Autumn Dangers to Your Dog

Here we are at the end of October, when the temperatures and the leaves seem to be in a competition to see which can fall faster! Autumn is in its full glory, and there are plenty of Fall activities that you can enjoy with your dog, despite the chill in the air! However, this change of seasons does bring with it some things to be aware of when keeping your best buddy’s health and wellness in mind!

Beware of the Scare
As far as fun holidays go, Halloween has to be at the top of the list! Costumes, candy, and Trick-or-Treaters make this annual fright night a favorite among kids and adults alike, but the family dog may not be feeling so festive. Decorations, masks and excessive doorbell ringing may have your pet thinking they should find a good hiding spot and wait for the ghouls and goblins to go home. Since Halloween only occurs once a year, there isn’t really an opportunity to acclimate your dog to all of these things in the moment. Your best bet may be to allow your furry friend to hang out in his crate or a quiet room, away from the front door, with a yummy distraction of some sort, such as a Spiral Kong or a peanut butter coated Lickimat. Giving him something fun to do in a place of his own should help him to get through the evening without too much stress of anxiety.

Natural Doesn't Mean Non-Toxic
Cooler temperatures and wetter weather provide optimum conditions for some new growth in the yard, and we don’t mean grass. Some mushrooms and toadstools can be highly toxic to dogs and cats if ingested, and while not all are, it’s a good idea to keep your yard clear of any fungi and your dog away from any mushrooms he may meet and eat on a walk in the woods. Wet leaves can also harbor mold spores that can cause severe intestinal upset for your pet, so if your dog is the “eat it first, ask questions later” type, try to keep him from those as well.

Acorn producing Oak trees, Black Walnut, American Chestnut, Sweetgum and Horse Chestnut trees are just some of the decidua that drop nuts or seed pods that can be toxic to dogs in ingested, not to mention a choking hazard if they try to swallow them whole. These tree nuts can also cause intestinal blockages if swallowed, so steer clear of them when out walking, and keep your yard free of their debris.

Keep the Candy for the Kids
We assume that by now, most people are aware that theobromine in chocolate is toxic for dogs, but there is a lot more in that trick-or-treat bag that needs to be kept from your canine. Xylitol, the main ingredient in many sugar free gums and candies, is extremely toxic for dogs, and can cause seizures and liver failure. Taffies and other chewy candy, while maybe not toxic, can become lodged in the throat and present a choking hazard. Grapes, sometimes called nature’s candy, are also hazardous to dogs, and ingestion can cause kidney failure. While this item definitely is not candy, dogs and cats can be drawn to the sweet scent and taste of antifreeze, the fluid used in vehicle radiators. The chemical, ethylene glycol, can cause serious kidney damage, and ingestion of even a small amount can prove fatal if not treated immediately.

Glow Baby Glow
Of course keeping our little costumed marauders safe in the dark on Halloween night is paramount, and often glow sticks and luminous jewelry are the solution. Keep in mind, however, that the chemical mixtures inside these items can cause irritation to the mouth and throat, as well as vomiting if ingested. While you should keep your dog from chewing on those items, it is still a great idea to have your pet be more visible in the dark as well. Luminous leashes, glow-in-the-dark toys, and LED collar fobs are great options to increase visibility when the daylight hours get shorter.

Speaking of less daylight, now that the days are getting shorter, you may not be keeping the same exercise routine as you had during the longer summer days. If you find that you aren’t able to provide the same level of exercise for your canine companion during the colder months, consider cutting back on his food intake a bit. Weight gain can cause a wide range of health concerns for your beloved pet, including joint issues, heart and liver disease, and canine diabetes. Don’t let the chill in the air or absence of sunlight keep you and your dog from enjoying a nice brisk walk together!
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