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Autumn/Winter Safety Tips

Be aware of potential hazards during the Autumn- Winter months

Our wee, two-year-old Border Collie, "Fern", loves playing with the leaves in our garden. However, she has had itchy, watery eyes throughout this Autumn season so far. Bathing her eyes twice a day has helped this. However, she did have a secondary conjunctivitis, so she did have to have some antibiotic eye ointment applied to clear this up. 

The autumn heavy, leaf fall with leaves and seeds flying around, can cause some eye irritations at this time of year, due to contact allergies to leaf and tree pollens. Bathe your dog’s eyes gently with cotton wool pads soaked in tepid water after they have been out playing around leaves. The damp wet autumn days and heavy leaf fall can also cause, and exacerbate, some allergic skin conditions. So, keep a regular check on your pet’s skin and bathe down and check their legs, paws, and abdomen for any signs of inflamed skin or rashes.  

Also, be aware of other potential hazards during the Autumn- Winter months:  

There are many activities and products that are used more often in these seasons that are potentially dangerous or poisonous to our pets... 

Slug pellets contain Metaldehyde, which is extremely poisonous to all pets, so please avoid using these in your garden. Symptoms are severe twitching, fitting, diarrhoea, vomiting, excessive panting, uncoordinated walking, and muscle tremors. If your pet is showing any of these signs take your pet to the vet immediately. 

Similarly, anti-freeze products contain Ethylene Glycol, which is also extremely poisonous to pets. So, if you are getting your car ready for winter, remember just how deadly this is. There is a substance in anti-freeze that is highly palatable, so keep this product well out of reach from all your pets, as given a chance they will lick it. 

This time of year, encourages small wild rodents to seek warmer shelter. Please do not leave any rodent poisons down in garages or sheds where your pets have access them, these can also be fatal to your pets if eaten. 

The Fireworks season seems to be getting longer each year, and can now sadly extend from Bonfire night right through to New Year! This be an extremely stressful time for all our pets. Contact your Vet practice for advice on dealing with Fireworks phobias. 

Problems with fleas can increase over the Autumn-Winter period, especially so when the central heating is switched on. Make sure you use good, regular flea and tick control treatments, and do use these year-round. 

Check your car before driving off in the winter months, as cats do tend to curl up on top of tyres or near the engine where it may still be warm. If you cat enjoys being outdoors, then make a safe, cosy place for your cat to sleep in with some warm bedding, in an area free from drafts and raised up from floor level, and do try to keep them in overnight. 

Even with shorter daylight hours and the worsening weather, your pet dog still needs regular daily, adequate exercise. Due to the weather changes, your dog is unlikely to get the same level of exercise that he had during the summer. Do be aware that if your dog does not have enough activity and mental stimulation, often any underlying behavioural problems may be exacerbated. Remember too that if your dog is now getting less exercise during the week, his fitness levels will not be as high as in the summer months, so build up his exercise levels gradually at the weekends, or he may suffer joint injuries if you suddenly exercise him too much. 

Remember too, to "be safe be seen"...If you are walking your dog in the dark , early in the morning or after work, use a reflective jacket or arm bands for yourself and also a reflective collar, or lead, for your dog. If you do want your dog to run off lead, you can purchase small flashing lights that are attached to your dog’s collar or harness so that you can see where he is. Also always carry a good hand torch with you with plenty of power so that you can safely see your dog and your planned travelling route. Avoid using headphones when you are walking to ensure that you can hear and keep yourself and your dog safe. Always let someone know where you are going and how long you expect to be. Carry some identification with you and a mobile phone in case you need to call someone in an emergency, and always keep to a route you know well. 

If you have any concerns about your pets health during the Autumn-Winter months, do contact your Veterinary practice for good professional advice. 


Alison Laurie-Chalmers, 

Senior Consultant. 

Crown Vets

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