Fall Safety Tips for Pets

Pet Health and Safety  •  Pam Karkow  •  Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

                                                            - Albert Camus


Autumn means pumpkins and cooler weather, firepits and falling leaves.  But it also means hidden hazards for your pets.  One such hazard I became a little too familiar with this past week.

Like many others, we decided to do a fall cleanup last weekend, and I noticed my hydrangea bushes were looking a little sad.  So, I applied some fertilizer around the base of the bushes, watered well, and forgot all about it.  My rambunctious retriever didn’t, however.  Her nose went right to the pungent smell lurking around the bushes.  Even though it was organic, the fertilizer still wreaked havoc on her digestive system, causing diarrhea. 

If you want to enjoy the cool weather and cultivate a beautiful lawn this autumn without the stress of a sick pooch, follow our fall safety tips.

Pick up fallen fruit, branches, and sticks. 

Rotten fruit can cause cyanide poisoning and fruit with large pits pose a choking threat.  Chewing on sticks can be dangerous for your pup. Branches can get caught in your dog’s throat, and decayed wood can harbor dangerous fungi.

Empty containers that have collected water. 

Dogs can contract serious diseases like Avian flu, cryptosporidiosis, or leptospirosis from ingesting bird droppings or coming into contact with the urine of wild animals.  You may also choose to vaccinate your dog to prevent leptospirosis.  Check out PetPartner’s website for information on their vaccination coverage.  Their Defender and Defender Plus Plans cover vaccinations and titers. 

Keep your yard free of poisons.

Create a pet-friendly yard year-round. Allow toxicity levels of insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to dwindle before your pet comes into contact with treated areas.  Even some types of mulch can be dangerous for your pet.  One type, made from the hulls of cocoa beans, and smelling like chocolate, can result in chocolate toxicity.  Either thoroughly water the mulch or wait for a heavy rain before allowing your dog to be around the area.

Cover compost piles and keep yard waste in closed containers. 

There is a risk of tremorgenic mycotoxins if your dog is poking around in the compost.  These toxins, found on moldy foods, can affect the neurological system of a dog.  The symptoms start with vomiting and can lead to mild or even severe poisoning and death.  Decaying wood and soil can cause a fungal infection if a dog inhales the spores from contaminated yard waste.

Eliminate dangers.

Remove bare branches and rotton tree stumps. Plants or bushes that have lost their leaves can be hazardous to your dog’s eyes as he runs and plays in the yard.  Secure the bare branches with a small barrier or fence.  Tree stumps can contain decaying plant matter and can cause your pet to trip and fall.

Enjoy the New Season!

Autumn is a beautiful time of year, full of vibrant colors and blooming mums, but just like the heavy metal band Poison says, every rose has its thorn.  It is important to watch out for these potential dangers.  If you follow these tips, you can ensure you and your pet have a peaceful autumn season. 

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