How to Keep Your Pets Safe & Happy This Fall

We know that this time of year can be a very busy time for your family, as you return from vacations and the kids head back to school. Amid the chaos of unpacking suitcases and packing lunches, it can be easy to forget about your furry family members. Late summer can pose several health concerns for your pet, but a little planning and preventative care now can go a long way towards keeping your best friend happy and healthy this fall.

Flea and tick season is in full swing this time of year, so please remember to give your monthly preventatives. Fleas and ticks aren’t just a nuisance, they can spread diseases such as tapeworm, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, mycoplasma, and more. However, the chance of your pet getting one of these parasites decreases dramatically after the first frost, and protecting them has never been easier with new products such as Simparica, an oral tablet given every 30 days.
There are also still plenty of mosquitoes this time of year, so make sure to give your heartworm preventives on schedule. Mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks can live in normal suburban backyards, and can easily hitch a ride inside, so it is important to remember preventatives even for pets who spend most of their time indoors.

August and September can bring some extremely high temperatures, and storms can be unpredictable this time of year. Please continue to protect your pet from heat stroke by keeping them out of locked cars, and providing plenty of water, shade, and limited exercise outdoors when temperatures soar. Pets with respiratory conditions such as tracheal collapse, laryngeal paralysis, and short-nosed breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs are particularly vulnerable when heat and humidity rise. Make sure all pets have access to appropriate shelter when severe weather occurs.

People often think of seasonal allergies as mostly a springtime phenomenon, but early Fall is another prime time for allergy symptoms, often manifesting as skin problems in our pets. Please notify your veterinarian if your pet is scratching, licking, shaking its ears, rubbing its face, scooting, or develops a rash. There are some great new allergy medications on the market, which provide faster, stronger relief for your pet and have fewer side effects. It is best to notify your vet at the first sign of an issue, before it becomes complicated by secondary skin and ear infections.

As summer winds down, many people do make final travel, holiday weekend, and school plans. Any change in your pet’s environment, caregivers, or normal routine can cause them stress, which weakens their immune system and makes them more susceptible to illness. Pets that come in contact with other animals through kenneling or travel are more likely to contract infections. Even pets who stay within their own homes may not eat as well, and previously controlled conditions such as diabetes can become a problem while you are away.

The good news is that there are several things you can do help minimize the chances of your pet becoming sick. Please remember to give plenty of notice for refills on your pet’s regular medications before heading out of town, or for any medications that may be needed for motion sickness or travel/noise anxiety. Make sure that vaccinations are up to date prior to kenneling, keeping in mind that it can take 2 weeks after vaccination for your pet to be fully protected. Make sure petsitters have your veterinarian’s information, and that they are authorized to make medical decisions in an emergency if we are unable to reach you. And be sure to give your furry family members a little extra TLC when their summer playmates disappear!