By Jodi Hartley

Most everyone, including your dog, loves the fall season with cooler temperatures and more chances to get outside along with the excitement of the holiday season. But even though you no longer have to worry about heatstroke and other hot weather issues for Fluffy, you do need to be cautious about other dangers that make an appearance in autumn.

While only a small number of wild mushrooms are toxic, it is better to keep your dog away from any mushrooms. Because it is difficult to tell the difference between toxic and non-toxic mushrooms, you should take your dog to a vet immediately if you see him eating one. Signs of mushroom toxicity are drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, seizures, “drunken” walking and agitation. Mushroom poisoning can lead to organ failure and death.

With the colder weather, mice and rats tend to try to move indoors where it’s warmer. This leads to more people putting out rodenticides around the house. Rodenticides are very toxic to dogs and ingestion can lead to death. If using rodenticides, be sure to place them out of reach, or use other methods for keeping rodents out of the house.

Craft and School Supplies
Households with small or school age children or crafting adults tend to have craft and school supplies around such as glue, pencils and markers. These items can cause problems if ingested by your dog, causing stomach upset, intestinal blockages or injury to the mouth and throat. Keep these out of reach of your dog.

Chocolate and Artificial Sweetener
If you’re lucky enough to still have some Halloween candy around, or you’re stocking up on candy and chocolates for the holidays, don’t let your dog get any. Chocolate can be toxic to dogs as are some artificial sweeteners used in candy and gum.

Outdoor Dogs
If your dog is outside a lot in the cold, she needs more food and access to fresh, unfrozen water to help her generate body heat.

Compost Piles and Mulch
Keep compost piles closed off from dogs as it can contain foods that are unsafe for dogs to eat and they contain mold used in the process of turning it to compost. Some types of mulch can be toxic to dogs, and chewing on pieces of mulch can result in mouth and throat injuries.

As snakes prepare for hibernation, they can be more aggressive and more likely to bite. Be aware of where snakes may be living around your home or at places you visit to keep your dog away from them.

As people prepare for colder weather, they may change engine coolants in vehicles. Some coolants are highly toxic to dogs and should never be ingested. Be sure if you change your coolant at home that you dispose of it properly and never store it somewhere your dog can get to it. Don’t let your dog roam either – you never know if your neighbors may have coolant lying around in reach of your dog.

As you get out sweaters and other cool weather gear, keep the mothballs away from your dog. Some types of mothballs contain chemicals that are toxic to your dog.

Fall Allergies
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from seasonal allergies. Fall can bring sneezing, runny nose and itchy, irritated skin for our furry companions. A visit to the vet can help you make sure your dog’s symptoms are allergy-related, and your vet can recommend the best allergy medicine for your dog.

Article References:

ASPCA: Autumn Safety Tips.

Dogster: Autumn Dangers: How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Fall.

Pet Health Network: Keep Your Pet Safe This Fall.