Now that summer is well and truly over for another year it’s time to look at some of the issues facing our pets this autumn.
As temperatures start to drop and the nights begin drawing in, it’s extremely important to remember to continue (or even start!) decent anti-parasitic treatments to prevent problems associated with annoying fleas.
These tiny wingless insects are always such a major cause of irritation to both pets and their owners and, with our centrally-heated homes, are now a proper year-round menace!
Tiny orange harvest mites (pictured) may also be seen on our pets around this time of year too. These very seasonal parasites are picked up from long grasses – tending to congregate on the ears, eyelids, feet and even the underside of your pet’s tummy.
Like fleas, these mites can cause intense itchiness in susceptible individuals at this time of year – with itchy, crusty lesions developing on all affected areas.
Now is also the time to start planning for the upcoming firework season. Clever desensitization CD’s can cure your pets’ firework phobias and can be effective in preparing your petrified pet for possibly the most traumatic time of his or her year.
Please seek individual veterinary advice for your pet, and try not to leave it till the last minute to organize sedatives; of course always keep pets indoors in the evenings to avoid firework injuries.
Many car owners will also be getting ready for the winter. Antifreeze – commonly used in car radiators – is a very tasty to our inquisitive pets (especially cats) and extremely poisonous. If ingested, even small amounts will cause serious irreversible kidney damage and usually death.
To all you tortoise-owners out there – please start thinking about ensuring that your pets are more-than-adequately prepared for hibernation if they are a species that need it.
It’s all too easy to forget how quickly our pets gain years too so please don’t forget that older dogs and cats tend to feel their joints more in the cold weather, and make sure they have plenty of warm bedding, and adequate pain relief or joint supplements if necessary.
Look for any changes in mobility or even lameness and get your vet to check them if they seem to be getting stiff or sore – there’s a whole range of safe treatments available that will make the forthcoming months a lot more bearable.
And finally, when your beloved pet is all safe and sound and ready for autumn, if, like me, you live in/around Brighton remember to make sure you take time out to watch the starlings over the piers, as they prepare to roost.
This mesmerizing swirling murmuration of starlings (below) can usually be observed at sunset, and must truly be seen to be believed.