One of my favorite ways to enjoy fall in Minnesota is a trip to the Apple Orchard. Minnesotans really know how to do it right; petting zoos, corn mazes, tractor rides, and a lot of apple-centric treats. Many apple orchards welcome dogs, which makes it a great way to include the whole family!
If you choose to bring your dog with you to the apple orchard, be sure to review these seven tips to keep your furry family member safe:
1. Keep your dog on a leash at all times.
There are a lot of machines, people, and animals at apple orchards. This may be overwhelming to your dog. A scared dog may bite or even run away. I can’t think of anything scarier than having a loose dog in a parking lot, country road, or near tractors!
2. Do not approach other dogs on leashes.
Even the friendliest dog may feel more threatened or protective when on a leash. Furthermore, just because your dog is well-trained and friendly does not mean that other dogs are. It is difficult for dogs to obey and follow normal social cues when on a leash and surrounded by new things. A threatened dog may bite, cutting your family fun day short with a not-so-fun trip to the vet.
3. Pack healthy and safe training treats for your dog.
Bring your pet their own treats. Do NOT share your apple brat, hamburger, donuts, or other goodies – these foods could cause irritation of the pancreas or gastrointestinal tract.
4. Monitor what your dog is investigating.
There may be poop on the ground from other animals around that could cause gastrointestinal parasites. Another concern is if your dog eats a rotten apple. This could cause gastrointestinal upset or even make your dog display drunken behavior that will call for a trip to the local animal emergency hospital. Spoiled apples could really sour the fun.
5. Be sure your dog is up-to-date on flea and tick prevention.
We often think of flea and tick season as “summer months” but it is actually April to November. Fleas can transmit tapeworms. Ticks spread many nasty diseases that are not always immediately apparent or easily cured. Those tiny little parasites can cause very big problems so speak to your family veterinarian right away if your pet isn’t on flea and tick preventatives.
6. And speaking of insects, apple orchards are absolute havens for honeybees, who might not take kindly to your dog sniffing around.
While a bee sting may be difficult to prevent, you can use extra caution and watch your dog carefully while around food stands and garbage cans. If your dog does get stung, contact your vet or an animal emergency clinic right away. Just as in people, an allergic reaction to a bee sting can be very mild, or it can be life-threatening, so it’s best to be on the safe side.
7. Check the weather!
Fall storms can come quickly, and many dogs are terrified of thunderstorms due to the loud, sudden noises! If a storm is expected, it’s probably better to plan a trip to the apple orchard with your dog on a sunnier day.
We hope you and your family enjoy apple picking season! If you experience a pet emergency during your apple orchard adventure and your family veterinarian is unavailable, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota is open 24/7, every day of the year!