The leaves are changing colors, the sun begins to set a bit earlier, and there is a crisp breeze in the air with the sweet scent of pumpkin spice. It is officially fall y’all!

While the autumn season is a nice break from the humidity and heat, there are some dangers lurking outside. That is why here at The COVE, we are proud to share our fall pet safety tips and how you and your pets can be prepared for an emergency visit.

Bundle Up – It is Getting Cold Out There

Even if we haven’t felt it yet, the weather will start to get cooler, which will be a relief for some of our furriest friends, but it also can be dangerous for smaller and older pets. 

For smaller dogs and short-haired breeds, using a sweater or pet-friendly jacket during cold weather can help keep them warm. During frigid temperatures, (45 degrees or below) limit your pets’ outdoor activities.  Better yet, keep them indoors to prevent hypothermia and other cold-related injuries or illnesses.

For older cats and dogs, the chillier weather can exacerbate arthritis. If you notice a problem with your pet’s joints, make sure to contact your primary care veterinarian to schedule an examination.

The days are beginning to get shorter and that might mean more walks at night. Make sure your dog is always on a leash and wears reflective gear to be easily seen by motorists. For additional cold-weather safety tips, read our blog post, Common Winter Pet Emergencies.

Toxic Fall Dangers

Autumn also marks the beginning of the holiday season, and there will soon be lots of treats and festive decor in and around many pet homes. However, many of these items can be toxic or even deadly for cats and dogs.

Antifreeze is often used to keep cars running smoothly during the colder seasons. However, it is one of the worst offenders when it comes to outdoor toxins, as it smells and tastes sweet to animals. Thoroughly clean up any spills on your driveway or in the garage. Deicers and road salts are equally toxic, so make sure to wipe off your pet’s legs and paws when you come in from a walk.

Jumping into a pile of leaves it is the epitome of fall fun. However, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Additionally, monitor your pets when they are frolicking in the back yard so they don’t ingest small sticks that can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract.

Keep all holiday plants far out of your pets reach. For feline households, it might be better to use artificial plants and flowers. Popular holiday plants like chrysanthemums, holly, and mistletoe can make pets sick, and lilies can cause sudden kidney failure in cats. 

Stash your Halloween candy far away from your pets. Sugar is no better for cats and dogs than it is for us. Additionally, chocolate can be toxic and even fatal, for both dogs and cats. Xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in most candies and even in some peanut butter) can be deadly for dogs – even in minimal amounts. 

If you think your pet may have ingested something toxic, call us at 757-935-9111 or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.

Seasonal Changes

A change in weather and your pet’s environment can cause allergies. If you notice your pet is sneezing or coughing more this time of year, please make an appointment with your primary care veterinarian.

Additionally, one hiding danger to our pets is local wildlife. Snakes are gearing up for hibernation and might be more active and increase the possibilities of bites. On walks, keep your dog on a short leash, away from holes, and if you suspect a snake has attacked your pet, seek immediate medical attention.

Be Prepared for an Emergency

If your dog or cat does suffer an illness or injury this fall, it is always best to be prepared!

  • Keep a pet first-aid kit with you at home and in the car 
  • Save your local animal emergency hospital’s phone number (The COVE 757-935-9111)
  • Have your pet’s vaccines, medical records, and primary care veterinarian information readily available
  • Invest in pet insurance before you need it!  We understand emergencies are unexpected and can be costly; however, most animal insurance policies cover urgent and advanced medical care.

The COVE is OPEN 24/7

You can trust in the care of our Emergency Department, led by Jacqueline Nobles, DVM, DACVECC, a board-certified specialist in emergency and critical care. The COVE is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are located at 6550 Hampton Roads Pkwy, #113, Suffolk, VA. We welcome your call anytime, day or night, at 757-935-9111.

About Us

The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.