnakes are preparing for hibernation and are more prevalent around hiking trails. Ticks, which can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and tick paralysis pose a serious threat to both you and your dog. Make sure to check for the little bloodsuckers after every outing.
You might not think grass can be a problem for your dog, but certain types are, such as those tall grasses with the fuzzy end. These foxtails, also known as grass awns, have a preference for dog ears and can embed themselves in so deep they cause inflammation, intense scratching, and ear infections, and often must be surgically removed.
The coming of autumn can also trigger allergies for some dogs. These allergens can cause skin rashes and upper respiratory problems. Because of the shape of their heads and nasal passages, bulldogs are especially vulnerable to breathing disturbances brought on by allergies. A bulldog's loose skin is also prone to bacterial infections and dermatitis. Your veterinarian can diagnose and prescribe antihistamines or other therapies to make your dog more comfortable.
Those leaf piles in your yard may look like fun for your new puppy, but if they have been sitting a while, they can harbor mold, bacteria and other decaying substances, which can cause allergic reactions, skin infections, and abdominal upset. Keep the leaf playing to newly fallen leaves.
It may sound like fall is a time to keep your pup inside until the seasonal dangers subside, but different dangers occur throughout every season. Educating yourself so you can provide a safe, yet fun environment all year round is an important part of being a good pet parent and will help ensure a long, healthy and happy life for you and the new little addition to your family.