Halloween Awareness

Halloween can be a fun-filled time of the year for all the family; however, the many unfamiliar sights and sounds can make it a stressful occasion for our pets. Therefore, we have focussed on a few points to be aware of as we approach the day itself:

Hide the treats
One thing about Halloween that never changes is that there are always sweet treats available, but it is important that they are kept away from your pet. Ingredients found in chocolate and sweets are toxic and can be very dangerous if ingested by your pet, therefore, it’s best to keep them out of reach! If you believe your pet has eaten something that is potentially toxic, then please contact us immediately for advice.

Keep them calm
With the potential for fireworks outside, it is common for your pet to become anxious. There are various ways to help ease the stress of the loud bangs and bright flashes for your pets when at home, from pheromone adapters to creating comfy hiding places. You can read more tips on preparing for firework season here.

At a time such as this, it is also important to ensure that your pet is wearing some identification or has been microchipped, which will improve the chances of you being reunited if they do happen to escape. Read more on the importance of microchipping your pet here.


Less is more with costumes
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Halloween for us is the opportunity to don a fancy-dress costume, however the same enthusiasm is not always shared by our pets! Dressing your companion up in a costume can make for a great image for social media, but in most cases, it also causes undue stress for them too. Costumes can restrict their movement or breathing and can also contain parts that could be a choking hazard, therefore we recommend refraining from using costumes.

Be mindful of decorations
You’ve got the treats, and your favourite costume; now all that’s missing are the decorations! We all like to mark the occasion with a range of Halloween props, but with pets around, it is important to be mindful of what, and where, they are. Lanterns, candles and lit pumpkins certainly create the desired effect, but your pet can easily knock them over, causing a fire or burning themselves in the process.

Tweak the routine
We all like routine and familiarity, especially our pets, but knowing the stress that this time of year can bring it might be wise to do things slightly different. Try walking your dog before it gets dark or feeding your pet ahead of the time that fireworks would usually start – allowing for your pet to be back inside and fed before any anxiety might set in.

If you have any concerns or would like any advice with regards to helping your pet during the forthcoming festivities, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Walking your dog safely in autumn and winter

The nights are getting darker and there’s a chill in the air, but your dog still needs regular walks in order to stay fit and healthy. Here are some suggestions to keep both you and your pet safe whilst exercising during the coming months.

Make yourself visible
Lack of daylight sees an increase in traffic accidents, and that includes those involving pedestrians too. Consider wearing a high vis jacket or reflective strips on shoes so that you’re more visible to motorists and invest in a reflective collar or harness and lead for your dog.

Dress appropriately
Autumn weather can be changeable – setting out in the early evening sun can mean getting home in the cold and dark. Wear layers and comfortable shoes. If your dog is a short-haired breed, they may benefit from a winter coat. We’re happy to advise if you need further information.

Be contactable and alert
It’s always a good idea to be able to quickly and easily contact someone in case you need assistance – whether for yourself or your dog – when you’re out walking alone. Ensure your phone is charged before you leave home. Be aware of your surroundings so you can listen for traffic, or other dogs; avoiding headphones and music.

Check underfoot
Look out for items on the floor which could be dangerous to your dog – broken glass underneath leaves, acorns, or conkers which can cause illness when ingested, and holes or obstacles which could injure you or your pet. Stick to known routes and footpaths.

Keeping your pet safe this autumn

As we move from summer to autumn, nature around us changes – greens turn golden, leaves fall and summer flowers give way to berries. As always, there are things we need to be aware of that may affect our pets and their wellbeing. Here are some things to look out for this autumn.

Conkers and acorns

Hunting for conkers is one of autumn’s pleasures – searching through crunchy leaves until you spot a spiky shell or, perhaps, the shiny gleam of one that has already started to open. But if your dog eats one it could be fatal.

Conkers could cause an intestinal blockage due to their size and shape; dogs sometimes need an operation to remove them. All parts of the horse chestnut tree (including the leaves and conkers) contain a chemical called aesculin. If your dog eats enough, it causes sickness, diarrhoea and pain leading to severe dehydration and toxic shock.

Acorns and oak tree leaves are also poisonous to dogs. Acorn poisoning (officially called Quercus poisoning), causes vomiting, diarrhoea (often bloody) and lethargy. Eating acorns can lead to severe liver and kidney problems if not treated promptly. Acorns also present a choking risk and can cause a blockage in the digestive system.

Always keep a watchful eye when walking your dog in autumn, especially in areas dense with horse chestnut and oak trees.

Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI)

This is a relatively new and uncommon condition, the causes of which are unknown. Your dog will show clinical signs roughly 24 – 72 hours after walking in woodland. Symptoms are lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, not eating, muscle tremors and fever (high temperature). Sadly, animals deteriorate quickly and it is usually fatal. As always, if your dog displays any of these symptoms, get in touch with us for advice.

Traffic accidents

Driving on darker nights means poorer visibility for drivers and a higher risk to our pets, especially cats. High-viz, reflective collars make your kitty easier to spot at night. Try to change your cat’s routine during the darker evenings by encouraging them to stay at home, especially during rush hour when roads are at their busiest.

Alabama Rot

Whilst still uncommon in the UK, it’s good to be aware of the symptoms of Alabama rot. The cause is unknown but the main symptoms are sores on your dog’s skin (especially feet and lower limbs) and generally being unwell. The disease affects blood vessels and rapidly causes kidneys to fail. Symptoms of kidney failure include increased thirst, lethargy (extreme tiredness) and vomiting. If your dog shows any symptoms, please call us.

Osteoarthritis

If your cat, dog or rabbit has arthritis, it’s likely to worsen during the colder months. While the reasons for this are unknown, humans with arthritis will testify that the change of season causes intensified pain and stiffness. In pets this may manifest itself in slower movement and increased pain. If your pet has arthritis, ensure you give their medication at the correct dosage and times advised by your vet. Create an extra warm, cosy and comfortable place for them to rest – it can help to put a memory foam pad in their bed to ease pressure on sore joints.

Senior pets, like senior people, are more prone to arthritis. If your pet is showing signs of stiffness and pain, get in touch with us for further advice and to book a health check.

It is important to be aware of the conditions above, however they can be very rare, and there are plenty of benefits associated with taking a walk in the autumn woodland. As always, we’re here to help with any concerns you may have.