5 Top Tips to ‘autumn-proof’ you and your Seeing Dog
Autumn is a wonderful time of year, but it presents Seeing Dog owners with the challenge of ‘autumn-proofing’ their four-legged friends.
Here are 5 top tips to help ‘autumn-proof’ your Seeing Dog in the coming months whilst still being able to enjoy the season: –
1. Ticks and parasites
Ticks can still be active in temperatures as low as 44 °F (7 °C). Dogs that live in areas prone to ticks such as around woods, water, and meadows, must be protected against these parasites. This results in fur loss, skin irritation and inflammation. To avoid this, owners should keep away from the kind of environments favoured by harvest mites. These include meadows, lakes and river areas. However, if you don’t want to be restricted to walking the streets during the autumn season, you should ask your vet about gentle but effective preventative measures for your dog.
2. Cold and damp weather
Older seeing dogs and those with less undercoat are especially vulnerable to the cold and damp. It affects their joints and takes some of the fun out of an autumnal walk. In such cases, suitable clothing to protect against colder temperatures is recommended. This clothing should fit well and keep your pet warm, without hindering movement. Protective coats are best used when the dog is exercising, not when guiding, as they can be difficult to fit comfortably under the working harness.
Finally, the length of the walks you take in the cooler weather will depend on your dog. However, whilst you are out, your dog should keep moving and not sit or lie down for any length of time.
3. Be visible!
As summer draws to a close, it gets dark earlier. If you go out with your dog later in the afternoon, make sure your seeing dogs is visible in the dark. Reflective collars, harnesses and leashes are great for this and can help to prevent accidents (e.g., involving cyclists). Long-haired dogs may be better off with reflective vests – unlike collars and harnesses with reflective strips, they won’t be covered up by long hair. And it’s always worth thinking about your own clothing when you’re getting ready for an evening walk – you need to be visible in the dark, too!
4. Be visible and also remember to also check harnesses and leads
As well as being visible, please also remember check your dog’s leads, collars, and harnesses to ensure they are locking and functioning properly and haven’t been damaged by the autumn weather. And when you check your dog’s harness, please make sure all the ‘hi viz’ equipment (harness sleeve, Sam Browne belt or waist coat) is also clean and in good condition. Any replacements can be obtained from our Seeing Dog Mobility Instructor, John Grave, when our users send us their old one.
5. Wipe-down post walk
Remember to wipe your dog’s legs, feet and stomach after a walk as grit from the roads and dampness from rain or snow can cause skin irritation.
Seeing Dogs wishes everyone a wonderful, safe ‘walkies’ this autumn!