Fall can be a great time to set out on outdoor adventures with your dog. The weather is crisp and cool to keep you and your dog comfortable, and all that beautiful fall foliage is definitely an added benefit.
We’ve gathered some of the best fall hiking tips for dog owners. Keep in mind that many experts recommend keeping your dog on leash at all times for her safety, so go off leash with caution.
Check out these helpful tips and enjoy the great outdoors with your best friend!
A walk in the woods, even in fall, means that your dog could be vulnerable to flea and tick bites. Use a deterrent and check your dog for ticks after a hike.
Consider using a harness specifically designed for hiking or running. Experts report that v-neck harnesses distribute force evenly to keep you and your dog steady. Some also have a handle on the back so you can quickly grab your dog in an emergency.
While it may not be as hot as summer, your dog still needs plenty of fresh clean water to stay hydrated on a fall hike. Bring water and a collapsible bowl along with you on hikes.
Challenging uphill trails can lead to some great views of fall foliage, but long distance/high elevation hikes are not for all dogs…or all people. Know the level of difficulty before you set off on a hike.
Sometimes the weather can change quickly in the fall. Dress in layers and consider a jacket and booties for your dog in case the weather gets nasty. Booties or paw pad balm are always a good idea for rugged trail hikes.
The Veterinary College at Texas A&M University has put out some very helpful tips on how to provide your pet birds with environmental enrichment and mental stimulation.
They report that birds are happiest when given many different forms of enrichment. Not surprising given their intelligence, curiosity, and sociability!
Here are a few tips, but be sure to read the full story for more ideas for your own bird!
Besides regular toys, birds also appreciate objects that provide visual and auditory stimulation like mirrors, music, bells, and rattles.
Birds are sensitive to the texture of objects; some prefer plastic, while some prefer wood or paper.
Birds are color-oriented and may prefer certain colored toys over others (some dislike red!).
Be sure to choose toys that are lead-free and made from safe forms of plastic. Be careful of toys with string as these can harm a bird.
Household objects can also be used as bird toys, such as paper towel rolls and popsicle sticks.
Place your bird’s cage in an area where the outside is visible through a window.
Lots of interaction with you (and even other animals in the home) is a key form of stimulation and enrichment for birds. Pay plenty of attention to your feathered friend. You can even teach it some tricks!
Interested in learning more? Check out this Avian Enrichment blog from the Association of Avian Veterinarians!
A sobering new video produced by Dr. Carrie Turnbull of the Staunton River Veterinary Clinic in Virginia might come as a surprise to many pet owners.
The suicide rate among veterinarians is significantly higher than the rate for the general population. One study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that female veterinarians are 3.5 times and male veterinarians 2.1 times as likely to die from suicide than the general population.
Dr. Turnbull notes in her video that many veterinarians tend to be high-achiever, type A personality types, and they are strongly affected by the stressors inherent in their jobs, such as unsuccessful treatments and patient deaths.
She also notes that vets can experience financial stress and many carry a significant amount of debt for years after veterinary school.
Do you have friends or family in the veterinary profession? Dr. Turnbull recommends checking in with them to see how they are doing and if they are getting the help and support that they need.
You can watch Dr. Turnbull’s video below and learn more about this issue on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website HERE. There is also a Facebook group called Not One More Vet that provides help for vets in need of support.
House rabbits are becoming an increasingly popular pet among animal lovers. Fancy rabbits, such as tiny dwarf breeds, fluffy lionheads, or floppy eared lop breeds, are top choices among rabbit fanciers.
If you’re thinking about adding a floppy eared lop rabbit to your family, check out this new research about the health issues that can go along with lop ears.
A comparison of lop eared versus erect eared rabbits has found that floppy eared rabbits have higher rates of certain ear and dental problems. Specifically, lop eared rabbits are more likely to suffer from
Ear canal stenosis (narrowing of the ear canal)
Cerumen (ear wax buildup) leading to ear infection
Erythema (reddening and inflammation of ear skin)
Molar overgrowth, sharpness, and spurs
These problems can be painful and can negatively impact a rabbit’s overall quality of life, causing hearing loss and difficulty in eating.
Proper ear and dental care are important for all rabbits, and especially for lop breeds. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions about ear and tooth care for your bunny.
The House Rabbit Society offers lots of helpful advice on ear care and dental care on their website as well.
A new research study published in the journal Current Biology has come to a conclusion that cat owners have known all along—cats form strong emotional bonds with their humans!
The authors point out that although studies on canine behavior and cognition far outnumber those on feline behavior and cognition, the research that does exist shows that cats form social bonds with humans and other animals–and the bonds they form with their human caregivers are especially strong.
The researchers in this study observed how kittens in the 3-8 month age range behaved with their owners, then during a brief separation, and finally when they were reunited with their owners.
The kittens were first evaluated and divided into two attachment styles: securely attached and insecurely attached. Then a portion were enrolled in socialization training with their owners. The researchers found that their attachment styles were already strongly developed and did not change much after training.
During the separation/reunion component of the study, the kittens showed roughly the same rates of attachment to their people as both dogs and children. Around 66% were securely attached and 34% were insecurely attached. (Dogs are 58%–42% and children are 65%–35%)
How do cats show secure vs. insecure attachment? All the cats showed distress during the separation phase of the experiment (lots of meowing!) but the securely attached cats showed reduced stress when the caregivers returned. The insecurely attached cats remained at higher levels of stress when their humans returned.
Click HERE to watch a video of some of the cats and owners observed by the researchers. You can see how the cats’ reunion behaviors differ based on their attachment styles.