Texas Tech University

RaiderVet Expert Corner: Fall Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Weston Brooks

September 27, 2023

Walking Dog During Autumn

This School of Veterinary Medicine professor has some important tips to keep your pets safe during the fall season.

The fall season has officially arrived, bringing weather changes, the holiday season, delicious food and even some unusual little critters.   

As pet owners, it's important to make sure you keep your pet safe during the fall season. Trista Mills, assistant professor of general veterinary practice at Texas Tech University's School of Veterinary Medicine, has a few important pet safety reminders to share with pet owners. 

Tip #1: Beware of Snakes

The Texas Panhandle is home to many different types of snakes. Dogs and cats are curious creatures and will investigate these critters. Though many think snakes disappear once the weather turns, the fact is bites are seen year-round. 

Mills can say that even the holidays aren't safe as she has seen a snake-bitten patient on Christmas Eve. If you suspect your pet has been bit, please seek medical care for them as soon as possible. 

Tip #2: Hiking Considerations

Remember when out hiking, it is still hot out and having access to water is paramount to keeping your pet healthy. Further, there are many things your companion can step on while out and about. Hiking booties are a great investment to keep your pooch from having a painful encounter with nature's version of Legos.

Tip #3: Ectoparasites

Fall is a great time of year for animals and bug critters alike to be out and about. To keep your pet from acquiring new, unwanted housemates such as fleas, please acquire anti-parasitic preventatives from your veterinarian.

Tip #4: Weather Considerations

The weather tends to be finnicky this time of year. Be prepared and consider the weather when you take your animal out and about. Car sitting is strongly discouraged and may result in fatal overheating even this time of year. 

For the colder days, some of our thinner furred friends may appreciate a coat or jacket to brave the elements. Plus, they look adorable.

Tip #5: Get Togethers

Nicer weather usually means more food-based gatherings. Be aware of where your animals are during these events and where the leftover food and food paraphernalia such as used aluminum foil, skewers, toothpicks, and other similar objects are. Ingestion of these foreign objects can be fatal at the worst and a serious inconvenience at the least. 

Tip #6: Sweet Tooth: Halloween Precautions

It's not just children that are all about the Halloween loot. Your furry friends also can overindulge. 

Milk chocolate isn't as much of a scary thing as once was taught. In fact, small amounts will not harm your dog. However, the wrapping paper or aluminum that encases the delectable yummies can cause impactions in our companions. 

An even scarier treat is gum. The sweet additive xylitol found in gum can actually prove to be fatal as it causes insanely low glucose levels which can result in seizures, and in severe cases, death. If your pet gets into the Halloween treasure, it's strongly encouraged to seek medical attention either through the pet poison hotline or with a vet visit. 

Tip #7: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of gluttony not just for us, but for our critters too. Don't forget to dispose of any delectables in a trashcan well out of reach from your pets. If you truly just can't get through the holidays without sharing some of the yummies, stick to skinless, boneless meat morsels. 

The skins have an abundant amount of fat that can cause in the least diarrhea and at worst pancreatitis, which is a disease process often requiring a lengthy hospitalization stay. Bones, unfortunately, can result in surgery or septic peritonitis due to the sharp points creating punctures in the intestines. If you ever have a concern about your pets' eating habits, please reach out to your veterinarian.