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Pup Prep: Autumn To Do List

As late summer’s dog days drift into fall, prepare your pup for the season.

by Susan Tasaki
October 27, 2021
woman and dog play in fall leaves
Photo: Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

Sunny, crisp days and aromatic leaf piles inspire dogs to leap into the season. As late summer’s dog days drift into fall, it’s time to try something new. Here are six fun ideas to try with your dog this autumn.

Learn New Skills

Sign up for obedience, agility, or another canine-centric activity, and crack open the Internet to expand your dog-cog information base. Give doga a try; get out the yoga mat and do a few downward-facing dogs with your in-house dogini.

Volunteer & Foster

Stop by your local shelter and offer yourself as a dog walker, or a dog talker; dogs benefit from having someone sit nearby and talk (or read) to them. Or if you’re partial to a particular breed see if a local rescue group needs foster homes for dogs-in-waiting. Better yet, make the same offer to your shelter.

Plan Vacations Early

Popular dog-friendly resorts and vacation venues fill up fast; make your holiday reservations now. Or, if you know, you’ll be traveling sans dog, reserve time in your favorite pet sitter’s schedule. Try to find fall-color hot spots. Google “fall foliage” for your region, then hit the road, dog in the car, and camera at hand. Or stay home and rake leaves into billowy piles for your dog to jump into … then rake them up again.

Enjoy Fall Foods

Fall is prime time for pumpkins, one of canine nutrition’s high-antioxidant, high-soluble-fiber wonder foods. Puree fresh cooked pumpkin and freeze it in silicone ice cube trays or muffin tins for future meals. (Organic produce seems to provide more good-guy antioxidants, so go organic when possible.)

Watch Dark Skies

Days are getting shorter; make sure you’re visible on late afternoon or early-evening walks. Put new batteries in your flashlight and invest in reflective vests: one for you, one for the pup. Sirius, the Dog Star, is the night sky’s brightest, and easy to spot (plus, stargazing is a good way to pass the moments while your pup checks their p-mail).

Start Fresh

Toss the flattened stuffies and stock up on new chewables, DIY a toy storage box, or take the washable pooch bed to a commercial laundry and fluff it up. Winter and its seasonal celebrations are coming, so put on your DIY hat and make something special.

Stay Safe

Along with the summer heat’s last hurrah, there are a few common autumn dangers for pups to watch out for.

  1. There are potentially dangerous blue-green algae blooms, particularly in freshwater lakes and streams.

  2. Oaks and acorns are prevalent amongst the fall foliage. Keep an eye on your pup around these as they are toxic if ingested.

  3. Piles of moldy leaves could cause a stomach ache if ingested. Remember, playing in leaves is fun, but don’t allow your pet to eat them.

  4. Watch out for abandoned candies from holiday festivities that may contain

    chocolate or xylitol which are both toxic to dogs.

  5. Antifreeze is another common fall toxin for dogs that you might find during your morning walks. Keep an eye on your dog and discourage any scavenging.

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Susan Tasaki

Freelance writer Susan Tasaki lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.