Look Out for These 7 Autumn Pet Hazards
Autumn is a favorite time to get outside and enjoy special activities with friends and family - of the two and four-legged variety! The change in seasons brings cooler temperatures, shorter days, and new things to explore. If you keep these 7 hazards in mind, you’ll be on your way to ensuring your pet’s safety throughout the fall months.
1. Shorter Days = Fewer Daylight Hours
Unfortunately, the change in daylight hours is typically met with a significant increase in the number of traffic injuries among humans and animals. If your pet is outside, make sure they’re outfitted with a reflective collar and proper identification. You’re likely going to be taking those evening walks after sunset, so be sure to use reflective leashes and harnesses.
2. Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is a common bacterial infection that is easily passed between dogs, especially during the fall. The best way to prevent kennel cough is to vaccinate your dog as a puppy and then annually through adulthood. Vaccination doesn’t completely protect against infection, but vaccinated dogs usually have milder symptoms than unvaccinated ones. If you suspect that your dog has symptoms of kennel cough, it’s also important to avoid close contact with other dogs to reduce the spread of infection.
Acorns may be a squirrel’s favorite snack, but they can pose several risks to our canine friends. Acorns contain large amounts of a substance called tannic acid. Tannins are corrosive and tend to cause inflammation and irritation to the walls of the stomach and intestine. In large amounts, these substances can cause damage to a dog’s kidneys and liver.
A dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms of poisoning after eating acorns. There is also the risk of an acorn becoming stuck in the stomach or intestines, causing a blockage. If your dog is an acorn connoisseur, be sure to clean up the yard as soon as the acorns begin to drop, and keep him on a leash during walks.
Cool, wet weather is the perfect time for your pet to find mushrooms in the yard or at the park. If your dog or cat eats a poisonous mushroom, they may experience signs of stomach upset like vomiting or diarrhea. Signs and severity depend on the type of fungus, which part of the fungus was eaten, and how much was consumed.
Always contact your vet if your pet has ingested any type of mushroom that your suspect may be toxic.
Ticks are hardy creatures that stick around well into the fall. They can carry diseases to humans and animals, including Lyme disease and anaplasmosis.
If you live in an area where your dog or cat is exposed to ticks, it’s a good idea to use a tick preventative until temperatures consistently drop below 45°F. Some tick species survive throughout the winter - if you live in a tick endemic area, use tick preventatives year-round.
6. Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol)
As the days become colder, it's common for people to prepare their vehicles for winter by replacing the car’s antifreeze. This substance should always be handled carefully, especially if you have pets at home.
Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol, tastes sweet and is a tempting but very toxic substance for animals. Ingestion of small amounts of antifreeze can quickly lead to kidney failure and death.
Store antifreeze away from pets in tightly sealed containers. Be sure to thoroughly clean up after any spills. Never allow your dog to eat or lick at unknown substances or puddles when out for a walk.
7. Wild Animals
Fall means the start of many changes for animals - think food collection, finding shelter, hibernation, and even mating season. This tends to bring wildlife into populated areas, where they’re often stressed and more apt to interact with our pets.
Be sure to monitor your pet closely if you share your neighborhood with wildlife. Never encourage feeding or nesting near your pet’s yard or kennel.
Need to speak with a veterinarian regarding autumn hazards for your pet or another condition?
Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.