Fall Into Proper Pet Safety!

October 17, 2016

Goodbye Summer … Hello Fall!

October is well underway and the people of Kitsap County often “fall” into two categories.  There are those who mourn the end of summer, clinging desperately to their flip-flops, shorts and sunscreen.  And there are those (like me) who ADORE everything about fall.  I love the changing of the leaves, the crisp, cool mornings, cobwebs laced with dew, and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING!  The days are shorter, the blankets are cozier, and it’s time to break out your parka!

When it comes to fall and our pets, there are a few things to keep in mind! As the seasons change and the days become cooler, it’s a good idea to reassess your pet’s shelter.  For primarily indoor animals, there isn’t much to do, but should you have an outdoor dog or cat, be sure they have a dry, warm and protected space from which to escape the elements.  My husband and I spent some time this past weekend making modifications to our chicken run.  With the use of some recycled roofing panels, we gave the ladies a dry, sheltered space in which to be outside their coop but still protected from fall’s unpredictable elements.

As the days become shorter, many of your morning and evening dog walks will take place in the dark.  As such, be sure to have reflective or illuminated gear for both you and your pup.  Whether it’s a reflective vest or an illuminated harness, you’re sure to be more visible to oncoming traffic with the right after-dark apparel.  As with any new gear, check for appropriate fit prior to your walk, and watch for signs of rub and chafing upon your return home.  And if hiking is something you and your dog enjoy, be sure you’re both wearing the appropriate bright colors, as October and November are peak hunting season.

Two major holidays take place between now and the end of November, and each poses its own risks to our pets.  Nothing is more fun at Halloween than watching costumed kiddos come up and down our front walk, ringing the bell and asking for treats.  Since I anticipate opening my front door numerous times throughout the evening, I keep my three dogs safely contained in my bedroom with chew toys and soft music playing. My cat Izzy has a wonderful set-up in our bathroom and cozies up on her cat tree, door closed, for the night.  Keeping animals secured in a safe, comfortable space is very important on the evening of October 31.  Also, be sure to discard or (eat!) any undistributed candy, as chocolate is toxic to dogs and sugar/sugar substitutes can be dangerous.

Thanksgiving is a day for friends, family and feasting.  If you’re hosting the festivities, be sure to keep your pets in mind! Although a few small pieces of boneless, cooked turkey might be enjoyed, don’t let your pets overindulge.  Avoid raw yeast doughs, desserts and cooked turkey bones as these can all cause medical emergencies in our furry family members.  Also, be sure to have safe spaces for your pets to retreat should the noise and bustle become overwhelming.  Monitor the interactions between your pets and the kids in the family, ensuring they’re safe and respectful on both sides.

With its inclement weather and the busyness of the holidays, fall is a great time to be sure your pets are properly tagged and your license and microchip information is up-to-date.  Just in case your pet runs off during an unexpected wind storm, or slips out the door on Halloween, be sure your pet is wearing an appropriate collar with an updated name/contact info tag.  If your pet is microchipped (I highly recommend it!) be sure the microchip is registered to your current address and phone number.  And keep your county-required license up-to-date (for more info, visit http://www.kitsap-humane.org/programs-services/licensing/). These three things will ensure a more timely and successful reuniting with your missing furry family member.

This October, I hope you and your pets are able to embrace fall in all its wonder. After a long autumnal walk, sip your pumpkin spice latte and snuggle up together under cozy blankets.

Happy fall, y’all!

-By Kimberly Cizek-Allen, KHS Events and Outreach Assistant Coordinator

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