Fall Preparation for Dogs
By: Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna
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According to Starbucks, September is the month of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which hails the beginning of fall. And though it is sunny and 85 degrees here in northern Virginia, I have to admit fall is coming. Kids are back in school, and (importantly) college football is back. But with seasonal changes come some changes for your dog as well, so take a look!
Calorie Adjustments: Many of us return to school, or have changes in our routine starting the in the fall. The long days of sunshine give way to after-school routines, often shortening our time at home. This change can lead to less exercise for your pet, and fewer calories burned. If this sounds familiar, you have a few options:
- Talk to your vet about adjusting the amount of food you give your dog. You do not want to overfeed her (which leads to obesity).
- Schedule longer walks, or hire a dog walker to ensure she is getting enough time to exercise and play.
- Check your Voyce data to get an objective evaluation of how much less exercise she is getting. You can use this information to help guide food, treat, and exercise choices.
New Activities: Once the weather starts getting a bit cooler (around October for us in Virginia) a whole new list of outdoor activities become more feasible. Instead of going swimming, we take Sophie for hikes in the woods. Just remember to keep your dog up-to-date on flea and tick prevention, as well as heartworm prevention. Cooler weather doesn’t remove parasite risk!
Different Treats: Growing up in the South, fall has always been a time for rich foods and baking in my family. This includes the dogs too! I enjoy making delicious treats for Sophie, usually flavored with pumpkin (of course!). A number of healthy recipes are available online, as well as on the Voyce website. Just remember that too many cookies are not good for dogs, or people. And use caution with rich, or spicy foods. While they may be delicious, rich foods could lead to pancreatitis in dogs, so avoid fatty treats. Fresh veggies, such as green beans and carrots, make much healthier treats.
Holiday and Winter Planning: If you predict you will be traveling for the holidays, now is the best time to book your pet’s flights or travel accommodations, including boarding. Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons are peak for travel, for humans and for pets. Early booking also allows you to discuss any concerns with your veterinarian, such as updating vaccines or motion sickness.
So enjoy the (hopefully) cooler weather with your PSL and your pup. And watch some football for me!