Each season comes with its own risks and hazards for our pets. Think about the negatives that come with that hot summer heat or freezing winter temps. And although the weather itself isn’t really hazardous for our animals, there are several other dangers that rear their heads in the fall.

And some of them might just surprise you.

So, to help you keep your pet protected, we’ve gathered up some of the most important autumn safety tips for cats and dogs. A little extra caution can save your pet’s life!

Autumn Safety Tips

A quick read through these autumn safety tips for dogs and cats will help refresh your memory and give you the tools to keep your pets safe all season long!

1. Mouse Trap?

As the weather starts to cool down, furry little creatures tend to seek out shelter indoors. That’s why the use of rat and mouse poisons increase in the fall. Obviously, as poisons, these are highly toxic to our pets and, if ingested, the results could be fatal. Make sure you know what’s in and around your home, or area, and keep pets from sniffing out these dangers.

If you have mice in the house, try your best to avoid using these poisons. Instead, consider humane traps with food-to-lure that isn’t harmful if your pets get into them.

If you’re concerned that your pet has come in contact with a rodenticide, contact your vet right away.

2. Conkers

In the autumn, conkers (AKA horse chestnuts), can be found in abundance. Lots of dogs just ignore them on walks, but some like to play with them or even try to eat them.

The problem is, they’re a no-go for pups! Firstly – blockages. Although conkers are smooth on the outside, they can still get stuck in the stomach or intestines. But even more troublesome is the fact that they contain a chemical called aesculin, which can be toxic to dogs if eaten. Common signs of conker poisoning include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain and discomfort
  • dehydration
  • shock

If your dog does eat one (or several), don’t panic, but do get in touch with your vet immediately. It can help if you know roughly how many your dog has eaten, as well as any symptoms that they could be showing.

To keep your pup safe, keep a good eye out during walks when conkers have fallen, especially if they tend to pick things up while you’re out.

3. Acorns

Conkers aren’t the only nuts that can cause a problem in the fall season. Exposure to acorns in dogs is common in the autumn and winter. The problems with acorns are similar to conkers – blockages for one, and poisoning for another. Acorns contain tannic acid, which can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.

4. Antifreeze

Fall weather can get cold, and so most people start breaking out those cold weather car chemicals in the fall. The most common chemical here is antifreeze, which can pose a major risk because of the ethylene glycol. Spills when pouring, or from leaks from a car’s radiator, can end up on the driveway. Ethylene glycol tastes sweet and very palatable for both cats and dogs, and even a small amount can cause serious kidney damage and be fatal. About five tablespoons can kill a medium sized dog.

The first signs of intoxication can be that your pet appears ‘drunk’. Other signs of antifreeze poisoning include:

  • depression
  • lethargy
  • trouble standing/staggering
  • seizures
  • increased water intake/urine output
  • vomiting

To be safe, keep antifreeze well away from pets. Don’t keep it in your backseat if your animal travels there. And when pouring, be extra vigilant and make sure to properly clean up any spills. If you know your animal has ingested antifreeze, or you have any concerns, contact your vet right away. 

5. Shorter Days, Longer Nights

When it comes to autumn safety tips, this is one we all tend to take for granted and forget about!

As we welcome those beautiful fall colors, we’re waving goodbye to long summer days. Instead of the sun setting well into the evening, we’ll slowly start to see the sky getting darker earlier.

While this itself is not a risk, it just means making those minor adjustments to keep yourself safe when walking. That might mean changing your route to well-travelled areas, bringing a long a flashlight, or just walking in the morning.

And of course, if you’re in an area where wild animals prepare to hibernate in the fall, their presence may also pose an additional risk!

6. Predators Roaming?

We mentioned wild animals out and about, and this is particularly important if your cats head outside. Although, that said, it’s important for dogs too!

If you let your animal outside at night, always head out with her, and make sure your yard is well lit. Consider a long leash if your yard isn’t fenced, just to be safe.

7. Wild Mushrooms

The composition of our yards change in the fall. With fallen leaves, and changing weather, you might see more mushrooms sprouting up than usual. Unfortunately, you’re probably not going to want your pet to just treat those fungi like an all-you-can-eat buffet!

Sure, lots of mushrooms are great for dogs – highly beneficial medicinal mushrooms like turkey tail, reshi, or cordyceps can do wonders for your dog’s overall health. But, not all mushrooms are friendly. Be sure that you can either positively (without a doubt) identify mushrooms in and around your area. Also, as with conkers, keep an eye on your pup as they peruse those leaf piles in the backyard and the pockets of leaves on your morning hike through the forest.

[Related] Want to know more about those beneficial mushrooms? Read this next.

And speaking of leaf piles…

8. Piles of Bacteria??

Noisy, crunchy piles of leaves are immediately exciting for dogs who love to play. If you’re a raker, and clean up those fallen leaves, be sure you’re watching your dog. Many dogs love the thrill of running and jumping into a pile of freshly raked leaves…

But rustling around in them can be problematic for dogs – especially if they’ve been lying around for a while. Once leaves fall from the tree, they start to slowly decay. And piles of wet, muddy leaves can house a large amount of bacteria and mold that can be harmful to your dog. They can also contain sharp sticks which can hurt your animal. If you left your dog leap through the leaves, just be sure to only let them do it when they’re fresh, and make sure you keep the sticks out!

Use these autumn safety tips to make the most of the fall season. Enjoy those changing colors, the cooler temps, and keep your pet safe without the worry!