When most pet parents think of dangerous weather, summer or winter come to mind. Very rarely do the mild, temperate seasons present natural threats to pup safety. But even though temperatures are more pleasant, and paws are more easily protected, autumn brings a few of its own dangers to pet parents across the country. Some might seem obvious, and some would never have crossed your mind. Here are five common health hazards for Fido and friends.
- Acorns and Oak Leaves. Autumn has some of the best dog walking weather you’ll ever experience, but be wary of what’s lying on the ground. You’ll see plenty of acorns and dead oak leaves on the sidewalks, but be sure to avoid them. If your dog ingests anything, it can be fatal. These small nuts and leaves can severely impact your pup’s gastrointestinal health, and if your dog has kidney disease, the acids in acorns can further aggravate the condition. Pets that have consumed any part of an oak tree may have bloody diarrhea, which is often a sign of renal failure. If you suspect your dog ate several leaves or acorns, bring them to the veterinarian.
- Mushrooms. To be fair, mushrooms seem to appear almost year-round. But falling leaves rot in tepid autumn heat, which creates a breeding ground for some pretty gnarly fungus. Keep an eye on your dog when she’s playing in leaves, and be sure to look for hidden mushrooms and spores. If your pet eats a mushroom, bring them to the veterinarian immediately, even if you don’t know what type they consumed. Common signs of poisoning include excessive drooling, dry heaving, and difficulty standing and/or walking.
- Ticks. Ticks are out in warm weather, but autumn has its own special threat: fallen leaves. Ticks stick to leaves when the fall to the ground, meaning that pile of yard clippings could be teeming with little insects. Check Fido for ticks after every walk, thoroughly checking between his toes and inside their ears, nose, and gum flaps. If a tick isn’t removed within 24 hours, the likelihood of transmitting a virus multiplies.
- Antifreeze. When temperatures begin to drop at the end of autumn, antifreeze can become a real problem for pet parents. Radiators from cars may leak or break, leaving fluid on the ground and in area easily accessible to pets. The liquid smells and tastes sweet, making it an ingestion hazard. If your dog doesn’t eat it on the spot, he might step it in and accidentally lick it off later. If you suspect your pet has antifreeze poisoning, go to the vet immediately.
- Halloween candy. This might be the most obvious addition to this list, but it deserves to be mentioned. Autumn brings great weather and a fun time, but that means chocolate and other sweets become available in large quantities. Though fun for us, these foods are toxic to most animals. If you have pets around, be sure to keep an eye on the treats in case one happens to fall on the floor.