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7 things that are dangerous for your pet in the Autumn

Autumn is a wonderful season, both for humans and animals. Many people want to be out in the fresh air, but the bright days get shorter and it gets darker outside faster. Remember that unlit bonfires can be a really tempting place to curl up on a cold night, especially for small animals like hedgehogs, who are vulnerable to extinction. So, always check your bonfire for any unexpected visitors before you light it. Here we list 7 things that you as a pet owner should be extra vigilant about during the autumn months!

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

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1. The dark

When darkness falls in the autumn, the number of traffic injuries increases significantly, sadly both among humans and animals. Therefore, make sure that you provide both you and your animal with fluorescent reflectors. Today, there are many good reflectors on the market to choose from, such as vests, collars, harnesses, blankets and more. Think of the reflectors as an important way of helping to prevent accidents!

2. Kennel cough

Kennel cough is common during the fall. The best way to prevent kennel cough is to vaccinate your dog as a puppy and then annually. Vaccination does not completely prevent infection, but vaccinated dogs usually have milder symptoms and recover more quickly than unvaccinated ones. If you suspect that your dog has signs of kennel cough, it is also important to avoid close contact with other dogs to reduce the spread of infection. Read more in our article on Kennel cough.

3. Acorns and conkers

Acorns and conkers contain large amounts of tannin which is a corrosive substance that causes irritation and inflammation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. In some cases. Poisoning is rare but in some cases it can cause damage to a dog's kidneys and liver. In large quantities, acorns can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and other signs of poisoning, both in dogs and other animals. There is also a risk of acorns getting stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, especially if swallowed whole. If you know that your dog has a voracious appetite, remember to keep them on the lead or closely supervised, when in walking near oak trees or in woodland, to avoid them accidentally eating an acorn or two.

4. Fungi

If your pet ingests a poisonous fungus, it can cause severe signs within a short space of time. These signs are usually in the form of vomiting and diarrhoea. Of course, it depends on which fungus the dog has eaten, and how much, but always contact a vet if your dog has ingested any type of fungus that you suspect may be dangerous. Fly agarics, for example, are very toxic and cause signs within 6-24 hours, but ingestion of other fungi may cause signs a few days later. Other examples of poisonous fungi and how you can help your pet can be found in our article on fungal poisoning in dogs.

5. Ticks

There are plenty of ticks on the move well into the autumn. In fact, they are increasingly active all year round. With ticks, there is a risk that your dog could get a localised infection at the bite site, as well as become infected with rare diseases such as Lyme Disease or anaplasma. If your dog or cat is living or spending time in a tick-risk area, we would recommend using a tick repellent until the daily temperature has dropped below 5oC.

Read more: Ticks and small animals

6. Antifreeze (ethylene glycol)

Antifreeze is extremely toxic to cats. Antifreeze contains the chemical ethylene glycol, which is commonly used in cars during the colder months to prevent the engine freezing. The reason that pets, and in particular cats, like it is because it tastes sweet. It is important to handle ethylene glycol very carefully; always remember to thoroughly wash down and dry any area where you happen to spill the chemical so that no animal can access it. As little as one teaspoon can be fatal to a cat. For those of you who have a dog, it is important to make sure that the dog does not eat or lick things when they are outdoors. Pay extra attention to puddles in car parks and garages. Read more about antifreeze toxicity here.

7. Blue-green algae

Blue-green algae is very toxic to pets. It can cause death very quickly if it is eaten. Algal blooms can occur from late spring to early autumn. They look like a blue-green scum on the water. Dogs who love a dip, or go walking near bodies of water, are most at risk. If you're worried about the look of the water, or see local warning notices, we strongly recommend keeping your dog on the lead and not letting them go in for a swim or drink the water.

Read more: Blue-green algae poisoning in dogs

Are you worried about your pet? Always contact a vet!

At FirstVet, you can always get help with an initial assessment of your animal. Book a video appointment to get advice, treatment or referral to your clinic from one of our experienced vets.

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