OATHALL VETERINARY GROUP LTD 

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West Sussex

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01444 440224

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Some autumn dangers for your pet

Autumn is the season for muddy woodland walks, kicking through piles of crunchy golden leaves and wrapping yourself up, ready to battle the wet and windy weather. Although autumnal walks with your dog can be beautiful, it’s important to be aware of the seasonal dangers that could be harmful to them.

ACORNS

Acorns contain a type of toxin called tannic acid that can make your dog sick or give them a stomach upset. In larger amounts, or if eaten regularly, tannins can also cause kidney and liver failure. Green acorns contain the highest amounts of tannins and are more poisonous than brown ones. As well as being poisonous, acorns can also block your dog’s stomach, causing further complications.

CONKERS

These hard shiny seeds contain a toxin called aesculin, which can make your dog sick or give them an upset stomach. Conkers have a bitter taste that might put some dogs off eating a lot of them. When eaten in larger amounts, aesculin can cause more serious effects, and in rare cases can even be deadly. Conkers are large and hard and may cause your dog to choke on them, or could block their stomach and gut.

TOADSTOOLS

When most people think of toadstools, they usually conjure up the image of fly agaric, a bright red shiny fungus with white spots, but toadstools come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes. Although some types of wild fungi are edible, it’s often difficult to distinguish these from the poisonous types. If your dog eats an unknown fungus it could make them unwell. Some types may only cause a mild stomach upset, while other can be deadly. Some can cause toxic effects in minutes, while other may take days or, in rare instances, weeks to come on.

If your dog does eat an unknown wild mushroom:

  • Take them to the vets immediately. Make sure to call ahead first to let them know you’re on your way
  • If possible, bring along a photo, or ideally a sample of the fungi
  • If you do have a sample, put it in a paper bag, or carefully wrap it in paper. Do not wrap the fungus in plastic, or a plastic bag, as this can cause the sample to breakdown more quickly, making it more difficult to identify
  • Take note of the area where the fungi was found e.g. was it growing in grass or on a tree stump etc. Knowing where it grew can help experts identify what type of fungi your dog has eaten should they become ill

FIREWORKS

Dogs have an incredible sense of hearing, so the bangs and explosions that we think are loud may be deafening to our dogs. Not knowing what’s going on, or not knowing when to expect the next explosion, can make fireworks particularly petrifying to our four-legged friends. To help keep your dogs relaxed you can drown out the noise of the fireworks with music or TV, or you can give them lots of positive attention to help distract them.

HALLOWEEN

Halloween can be a stressful time of year for us and our dogs. Trick or treaters, strange costumes and spooky decorations can all be distressing to your dog, while plenty of chocolates and sweets around the house can be dangerous to them.

DARK NIGHTS

As the evenings become darker earlier, it’s a good idea to help make you and your dog more visible. Road traffic accidents are more common in darker months, so remember to walk your dog wearing reflective clothing, or give your them bright reflective collars or light up leads. Also, check that your dog’s microchip details are up to date and that they’re wearing an ID tag in case they get lost after dark.

ALABAMA ROT 

Alabama rot is a rare but potentially life-threatening disease that affects dogs. We don’t know what causes Alabama rot, but it’s believed to be related to walking in muddy conditions. Alabama rot causes problems with blood vessels in the skin and kidneys, and often first appears as unexplained marks, sores or ulcers, usually on their legs or paws. To prevent your dog from getting ill, experts recommend that you either keep dogs away from muddy areas (easier said than done) or wash and dry them thoroughly after muddy or wet walks.

FALLEN FRUITS

As the temperature begins to cool in autumn, many trees start to drop their fruits. Some seeds, pips and fruit stones (apples, cherries, plums etc.) contain toxins that can make your dog ill.  These fruits can also make your dog unwell if they’re eaten when mouldy or after they’ve begun to ferment.

PLANTING SPRING BULBS

If you’re planting spring flowering bulbs in the autumn, remember to keep a close eye on your dog while you’re busy digging. Daffodil, tulip and spring crocus bulbs can all be toxic and can make your dog unwell. Plant bulbs usually contain more concentrated amounts of toxins than other parts of the plant, so may cause more serious effects. What these toxins do to your dog can vary depending on what type of bulb has been eaten, but most of them initially cause sickness or an upset stomach.