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Keeping Pets Safe during Fall Fun

The crisp air of autumn is perfect for outdoor fun with your best friend.  Before you strap on the leash on your best friend and head off for the great outdoors, though, be sure to follow these autumn safety tips.

Gear up

A long walk or jog on a trail is twice as exhilarating with a four legged friend.  Both you and your pet should be in adequate physical shape, and the length and difficulty of the terrain should suit your needs. 

The leash should be appropriate for the activity.  If you’re walking, for example, it should be short, and preferably not retractable, ideally with two feet or less between the two of you.  Many professional trainers now recommend a Gentle Leader, which straps over the pet’s nose (these are especially effective for big dogs).  Speak with a trainer or Best Friends associate about finding the proper lead for your activity.  If you are on a street, you should be facing oncoming traffic. This puts the dog, if he is heeling correctly, on your left – away from the traffic.

Practice training

Be sure your dog is well practiced in his basic obedience commands, so he minds his manners if you meet up with other people or dogs.

If there is a scuffle between two dogs, do not get in the middle.  Pull back on your leash and make a loud noise (such as blowing a whistle) to distract the dogs.

No matter how well-trained your dog, don’t walk or run with him off-leash, unless you are in a specified gated pet area. It only takes an instant for a dog to dart off in pursuit of a squirrel or be hit by moving vehicle.

Prevent pests

Of course, all vaccinations should be current.  It is also equally important to maintain a course of pest prevention, such as Frontline Plus.  Ticks thrive in the leaves and brush, and chances are your pet will encounter a few.  Using a preventative product is the best way to safeguard against possible illnesses from these nasty critters.  Your vet will help you choose which product is best for your pet.

Your professional groomer can also help keep your pet pest free. Before grooming, the groomer will examine your pet, searching for any signs of parasites.   The pet’s skin will be thoroughly checked for sores, ticks and fleas.  If anything is found, the groomer can determine the proper medicated shampoos and recommend treatments.

Safety first

Although the calendar says the weather is changing, temperatures and activity levels can still be high, and pets can suffer from heat problems.  Be sure to carry water and offer some to your pet every 20 minutes or so if you are involved in physical activity.

On warm days, watch for signs of overheating, including heavy panting or salivating.  If you see signs of overheating or your dog is panting heavily, stop immediately and cool him down slowly with cool water.