The leaves are turning golden, and the air’s growing crisp. Autumn is a lovely time for forest walks (and pumpkin spice lattes) – but it does come with some hidden dangers. Ones that every dog parent should be aware of.
From mushroom mishaps to fallen fruit, we’ll be sharing five ways to keep your dog safe this spooky season.
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1. Steer clear of acorns & conkers
Dogs absolutely love playing in – and lounging on – autumn leaves. There are lots of scents to discover, and they’re a comfy spot to take a nap.
But, as you’re exploring nature together, there’s a small hazard to be mindful of: acorns and conkers (also known as horse chestnuts).
Are acorns and conkers poisonous to dogs?
Yes. Acorns and conkers contain tannins, which can play havoc with your dog’s tummy. In smaller dogs, they can lead to blockages – and, in more serious cases, they can cause liver and kidney failure.
In fact, all parts of oak trees are poisonous to dogs; they all include tannins. That includes the bark, leaves, wood and the acorns themselves.
How do I prevent my dog from eating acorns?
Keep a close eye on your dog while they’re exploring – and walk them on a lead in areas where acorns and conkers tend to be scattered.
Don’t encourage your dog to catch or play with acorns. If your pup stumbles across an acorn and seems tempted, try distracting them with a toy. Or, you can teach them a simple command like ‘drop’ or ‘leave it.’ (Plus a treat as a reward, of course!)
2. Watch out for lazy wasps
As the temperature drops, wasps become sluggish (they’re not the only ones). That might sound like a good thing – but it means they’re easy targets for curious canines. A playful pounce on a wasp might look like innocent fun, but it can lead to painful stings.
To stop your dog from engaging in risky autumn acrobatics, try to keep:
- Vigilant in the garden. Wasps love to hang around fallen fruit and leftover picnic crumbs. So, be extra cautious in these areas.
- An eye out, when you’re out for walks. You could keep your pup on a lead, to avoid unwanted encounters with wasps.
What should I do if my dog gets stung by a wasp?
Most stings can be managed at home with a bit of TLC. Dogs usually get stung on their paws or around their face – and they typically only develop minor irritation or swelling.
That being said, some stings can be more serious. For instance, stings around the mouth or throat can cause swelling – which may block your dog’s airways. So, stings around the mouth or throat, multiple stings, or allergic reactions all need an urgent trip to the vet.
3. Mushroom mishaps
Autumn means mushroom season. And, while most mushrooms are harmless, some can be toxic to dogs.
While some mushrooms will cause a stomach upset, others can be deadly. Their earthy scent and intriguing shapes might appeal to your furry friend, but it’s important to watch out for them on woodland walks. (You might also want to check your garden for sprouting mushrooms, and pull them up.)
If you spot your dog sniffing around mushrooms, gently redirect their attention. A simple ‘let’s go!’ should do the trick. Then, you can guide your pup away from the area.
4. Seasonal Canine Illness
Season Canine Illness (SCI) typically affects dogs in woodland areas during the autumn months.
Cases have been reported all over the UK – and they’re generally seen from August onward. Cases of SCI trend to peak in September, and can be seen until November time.
SCI affects dogs of any size, shape, age and gender – and the symptoms can vary. The exact cause is a mystery, which is why being aware of this illness is your best defense.
What are the signs of Seasonal Canine Illness?
Symptoms often include vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, and a high temperature. In severe cases, SCI can lead to life-threatening complications.
Signs of SCI usually start within three days of having roamed in a woodland area. If you’re exploring woodlands with your dog this autumn, keep a close eye on them for any unusual symptoms. If you notice anything off, get in touch with your vet for guidance.
5. Fruity dangers
Autumn isn’t just about falling leaves; it’s also a time when fruits drop off trees.
We all know that dogs can be drawn to anything that smells tasty – and fruit isn’t an exception. Thankfully, most fruit is perfectly safe for dogs to eat. It can even make a tasty treat. Yet a few rogue fruits can be toxic, leading to tummy troubles or worse.
If you think your dog has gobbled down some fallen fruit, keep a close eye on them. Look out for any signs of discomfort, or any unusual behaviour. And, if in doubt, give your vet a ring.
To keep your dog safe, be vigilant about fallen fruit during your autumn walks. Keep an eye out in areas with fruit trees, and watch out for fallen apples and plums. If you spot any, try to remove them to prevent temptation.
From conkers to lazy wasps, there’s plenty to watch out for this autumn. But, with these precautions in mind, you and your dog can enjoy autumn – and steer clear of vet visits.
So, lace up those boots and pop on a cosy jumper. Here’s to plenty of (safe!) autumn adventures with your pup.
P.S. Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends – to make them aware of these autumnal dangers, too.