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Cats and Dogs, Critter Chatter, Healthcare, Safety

CRITTER CHATTER: Getting Ready for Fall

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

golden retriever laying in fall leaves

The falling leaves drift by my window

The autumn leaves, of red and gold

Eric Clapton Autumn Leaves

It’s 79° here in Vermont with clear blue skies and light winds from the Northwest – a perfect day to sail, yet Starbucks just emailed me declaring that “August 27 is the first day of fall.” I also received a coupon book today from Ace Hardware full of “fall savings,” so it must be time to prepare your pets for cooler temperatures and long, pleasant walks among colorful foliage and damp morning grass.


In some areas of the country, temperatures drop quickly once fall arrives. Don’t leave your pets outside for extended periods in the late evenings and early mornings. It doesn’t have to be winter for puppies, elderly pets or small animals to get chilled quickly. Make sure they have a well-insulated doghouse or a blanket on the porch available.

Fall is the beginning of hibernation season, and many wild animals such as skunks bears and even snakes are out and about getting ready for their winter snooze. Be particularly careful when walking in the woods or letting your dog out after dark. If your dog barks at something you can’t see, it could be a wild animal.

Allow your dog’s coat to grow, especially if trimmed closely in the warmer weather. You need a warm coat for the fall and so does your pet. Regular brushing will reduce mats.


Halloween and Thanksgiving are always times to keep an eye on the candy dish – especially chocolate – and fatty foods or holiday goodies that your pet does not normally consume. But there are other times that you need to be just as attentive in keeping your dog or cat safe, especially when outside.

School has begun (as evidenced by the outbreak of yellow buses with blinking red lights). This means school supplies are suddenly appearing in households all over the country. Glues, permanent markers, and pencils can cause great harm to inquisitive animals. Make sure that your children’s school projects are not accessible to your dogs and cats, especially the white pasty glue that I always thought tasted pretty good.

Fall is a prime season for mushrooms and although most are non-toxic, dogs should be kept from ingesting any wild mushroom. Bloody diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and even liver failure and death are evidence of mushroom toxicity.

Make sure any anti-freeze is stored away from an inquisitive dog or cat. It is sweet-tasting and quite appealing, especially to cats, and ingestion can result in kidney failure and even death.


Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you should stop checking your dog for ticks. Damp piles of leaves are great places for these blood-sucking parasites. It’s a good idea to keep a flea and tick repellent collar year-round, especially in warmer climates. Don’t let your guard down on mosquitoes, either.

Check your pet’s identification tags and microchip to make sure all contact information is up-to-date. This is also a good time to make sure that vaccinations are current.

Fall is a wonderful and exhilarating time of the year when all family members, including your pets, can enjoy a walk in autumn leaves of red and gold.

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a vet and his dogABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden Doodle named Charlotte.

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