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Autumn has returned, and with it, the perfect opportunity to assess how your pet’s needs have evolved since last fall. Depending on your pet’s size and breed, they have aged between 4 and 8 years since the previous autumn. It’s astonishing how this passage of time can impact our pets, but it doesn’t have to diminish their comfort or enjoyment.

Seasonal Care for Dogs

Dogs, especially those with longer fur, can benefit from a trim as fall approaches. At the very least, consider trimming the fur that tends to creep out between their toes, providing them with better traction as they navigate the changing terrain. If your senior dog finds it challenging to stand for a full grooming, consult your veterinarian about the possibility of foot trims performed by their staff. With freshly trimmed feet, those walks that might have been put on hold during the summer heat can resume. You might even notice that your dog prefers a new route to the same old path. Variety in their walks can be highly engaging for dogs of all ages. Before heading back home, be sure to inspect their feet and lower legs for any plant debris that may have become embedded in their skin, and remove it to prevent discomfort.

Seasonal Care for Cats

fAs autumn settles in, the beloved “sun puddles” that cats enjoyed over the summer tend to disappear earlier in the evening. Consider providing your indoor feline companions with cat beds that can be heated or that reflect their own body heat, making them an inviting addition to your fall decor. Placing these beds in spots with excellent bird views can provide hours of entertainment for your curious kitties. Also, keep in mind that as the warm months bid farewell, wand toys can replace the excitement and exercise that flying pests like moths and flies brought during the summer.

Creating an Engaging Environment

Both cats and dogs benefit from a stimulating environment that engages their senses. Open windows when the weather permits or cook savory dishes to fill your home with enticing scents that pique their curiosity. However, exercise caution with essential oil diffusers, as the oils can be harmful to your pets, especially those with sensitive respiratory systems. Additionally, minimize noise pollution, as loud and sudden sounds can be distressing for older pets, particularly those dealing with arthritis pain.

Pet-Friendly Chores

Consider your pet’s preferences when undertaking fall chores. Leaf blowing and sprinkler blowouts, while necessary, might be stressful for your pets. Take steps to minimize their exposure to these activities when possible.

As the temperature cools and the leaves change, fall becomes an ideal time for extra snuggles with your furry companions. The cozy atmosphere created by cooler temperatures offers the perfect backdrop for quality time with your aging pets.

We wish you and your pets a fabulous fall season filled with warmth, comfort, and cherished moments together. Happy fall, y’all.

Written by: Dr. Kerry Muhovich, Caring Pathways Veterinarian

Dr. Muhovich is a graduate of Colorado State University veterinary school. She has worked in various areas of veterinary medicine, including shelter medicine, animal behavior, general practice, teaching techs, and end of life care. She has found her career home in end of life care. Dr. Muhovich is certified in canine rehabilitation, fear free, and low stress handling.

Dr. Muhovich loves serving her clients and patients in the comfort of their homes. She loves all cats and dogs, and is honored to help pets in need.

Mandi Browning
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Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice

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