Halloween may be behind us but scary things still lurk.
Autumn is a joyful season in so many ways. Beautiful weather, changing leaves, the smell of a burning fireplace, pumpkin everything…
But for our pets, there are many hidden dangers. Things that can make your pet sick and sometimes kill them. You may not have thought of these things as dangerous. Awareness is the first step in keeping your pets safe.
- Costume remnants
Plastic light sabers, swords and masks can become chew toys for your dogs. Small pieces of plastic can be a choking hazard or cause a blockage.
The Halloween makeup that turns you into a zombie can be toxic to your pets if swallowed.
Glow necklaces and bracelets which may keep your kids safe in the dark aren’t safe for your pets to eat. The liquid inside can irritate your pet’s gums if swallowed. Drooling, foaming at the mouth, vomiting can all be signs. Luckily, this is not usually fatal.
- Candy… particularly chocolate
If your house is overloaded with candy as mine is, be sure to keep it out of the reach of your pets. All those gummy candies are choking hazards.
And chocolate can be deadly for both dogs and cats… though cats won’t usually be interested in eating it.
Theobromine in chocolate is poisonous. How much of this substance is in the chocolate depends on the chocolate. Dark chocolate has the most.
If your pet eats a sizeable amount, you’ll see the signs within 4 to 24 hours. Besides the usual signs of stomach distress, you may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, rapid breathing, and lack of coordination. Ultimately, this can cause seizures and death.
Fall ushers in the holiday season. And cooler temps and holiday spirit set the tone for candle lighting. Who doesn’t love the aroma of a pumpkin scented candle?
But a lit candle can injure your pets. Never leave one within reach of your cat or dog.
And a curious pet can overturn a burning candle. That’s a disaster!
Don’t let cooler weather lull you. Ticks and fleas are out in full force this time of year.
These little pests aren’t just a nuisance. They carry disease too.
- Raked leaves
In most parts of the country, the leaves are falling from the trees right now.
Maybe you enjoy letting your dog run through the piles after you rake them. It’s not a good idea. Mold and bacteria grow in the leaves. If your dog ingests these pathogens, they can get sick.
And hidden sticks can injure a dog bounding through the piles.
- Acorns and buckeyes (conkers)
The gallotannin in acorns is toxic and can damage the liver and kidneys.
Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy—common signs of many illnesses—are what you can expect if your dog eats some. Acorns can also cause an intestinal blockage.
Buckeyes—conkers in England—are the seed of the horse chestnut tree. These are different than the chestnuts we eat. This hard brown nut in a prickly casing can be dangerous to a dog. If you have a horse chestnut tree in your yard, be sure to clean up the fallen buckeyes before your pet can get to them.
- Mushrooms and toadstools
Mushrooms love to grow in damp environments. The weather this time of year is optimal. Thankfully, most mushrooms aren’t dangerous. But a few can be deadly.
It’s difficult to identify the dangerous ones so keep your pet away from all mushrooms. If they’re in your yard, get rid of them.
- Shorter days/colder temps
With less sunlight and more unpredictable weather, it can be difficult for your dog to get the exercise they need. It’s difficult for people too.
If you find your walks are shorter or less frequent, be sure your dog isn’t putting on weight. Cut back on food and treats if their waistline is growing along with yours.
Remember too that it may be dark when you are walking in the early morning or evening. It will be harder for cars to see you. Be sure you and your dogs are visible. Reflective collars and leashes are available online and in pet stores.
And if your dog is older or one with a compromised immune system, a warm sweater or coat might be a good idea. This may be wise for smaller dogs as well.
If your dog is arthritic, the colder weather will make long walks more challenging. Keep that in mind if your dog is not eager to walk this time of year.
The less pleasant side of cooler temps is the need for our rodent friends to seek shelter indoors. You may find rats and mice taking up residence in your home.
If you have a problem with vermin, hire a professional to help you get rid of them.
Rodenticides (rat poisoning) is deadly if consumed by your pet. If not placed correctly, your pet could end up eating some when the rodents drop pieces as they’re moving throughout your house. A horrible thought… I know.
A professional exterminator will know the most effective and safe way to get rid of your unwanted guests.
If your pet ingests rat poison, they will bleed internally. You’ll see the signs in bloody feces, bruising, and black tar-like poop. Get to the vet immediately!
If you suspect your pet has swallowed something toxic, the number for the ASPCA Poison Control Center is 888-426-4435. The Pet Poison Helpline is 855-764-7661.
Has one of these autumn dangers injured your pet? I hope not. But if so, share your experience in the comment section at the top. It may save another pets life.