The hot summer afternoons have given away to cool fall days. Talking the dog for a walk or letting the family cat out in the backyard to chase the falling leaves lets pets enjoy the changing season. But before heading outdoors, take note of these potentially dangerous seasonal pet hazards.
Snakes, turtles and other reptiles begin the hibernation process in the fall. If your pet frequents forested areas, lakes or stream beds, it has a greater chance of being bit by the sluggish reptiles attempting to hibernate, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Snake bites can also occur in a suburban backyard. While doing a fall yard clean-up, wear boots and pay close attention to crawlspaces under decks, near the foundation line of the home, areas under rocks and the interior corners of garages.
Although most mushrooms are non-toxic, the few varieties that are poisonous are enough to make a pet violently ill. When hiking though an area with mushrooms, keep the family dog in sight–preferably on a leash, on a marked trail–to deter the pet from accidental consumption of mushrooms.
One Amanita phalloides mushroom (also known as a death cap mushroom) contains enough toxins to kill an adult human–or pet. Symptoms of poisoning from this type of mushroom include abdominal cramping, watery diarrhea, vomiting and possible kidney or liver failure, according to veterinarian Jeff Grognet of Qualicum Beach, British Columbia.
During the fall it’s easy to dismiss cold evenings when they are followed by a warm, sunny day. If your pet lives in an outdoor kennel, barn or the garage, check his water bowl. Some fall evenings may dip below freezing, leaving the pet without access to water for several hours.
If the pet is thirsty, it will seek out other liquids to drink. Keep all auto coolants out of reach of pets. The non-freezing liquid has a sweet smell, often attracting pets. According to veterinarian Katie Williams from the Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals in Wisconsin, auto coolants are highly toxic to pets.
After Halloween, do a quick yard clean-up, especially if your pet frequents sidewalks around your home. Discarded pumpkins decorated with permanent markers, rotting jack-o-lanterns, foil candy wrappers and partially eaten Halloween treats all pose health risks to your pet.
Sources and Suggested Further Reading:
Jeff Grognet DVM , “Of the Mushroom: Mushroom Toxicity”, Dogs in Canada
ASPCA, “Autumn Safety Tips”, ASPCA
Katie Williams DVM, “Fall Pet Safety Tips”, Fetch Magazine