Fall — it’s officially here! The foliage is starting to change, the air is getting crisper, days are becoming shorter, and the festive feelings of Halloween and Thanksgiving are in the air. But, along with the beauty of the season come some potential fall hazards that all pet parents should be aware of.
As the days are getting shorter and cooler, mother nature’s little outdoor critters will begin looking for some temporary fall and winter housing to call home. Mice and rats are notorious for trying to get inside garages, basements, attics, and sheds as they search for a cozy place to call home. To avoid unwanted little tenants, many households put out rodent poisons. If you use these poisons anywhere in your home, make sure to keep them hidden and far out of the reach of your canine kids. These chemical formulas are toxic and potentially deadly for your pooch.
2. Mushroom Poisoning
Mushrooms have a habit of popping up around this time of the year. While not all mushrooms are poisonous, it can be hard to tell which ones are safe. For this reason, it’s best to consider all mushrooms growing in your yard or out in nature poisonous for Fido. If you see mushrooms growing in your yard, pick them from the root and throw them out. Scan your yard for them frequently as mushrooms seem to pop up overnight.
If your pooch does munch on a mushroom, call your vet immediately. Mild toxicity can cause gastrointestinal upset, like vomiting and diarrhea. Severe toxicity can cause neurological, kidney, and liver damage, or even death depending on what type of mushroom was eaten.
Who else loves seeing the various colored mums in fall? While they may be pretty, pet parents beware! These flowers are toxic to your dog. If your pooch ingests any part of the chrysanthemum plant it can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, unsteady uncoordinated movements, and skin rashes.
4. Autumn Crocus
Any part of this plant is extremely toxic to your dog. It can cause multi-system organ damage to the lungs, stomach, kidneys, liver, and nervous system. Symptoms can include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, weakness, seizures, and even death.
5. Halloween Candy
Whether your kiddos will be coming home with a big bag of goodies this Halloween or you just have a big bowl of candy waiting by the door for the little ghosts and goblins to arrive – that candy can be a ticking time bomb for Fido. According to Pet Poison Helpline, “During the week of Halloween, calls to the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline increase by 12 percent, making it the call center’s busiest time of year.”
Remember: Chocolate is highly toxic and can be deadly to your pooch. Pet Poison Helpline writes, “The four most common food-related Halloween hazards for pets are chocolate, candy overindulgence, raisins, and candy wrappers.”
6. Thanksgiving Feast
I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t love over-indulging in a Thanksgiving feast! And while tossing your pooch a few table scraps is tempting, it’s important to remember that the Thanksgiving table is filled with not-so-good-for-your-pooch foods.
In order to help keep your pup safe, it’s a good idea to ask your guests not to feed him anything from the table. Many traditional Thanksgiving foods are loaded with fats, onions, seasonings, and spices that can be harmful to a dog. If it makes you feel good to give your pooch a treat from the table then I recommend preparing something extra special for Fido to feast on. I’ve included a link to 4 easy pumpkin-based recipes that are bound to make your pup’s tail wag!
7. The Creatures Hiding In A Pile Of Leaves
While your pooch probably loves to frolic in a big pile of fall leaves, did you know that there are lots of hidden hazards that might be lurking inside? Here are a few examples:
- Fleas and ticks are very active in the fall and they can often be found in the grass or a pile of leaves and brush. They’ll patiently wait for a host to jump onto to live and reproduce. Fido’s warm furry body can be a cushy place for a flea or tick to call home.
- Bacteria, fungus, molds, and parasites can also be lurking in and beneath the fallen and decaying leaves. If your pooch is playing in the leaves, make sure he doesn’t eat them, he could get very sick.
- Snakes could also be a hidden hazard of a leaf pile. They are masters at camouflage and always like a good hiding spot. Be aware of what snakes are in your local area and always pay attention to this as a possible danger when running through a leaf pile.
- Spiders are another hidden hazard that could be lurking beneath a pile of leaves. Consider it a hunting ground for where they can find other insects to eat. Make sure you know which spiders are local to your area. I happen to live in the southeastern United States where Black Widows and Brown Recluse spiders like to call home. I am always on the lookout if I think one may be nearby.
If your canine kid has had contact or ingested any of the items on this list call your veterinarian for help immediately. If your pooch has been exposed to something you’re not sure of and it’s not on this list, here is a link to the Pet Poison Helpline.