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A Dog-Walker’s Guide to Autumn
The leaves are turning, temperatures are dropping and the nights are drawing in. It can only mean one thing; autumn is upon us.
Stay one step ahead by making a few simple adjustments to your dog’s routine, and watch them transition safely into the new season with ease.
Time of Day & Duration of Walks
As the abundance of daylight hours begin to dwindle, it’s time to think about making a few adjustments to your dog’s daily walking routine.
Where possible, it’s best to walk your dog when it’s light outside as the change in daylight hours is known to affect their body clocks.
Disrupted sleeping patterns, particularly common at the beginning of the season, can lead to drowsiness on your walks. This can be disorientating for dogs, especially if their once-familiar surroundings now look a little different at dawn and dusk.
Slightly longer morning walks could be the answer to waking up those lethargic limbs; especially if your four-legged friend has been over-sleeping. However, if your time is limited or your dog prefers shorter walks, playing together before heading outdoors will help to stimulate their brain and increase their energy levels; perfect for bounding through the fallen leaves.
Another advantage of shorter walks is the ability to walk your dog multiple times a day. This helps to regulate their sleeping patterns and keeps them active during sluggish periods, which ultimately helps them to maintain a healthy weight and fitness level.
Cooler climates can be a welcome relief for both dogs and their owners alike, as the risk of overheating from the summer sun greatly reduces and long walks become appropriate once again.
Choose from a wide range of dog-friendly jumpers and coats to keep the crisp autumn air at bay on particularly fresh days, and invest in a reflective lead, or perhaps a light-up collar, to keep your dog safe at all times.
Buying a good quality torch is also a smart move, especially as your dog explores the fallen leaves and that which is buried beneath.
Unfortunately, conkers and acorns pose a poisonous threat to your dog. Not only that but they can cause stomach blockages if eaten by a curious explorer. You should seek medical advice quickly if this happens.
Your four-legged friend might also uncover mushrooms on your walks. Certain types are poisonous to dogs and some are difficult to differentiate, so it’s best to keep them away from all types to be safe.
This shouldn’t deter you from exploring your favourite forest walks, just look out for horse chestnut and oak trees, and keep a close eye on your dog when furrowing in the fallen leaves to avoid ingesting any unwanted seasonal snacks.
Hedgehogs also love settling down for cooler months, so it’s not uncommon to stumble upon one during your daily walks or in your garden at home. While you might not have thought that these prickly creatures pose an immediate threat to your dog, it’s worth noting that they can carry harmful diseases such as salmonella, as well as being a home for fleas and mites. It’s therefore advised to keep your dog well away to minimise the risk of disease.
While nature does its thing, we humans also play a part in a changing landscape for dogs over the autumn months. From strewn Halloween chocolates and sweet wrappers to discarded fireworks, burnt-out sparklers and remnants of our cars’ anti-freeze, we unintentionally leave traces from our seasonal activities that can be of harm to dogs.
We’ve previously shared our advice for keeping your dog safe over Bonfire Night, but we always recommend remaining vigilant on your walks on the days following an event, particularly towards the tail-end of the season.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year to make memories with your dog. Be safe, stay equipped and enjoy it!