Pet healthcare: What you need to watch out for in Autumn

As a Wahroonga vet hospital, we know a thing or two about the weather in the area and the impact it can have on your petcare regime. The impact of seasons on your pet’s healthcare shouldn’t be understated. In summer, you’ll see a lot more tick and flea activity. We also see an increase in heatstroke and beach related injuries and mishaps. As it starts to cool, pet arthritis and mobility issues begin to take the lion’s share of our time.

Autumn is a month where it’s a great time for some prevention for the Winter ahead as well as some specific challenges.

Here’s what any good pet parent should be on the look out for during Autumn and what we see most commonly at our Wahroonga vet hospital

Leaves, dew and those daily outdoor adventures

As a Wahroonga vet hospital, we know a thing or two about the weather in the area and the impact it can have on your petcare regime.

Photo by Dominic QN

Autumn is a time where the mornings are a little chillier and the leaves start to fall. It’s also a time where rain increases and makes it more difficult to keep the lawn trim. While this may not be a consideration for us, it does make a different to your pets.

All cats, dogs and pocket pets like rabbits that make use of the outdoor for their toilet and their entertainment come into contact with leaf litter and moist grass. What most pet owners don’t realise is that these pets have surprisingly delicate skin.

Too much exposure to moisture, stronger blooms of contact weeds you can usually keep better at bay and some leaf litter can cause rashes and irritations.

But there are a couple of easy tips you can institute:

  • Leave an old towel by the backdoor so you can wipe paws and underbellies dry after trips outside
  • Rake the leaves on a regular basis to avoid build up
  • Take a look at the garden for any problem plants or weeds and cordon them off from curious pets
  • Be mindful of the extra moisture in the air and grass. Double check where your rabbit hutch or dog’s outdoor bed may be and make sure they are dry and free of leaf litter

Preparing for chillier days and nights

Your pets probably aren’t great at telling you they are feeling the cold. But your pet will feel the change, especially in the mornings and evenings.

Use Autumn as a preparation time to warm up the bedding and enclosures. It’s also a great time to get ready for everyday life with a pet needing extra heating.

Some simple preparations include:

  • Pulling any jackets and coats out of storage and giving them a good clean
  • Checking any warm pet clothing for signs of wear and tear. And making sure it still fits on your pet- an important consideration with fast growing puppies and kittens
  • Adding extra blankets to beds and packing away any cooling mats
  • Investing in a good all-weather raincoat for your dog and for yourself to minimise the chance of finding an excuse to skip regular walks
  • Adding additional straw to pocket pet enclosures- especially ones for rabbits and guinea pigs housed outdoors
  • Finding a suitable place to shelter against cool breezes and out of the wet weather for any pets that are regularly outdoors

Exercise regimes may change

One of the side effects of cooler months like Autumn and Winter is an increase in weight gain and in pets behaving out of character. This is usually because your pet loses the opportunity to exercise on a regular basis.

We understand that the days are shorter and there is less daylight. And that foul weather and crisp conditions can make the idea of walking and outdoor play time sound less than appealing. But your pets do still need to be exercised and have enough to keep them entertained to help with physical and emotional health.

Sydney has been putting on some crazy weather of late, so it can be hard to judge if it’s a safe option to walk the dog or head to the park. But there are some other ideas you can consider:

  • Look for enrichment toys, puzzles and games – we carry a wide variety of dog and cat toys designed to keep your pet happy and mentally stimulated through enrichment
  • Consider doggy daycare- a regular spot at doggy daycare once a week or once a fortnight can make a tremendous difference to your dog’s physical and mental wellbeing
  • If you’re coming home in the dark, hire a dog walker. There are some great dog walkers in the Wahroonga, Turramurra and Westleigh areas
  • Reduce food intake and seek advice on healthy treating. We offer the pet’s slimmers clinic not only to shed extra weight but to also stop it from happening. If you think your pet will be quieter during the cooler months, making use of diet to regular weight can help you avoid any weight related health issues

Think about mobility

All pets start to have mobility issues as they grow older. Working to prevent these issues as well as taking a proactive approach towards warding off inflammation, arthritis and the soreness of joints can make a massive difference.

Dr Alex has spoken about arthritis prevention before. He and the vet nurses are always available to offer advice on slowing down the progress of arthritis or joint related concerns.

You can also take practical steps towards helping your pet continue to enjoy movement:

  • Add extra layers to bedding and make use of jackets and coats
  • Make use of the anti-inflammation and arthritis prevention medications we stock
  • Take advantage of arthritis checks as part of your regular pet checkups
  • Keep the impact of weight and regular movement in mind. The more extra weight your pet carries or a lack of regular exercise can make mobility issues far worse than they would necessarily be. So making time for regular gentle exercise is a must
  • Consider heating pads, hydrotherapy and physio to help keep muscles and ligaments supple. Dr Alex can advise on what you may need in these regards

Don’t forget, our Wahroonga vet hospital has Dr Alex looking after arthritis and weight management as a preventative measure. And we have Dr Katie as our resident pet skin specialist. Both our vets work hard to ensure your pet doesn’t end up with discomfort and ailments that are commonly seen in the cooler months as a matter of course.

Keep up with other preventative measures

A couple of things that regular get forgotten in the cooler months include:

  • Staying up to date with tick and flea prevention. Just because there’s less activity doesn’t mean there’s no activity! Keeping parasites at bay is a year long process
  • Teeth cleaning. Your pets still need regular dental work. This means check-ups as well as at-home teeth cleaning for cats and dogs. Not to forget dental checks for rabbits.
  • Bathing and dog grooming. Yes, it’s cooler than usual and your pets may be reluctant to hit the showers, but fresh bedding and a clean coat can do a lot for your pet’s health. It also gives you the opportunity to check for skin issues. As always, the Pooch Parlour is available for all puppy dog washing needs

Pet healthcare is a year-long commitment

Ensuring your pets are up-to-date with their prevention is one part of remaining healthy. The other is noticing the sorts of things in your environment that may impact your pet. Including changes like the seasons.

Of course at any time if you are unsure of whether your pet is well or if you need some advice with any of the issues or ideas listed above, feel free to make contact.

You’re always welcome to give us a call on (02) 9489 4805 or drop into our Wahroonga vet hospital during business hours.

And you can pop any questions on Fox Valley Animal Hospital Facebook.


About the Author
Owner and Vet Alex Brittan, Vet Katie Syms and the team of Fox Valley Animal Hospital pride themselves on quality service. Fox Valley Animal Hospital is the one you choose for your family pet when the care your animal receives really matters.