It’s that time of year again where the nights are drawing in, your driveway is full of fallen leaves and everything is available in pumpkin spice flavour. As we welcome the new season, it’s also worth remembering that there are some autumn dangers to keep an eye out for. While some may be common, others you may not be aware of, so we have created a list of dangers to help keep your furry friend safe and healthy during these autumn months.
Whilst on the topic of nights drawing in make sure your pets are visible to car drivers. If you are walking your dog at night, consider a hi vis jacket, LED collar or pendant and for your cats, it’s worth thinking about a reflective quick release collar.
This is most common in autumn months when acorns have fallen to the ground. Younger, green acorns are more toxic than brown ones. The toxins that cause all the problems are called tannins. A one-off feast of acorns is likely to cause vomiting, diarrhoea, both of which may be bloody, and may cause the dog to become sleepy. Eating acorns regularly may cause kidney or liver problems, while eating large amounts may cause an obstruction or blockage of the intestines.
Another autumn danger to be aware of is conkers, these are usually only found in autumnal months. All parts of the horse chestnut could make your dog ill, with effects being vomiting, dribbling and being off their food. Since conkers are large and hard, they can also pose a choking risk or could cause obstruction in the stomach/intestines.
Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is a chemical within radiator and brake fluid and some screen wash of cars. It has a sweet taste so if it leaks from cars, it is very palatable for cats. It is however incredibly toxic to cats and causes sever kidney damage within hours of ingestion. Up to 96% of affected cats will die from anti-freeze poisoning. If you notice that your cat is very quiet, nauseous, or is wobbly as if drunk or even falling over, you must visit your vet immediately. Signs can progress to fitting and urinary complications.
Many animals are scared of fireworks including dogs, cats, horses and small furries. Not only is there a risk of injury from nearby fireworks, but there is also a risk of injury if animals escape from the house onto roads from panicking within the house. Make sure your pets are safely contained in the house with the curtains closed and a distracting noise within the house such as the TV. Consider giving calming supplements or medications to your pet if you know they are sensitive to the noise, as well as fitting a plug-in pheromone calming diffuser or collar approximately 2 weeks prior to the fireworks period.
This can be a scary time for pets especially with many knocks at the door and unusual outfits. To reduce stress, it can help to keep pets in a back room of the house with less contact with all the ghosts and monsters knocking at the door. It is also worth thinking about a plug-in calming diffuser or collar if your pet is a worrier. In addition to the scary trick-or-treaters, Halloween is a time for lots of chocolate and sweets – make sure there are kept well out of the way of your pets as they can be toxic, especially chocolate.
Chilly small furries
With the night’s drawing in and temperatures dropping, take care that your bunnies and guinea pigs aren’t getting too cold in their outdoor hutches. Make sure they have plenty of bedding and insulation to keep them warm and make sure you bring them indoors on the really cold nights.
If you are concerned that you pet might have been exposed to one or more of the autumn dangers listed above, please contact your vet.