While the changing of seasons may be subtle in California, it can affect our pets’ lives in major ways. There’s actually a lot more to consider than just cold weather this time of year! To prevent pet emergencies during the holidays, here are a few autumn pet care tips from our emergency vet in Mission Viejo.
Pet-Proof the Holiday Decor
Halloween and Thanksgiving are extremely popular holidays here in Mission Viejo and chances are, at least a few of your neighbors are showing their spirit through festive decor in their homes and yards. Perhaps you may even be sporting a jack-o-lantern or some cobwebs outside your door!
We love seeing these spirited decorations, but we want pet owners to be cautious about what they place in reach of their animals. For example, the prickly hairs on a pumpkin can hurt your dogs and cats if they try to chew or play with the gourd. Candles can easily get knocked over by pets and cause painful burns or fires. Cats can also get tangled up in wreaths, lights, or cobwebs if they have mistaken them for string or toys.
To keep your pets from accidentally getting hurt or ingesting something toxic, pet-proof your decor. Place them on high shelves where they are out of reach from your animals. Pumpkin stems can be wrapped in ribbon to keep your dogs and cats from chewing on the spiky exterior. Also remember to keep items that are small enough to choke on safely stowed away. That includes holiday snacks such as nuts, popcorn, chocolate, and alcohol!
Take Advantage of Shorter, Cooler Days
For brachycephalic dogs, autumn is the perfect time to get in some much-needed exercise! Summers in Mission Viejo can get pretty hot and owners may avoid going on walks or hikes with their dogs since those can lead to heatstroke emergencies. Now that the weather is substantially cooler, however, owners don’t have to worry about their dogs struggling to breathe or regulate their body temperature.
Autumn signals not only cooler weather but also shorter days. Since it gets darker earlier during this time of year, we do encourage owners to be extra careful at dusk and dawn. Darkness and fog can make it harder for people operating vehicles to see people and their pets. If you live in an area of Mission Viejo with few street lights, you may want to get a reflective leash or flashlight to avoid any visits to the emergency vet.
Be Cautious of Seasonal Pests
During the colder months, our homes are the perfect cozy sanctuaries from strong winds and rain. Unfortunately, wild animals know that, too. Creatures that normally thrive outdoors may seek shelter in your garage or basement. Common animals that may dwell in your Mission Viejo neighborhood include opossums, raccoons, rabbits, rats, feral cats, and skunks. Occasionally, you may see coyotes and bobcats, but they’re quite rare to come across. There are also a lot of seasonal bugs and insects that can spread dangerous illnesses to your pets, such as bed bugs, cockroaches, stink bugs, and even mosquitoes!
To keep these pests out of your house, block off any entrances into your home. Make sure doors and windows are securely closed and check for holes, drafts, etc. These creatures thrive in clutter, so get ready for some winter cleaning! Clear out your closets and wash your bedding thoroughly before and after you go on any holiday vacations.
If you or your neighbors decide to use pest traps, keep your dogs and cats away from them. These traps usually include toxic chemicals that can be harmful to your furry friends. Also, try to discourage your pets from their natural hunting tendencies. While rats are no match for your fierce feline, they may be carrying deadly diseases
Supervise Outdoor Activity
It goes without saying that you should always be supervising your pets when you let them outside and you probably are! However, the change in landscape does necessitate a little more caution outdoors. All the dead foliage and fallen leaves may be fun to crunch, but when they aren’t cleaned up, they become the perfect place for mold and bacteria to accumulate in. To protect your pets from inhaling or eating these harmful substances, make sure to rake them up and dispose of them properly!
As the temperature drops, you’ll also want to make sure your dogs and cats are staying warm. This isn’t a huge problem in Mission Viejo since our city is located in sunny California, but it is something worth noting! If you have outdoor pets, give them extra blankets and pillows.
Make an Appointment with the Vet
The cold can compromise your pets’ immune system. To ensure your pet doesn’t get into a veterinary emergency, make an appointment with the vet for a preemptive checkup. The vet will help you keep your pet healthy and strong throughout the season. Unfortunately, some accidents are unforeseeable and unpreventable. If your pet does have a veterinary emergency, Bright Care Emergency Animal Hospital provides emergency services for animals 24/7. We’re available all night and on holidays, so your pet can get assistance immediately. Our emergency vet in Mission Viejo is happy to help anytime, so just give us a call if you need to stop by.