Allergies – You read right – dogs can have seasonal allergies, just like us! Mould, ragweed, grass and dust are just a few of the common culprits that can rigger allergies in pups this time of year. Common problems dogs with seasonal allergies might deal with is rashes, skin problems, excessive itching, sneezing, clear discharge around their nose, watery eyes or coughing. Consult your vet if you suspect allergies are at play – a vet can help your dog feel more comfortable with antihistamines and other medications.
Seasonal Canine Illness – This might sound similar to allergies, but Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) is an Autumnal illness that effects dogs of all breeds and ages between the months of August and November (in the UK). It’s unknown what causes SCI – except that it’s most likely linked to woodlands, but if not treated, can be fatal. Dogs usually start showing signs of being unwell 24-72 hours after walking in woodland.
Signs of SCI include vomiting, which can also be accompanied by diarrhoea and lethargy. If you notice these warning signs this season, don’t hang around. Seek veterinary attention quickly.
Holiday Visitors – Autumn is full of holidays where we gather in cosy homes with food drink and even fancy dress! With these added events, there is likely to be more people coming into your home and enjoying themselves. This is great, but if you have a nervous/reactive or particularly anxious dog this could be pretty stressful for them. When hosting party or having people over, make sure there is somewhere quiet, cosy and away from people where your dog can retreat to if they get overwhelmed. Importantly, make sure to tell your guests that that room is off limits and for the dog only.
Food, sweets and drinks should not be left unattended either if your dog is wandering around your home too. Alcoholic, chocolate, xylitol and other things can be harmful or toxic to pups.
Your guest’s coats and bags can also be potential hazards for inquisitive pups. Many everyday items we carry around in our bags can be toxic to our furry friends. Essentials like sugar-free gum, ibuprofen, and some cosmetics can make our dogs sick. So ensure you hang them up out of the way so Fido can’t reach them.
Holiday Treats – To go into a little more detail from the above point, Autumnal Holiday treats can be a real danger to your dog.
And with Halloween just around the corner there’ll be plenty of treat-rich nights ahead. But bear in mind, chocolate, sugary sweets and alcohol are dangerous for our dogs if eaten.
Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs and can cause seizures, vomiting and diarrhoea. Alcohol can cause vomiting, dehydration, disorientation, and in more severe cases collapse and coma.
Keep the chocolates, trick-or-treat bags and alcohol behind cupboard doors or out of reach. If your dog shows signs that they’ve eaten/drank something they shouldn’t, speak to your vet straight away.
Dark & Cold Walks – As Autumn sets in, the nights get darker and chillier. It won’t be long ‘til it’s dark at 4pm! We know dogs have fur coats, but to make sure they safe, cosy and warm it might be a good idea to invest in some doggy coats. Not only to keep them warmer during the colder evenings/mornings, but to make sure they’re visible to vehicles and other people. There is a wide range of high-visibility coasts, jackets, collars, leads and even booties to make sure your pup is seen in low light or darkness. You can also get clip on lights to keep an eye on your pooch if you’re letting them off the lead.
Antifreeze - This one comes up every year, for cats as well as dogs. Antifreeze is in most people garages/sheds and can be fatal to your pet if ingested.
Most antifreeze products contain an ingredient called ethylene glycol which can be extremely dangerous if ingested. Even in small amounts it could cause kidney failure and death. And it doesn’t help matters that dogs can be attracted to the chemical because of its sweet taste.
Be aware of the area surrounding your car in case your radiator leaks antifreeze, and always keep the bottle well out of reach. Avoid letting your dog drink from puddles, especially those that look discoloured. Appearing drunk or unsteady is a big indicator your dog has ingested antifreeze. If you notice this warning sign, consult your vet immediately.
Salted Roads - And again, as the temperatures continue to drop, roads and pavements might be salted to keep drivers and pedestrians from slipping around on ice. Now, this unlikely to be an issue until late November, but it’s best to keep an eye out throughout Autumn as freak freezes can occur.
Road salt is a huge irritant for our dog’s paws and can cause burning and cracked pads. Dogs may also lick their paws if the salt isn’t washed off causing inflammation to the mouth and digestive system. Some people suggest putting Vaseline on your dogs paws to protect them from heat or salt. At a pinch (lol) this might help but you need to make sure your dog doesn’t lick their paws at all – petroleum jelly is best for your dog’s tummy and can cause issues.
Try to avoid salted roads and walkways where possible and wash your dog’s paws thoroughly after ever walk. Alternatively, you can apply a paw balm before you set off that will act as a barrier against the salt or use booties if your dog will tolerate them.
Fallen Fruit – Autumn is prime time for fruit trees to shed their fruit. Great for harvest but not good for curious or chewy pooches!
But as fruits are left fallen on the ground, they can become mouldy and ferment. Mouldy food can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins which can be deadly for your dog if eaten, causing muscle tremors and convulsions.
Fallen fruits that ferment become naturally alcoholic over time. Your dog could have a toxic reaction to this natural alcohol in the fruit and suffer sickness and diarrhoea. If you have fruit trees in your garden, take a moment to pick up and throw away all the fruit blown onto the ground. Avoid areas in your neighbourhood where you know there are fruit trees and seek veterinary help if your dog becomes unwell.