Fall is upon us, and with it come more than just changes in the weather and foliage but hidden dangers for you and your pet. From household poisons to holiday hazards, here are some tips to keep your pet safe and healthy during the autumn months.
Every year more than 10,000 dogs and cats are accidentally poisoned with automotive antifreeze. Pets are attracted to the sweet taste of ethylene glycol and one to two teaspoons will poison a cat and three tablespoons is enough to kill a medium size dog.
Fall weather can bring about all whole new set of allergies. Ragweed and mold are two big aggravates, along with grass and dust. Look for signs like scratching, biting, chewing, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and hives and rashes.
Cold weather can lead to arthritis caused by inflamed joints. If your dog or cat is limping, having trouble moving, jumping, or sitting, moving slower than usual, or whimpering when he moves, he may be suffering from seasonal arthritis.
All mushrooms are toxic to dogs. Always watch for mushrooms in areas where you walk your dogs or where they run and play. Be especially cautious of parasol-shaped mushrooms and all small brown mushrooms. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning can range from mild vomiting and diarrhea to severe digestive problems to complete liver failure.
Your compost pile in your backyard is also dangerous to your pet. The decomposing organic material could contain mycotoxins that can cause hyperthermia, agitation, excessive panting or drooling, and even seizures.
In fall and winter, mice and rats come flocking indoors to warmer surroundings. Putting out rodenticides will get rid of rodents but could also be fatal to your pooch and cat. There are four different types of poison and each has the potential to kill your pet: anticoagulants, cholecalciferol, bromethalin, and phosphides.
Everyone knows that chocolate is toxic to dogs, especially the baking variety, but so are raisins and the sugar-free sweetener xylitol. Be extra cautious on Halloween where pets can get into bags of candy. Wrappers and sticks from lollipops can also pose a threat causing intestinal blockages.
You may have the urge to share your yummy feast with your pet. This is ok in moderation. Just check the list of toxic foods for pets before you feed them. Avoid fat and fatty foods that can trigger pancreatitis in dogs and cats, and never feed your dog poultry bones. They easily splinter and break and can cause serious damage if swallowed.
Chilly temps can also pose a threat to your pet. Indoor animals don’t develop a thick double coat like outdoor pets and should not be left outside unattended for any period of time. Consider buying a sweater for your dog for walks or booties to keep his paws safe from ice and rock salt. Also be cautious around ice – your pet could easily slip and rip a ligament or break a bone.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorations can all be dangerous to your pet. Ornaments, tinsel, plants, costumes, and other decorations should all be kept out of your pet’s reach.
Although beautiful, some holiday plants are toxic to dogs. You should avoid holly, amaryllis, mistletoe, poinsettia, Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus, American and European bittersweet, chrysanthemum, Christmas rose, Jerusalem cherry, autumn crocus, and burning bush. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of appetite, tremors, belly pain, difficulty breathing, shock, organ damage, slowed heart rate, collapse, and even death.