The crisp cool air, beautiful hues of the changing leaves, and shorter days can only mean one thing. Fall is finally here! For many people this is their favorite time of the year, and is a cause for celebration. However, before you get too carried away celebrating the changing of the seasons, there are a few dangerous elements that tend to appear during the fall that can harm your dog, and it is important to know what they are so you are prepared.
Fall weather means that rats, mice and other rodents may try to escape the cold by coming into your house. If you employ the use of poison to combat potential invaders, then you need to be careful not to expose your dog to these harmful chemicals. Failing to do this could be fatal to your dog.
Cold weather also means that many people use antifreeze in their cars engines. Antifreeze can contain Ethylene Glycol, which can be harmful to your dog’s brain, liver, and kidneys, and can cause seizures, convulsions, and tremors as well as possible fainting and even coma. Dogs who have consumed enough antifreeze could have kidney failure resulting in the death of the animal. It is important that you store these chemicals in a place where your pet cannot reach them, and in the event of a spill, thoroughly clean it up immediately. Old containers should be properly disposed of, and you should monitor your vehicle for any leaks to avoid this hazard to your pet.
Some Antifreeze contains a chemical known as Propylene Glycol. According to the FDA, Propylene Glycol is not a hazard and is pet-safe but it is still smart to be careful with any Antifreeze.
As the seasons change and the leaves begin to fall from the trees many people choose to rake them up into large piles. These piles of leaves create a moist environment that is perfect for many different molds and fungi to thrive. These could cause your dog to experience gastrointestinal distress. Additionally, piles of leaves are ideal places for dangerous animals like snakes and spiders to hide. It may seem tempting to let your dog play in the leaves, but it is best to avoid them altogether because you never know what might be lurking inside of them.
In the same way that fallen leaves are great places for mold and bacteria to form, they also create an environment where mushrooms of all kinds can thrive. These growths can appear seemingly overnight, and while most of them are non toxic and will not harm your dog, there are a few varieties that are deadly poisonous when ingested. It can be almost impossible for a human to tell the difference between a poisonous mushroom, and a non toxic shroom without already being very familiar with identifying and classifying fungi, and even then people make fatal mistakes all the time. Your dog won’t be as discerning, and because mushrooms look like little morsels of food, may be tempted to gobble them up. It is very important that you remain vigilant and it may be best to avoid areas where they grow altogether.
Many people like to get out their specialty scented candles in the fall, in order to make an ordinary home suddenly feel more cozy, and to get themselves and their homes into the spirit of the season. If you are going to use candles in your home, make sure to keep them well above your dog’s head, as a dog can bump into them and get a nasty burn, or worse, knock them over which could start a fire.
Also, the candle industry is largely unregulated and many chemicals used in the creation of scented candles can be harmful to your dog. When burned, these candles can release neurotoxic chemicals and carcinogens that can cause problems if inhaled by your dog. We recommend using candles that are made from non-toxic materials like beeswax if you are going to use candles in the home this fall season.
Chestnuts and Acorns
Acorns contain tannins which can be poisonous to your dog. Some dogs may not present symptoms but in most cases ingesting Acorns will cause vomiting and diarrhea. Chestnuts also fall from trees during this season, and can be harmful if large quantities of these fallen nuts are eaten. Smaller dogs may be especially affected by eating nuts and acorns because they can cause bowel obstruction which could ultimately be fatal for your dog.
Many people like to cook dishes that contain spices like Nutmeg in the fall, and while Nutmeg is a wonderfully flavorful ingredient for humans to enjoy, and the smell is very tempting for both humans and dogs alike, it can be highly toxic, and fatal to dogs if they consume it. Many foods such as eggnog, certain soups, breads, and pies such as pumpkin pie contain Nutmeg.
With Halloween right around the corner, you might already have bags of candy and chocolate laying around in the pantry. Make sure to keep these sweet treats in an area that your dog cannot readily access because chocolate can be extremely harmful to a dog when ingested. Chocolate contains a substance known as Theobromine which has been shown to cause abnormal heartbeats, and sickness, as well as seizures and potentially death in dogs. Every kind of chocolate is bad for your dog to eat, but the darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of Theobromine is present and therefore bitter dark chocolate or baker’s chocolate is the most poisonous to your dog.
If you think that your dog has been exposed to any of the aforementioned hazards it is best practice to contact your veterinarian immediately. Don’t let your enjoyment of the fall season be tainted by a threat to your dog’s health.