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 2014, Updated November 2021
Dogs in Autumn

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. 

Learn: Sign up for obedience, agility or another canine-centric activity, and crack open the Internet to expand your dog-cog information base.

Refresh: 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.

Volunteer: 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.

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Foster: Partial to a particular breed? See if its local rescue group needs foster homes for dogs-in-waiting. Better yet, make the same offer to your shelter.

Unwind: Give doga a try; get out the yoga mat and do a few downward-facing dogs with your in-house dogini.

Leaf Peep: Fall-color hot spots abound; google “fall foliage” for your region, then hit the road, co-pilot 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.

Light Up: 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.

Look Up: 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 furry friend checks her p-mail).

Freeze Up: 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.)

Plan Ahead: 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.

Get Started: Winter and its seasonal celebrations are coming, so put on your DIY hat and make something special. Knit a sweater, felt a woolen ball, crochet a colorful dog bed, assemble a keepsake book.

PS: Stay safe. Along with summer heat’s last hurrah come potentially dangerous blue-green algae blooms, particularly in freshwater lakes and streams. Read up on their hazards at petpoisonhelpline.com.

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 79: Fall 2014

Photo: Adobe Stock

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