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Autumn Wonders and Worries

Memories of that summer heat wave have quickly faded into the glorious yellows, reds and oranges autumn brings us. As pet owners, walking our dogs gives us a much greater appreciation of the change of seasons. As nature takes it course, we enter a new world; of course, your dog is excited about these changes and can’t wait to explore the new sights and smells. But what should we be cautious of whilst enjoying picturesque walks & seasonal celebrations?

Keep yourself clued up to enjoy the season safely together with these tips:

TIPS FOR THE DOG THAT LOVES TO MUNCH

Conkers & acorns - If you have a dog who likes to give everything a taste then beware that ingestion may cause stomach upsets, blockages and even choking. Conkers contain aesculin whilst acorns contain tannic acid which can result in sickness, diarrhoea, lethargy and abdominal pain.

Mushrooms and Toadstools – Tempted by a quick snack during the walk? Beware that some are highly poisonous and can be very difficult to identify. Symptoms could range from sickness to life threatening. You may see the effect within minutes but sometimes it is takes days or even weeks to come on.

Spring bulbs - If you’re a keen gardener and super organised do be aware of what your furry friend is up to whilst you’re digging. More concentrated toxins are found in the bulb of a plant which could cause stomach upset if ingested. The common offenders are daffodil, tulip and spring crocus bulbs.

Fallen fruits - Waste fruit is falling from the trees and starting to ferment, as well as seeds, pips and stones of fruits – all these can contain toxins which could be harmful if ingested.

Rat & Mice poison - The sweet-smelling poison put down to entice your unwanted pests who are after some warmth might also be tempting to your dog; these poisons typically contain an anti- coagulant meaning it will interfere with the ability for the animal to clot their blood. Normally a small amount of domestic use poison is ok for a dog but vast quantities or bait from a professional, veterinary advice should be sought as this could cause internal haemorrhaging.

Antifreeze - This sweet tasting and palatable chemical can leak from car radiators and do damage to your dog’s kidney. Your dog may appear ‘drunk’ – if you suspect ingestion may have occurred get to your vet ASAP, the prognosis worsens over time.

TIPS FOR THE MUDDY EXPLORERS

Alabama Rot – We still do not know the cause of this disease but wiping down those muddy paws after a forest walk will help prevent an issue. It is rare but can be life threatening affecting the skin and kidneys. The first signs are marks, ulcers or sores usually on their legs or paws which can’t be explained.

Fleas & Ticks - These parasites may still pose a problem this time of year particularly now as we are experiencing climate change. Remember to keep up to date on your flea and tick treatment and regularly health check your dog to look for signs of irritation, flea dirt and scabs.

Dark nights - As the nights draw in and we all stay indoors for longer but remember how much exercise does for your dogs (and your) mental well-being. Consider changing the food quantity so their weight remains stable and invest in some high-viz accessories for you both such as reflective collars/ coats, light up leads etc. Do also make sure your dog is wearing a collar and tag with your details and that the microchip database has up to date information, so you do not risk losing your companion.

TIPS FOR THE PARTY POOCH

Halloween - Treat or Treat?! The busy evening of 31st October is accompanied with unusual outfits, accessories, sounds and an increase in people visiting your home all of which can also cause anxiety to your dog. Think about if your dog can cope with all this before partying or inviting trick or treaters to the door.

The ‘treats’ are really NOT treats for your dog! Theobromide is a simulant found in chocolate which is poisonous to dogs. This can be life threatening so seek Veterinary advice ASAP if consumed- as it comes from cocoa, dark chocolate is more of a risk than white. Extra care should be taken to ensure your dog does not get their chops on the treats!
You could have some fun in the kitchen and make some dog friendly Halloween biscuits or other seasonal treats to spoil the Halloween Hound in your life - there are lots of ideas online.

Glow sticks & luminous bracelets - The liquid inside these bracelets can cause stomach upsets dogs and dogs may foam at the mouth. The bright colours may make them attractive so ensure these are binned after use and remind children to care for their pets too

Bonfire night - Remember, Remember the 5th of November….. most dogs would rather not! The loud bangs and unfamiliar noises for those with sensitive hearing can make this a stressful time. Consider drowning out some of the noise with the TV, radio, provide your dog with a safe space to hide in when needed, use natural remedies to help calm and give them some tasty challenges such as kongs, licki and snuffle mats to distract the anxiety.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M WORRIED?

Contact your vet with as much information as possible about your concerns, they are the experts! Before arriving for your consultation try to list the signs & symptoms, when it happened, where, if you think your dog has ingested something try to identify it, take a photo or a sample and an estimation on the volume ingested. If you are concerned about poisoning, there is a Veterinary Poisions line who provide a triage service for owners (details below).

Tel: 01202 50 9000*
Email: admin@vpisglobal.com
Website: www.animalpoisonline.co.uk

Enjoy your Autumnal explorations!


References:

Harrison. I. (2021) 11 of the most common dangers for dogs in Autumn. Available from https://www.vets-now.com/2017/09/dangers-dogs-autumn/ (Accessed 19/10/22)

Kennel Club (2022), Autumn Dangers. Available from:
https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health-and-dog-care/health/health-and-care/a-z-of-health-and-care-issues/autumn-dangers/ (Accessed 19/10/22)

NOAH (2022) Veterinary Poisons Information Service. Available from: https://www.noahcompendium.co.uk/?id=-312925 (Accessed 19/10/22)





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