Autumn days with dogs.

Behold! The lavish and golden season, with cascades of multi-coloured leaves laying themselves softly down like cozy duvets over the cooling earth.  Autumn can be an ethereal time of year with deep shadows, moody skies and contrasting lights; a wonderful season to be exploring in the great outdoors with a dog at your heel.

Autumn heralds milder conditions which are perfect for hikes in the countryside with the prospect of a hot drink and the warming of toes by the fire when you return.  Walking in the cooler months means a break from worrying that your dog may become over heated and now is the time to think about your winter woolies and footwear; maybe treat yourself and your dog to a warm new coat!

Autumn is an important season in the farming calendar because this is the time when livestock will be mating to produce spring calves and lambs.  As at any time of the year, it’s important to make sure your dog is under close control around farm animals because sadly, females can abort their unborn offspring if they are spooked or stressed.

Towards the end of September, as the nights begin to draw in and summer fades away, it may mean that dog walking times have to be changed.  If you’re not able to walk your dog in daylight hours, now’s the time to invest in some reflective clothing, collars and leads so that you are clearly visible when exercising your pooch.

Who doesn’t like swishing through fallen autumn leaves?!  Children, dogs and adults alike, love the joy of kicking up piles of crunchy golden leaves – just beware of hazards such as doggy poop, which may be present in popular areas, or even snoozing hedgehogs!  If you’re collecting conkers too, just be aware that they are poisonous to dogs.

Autumn is generally a quieter season for dog walking spots so while during the summer many beaches, for instance, have a dog ban, these are generally lifted between September and April each year, and you may even find you are able to have a whole stretch of sand to yourself!  Just perfect for a blustery autumnal walk, or on warmer days, perhaps even a cheeky dip in the sea.

The downside of autumn is that it does bring with it more wet weather and more mud, much of which may very well stick to your dog!  After autumnal walks in the countryside, check your dog’s coat for debris; perhaps stock up on some dog friendly shampoo and have a good stock of dog towels at the ready.

Perhaps also consider some new household items which will cut down on the mud and mess brought into the house in autumn and winter months.  Dirt trapper type mats can be a godsend, especially the type that can be thrown in the washing machine.  Perhaps consider the layout of your home and set up a cozy corner where your dog can warm up and dry off after a long autumnal walk.  Provide him with a high sided bed, or covered crate and extra bedding, especially if he is getting on in years, as he will appreciate and need to settle in a draught free area.

Sometimes we can be a bit less enthusiastic to venture out when the weather turns cooler, but there is still plenty to do and see and dogs especially love the different scents to investigate that a change in the season brings.  While nature may be winding down for a while, it’s still an invigorating and exciting time to be out and about, exploring the great outdoors.