Fall is a fun and beautiful time of the year. The leaves are changing color, the temperatures are getting cooler, and footballs are in the air. However, autumn can be a potentially dangerous time of year for pets. Here are a few tips to avoid the pitfalls of the fall.
The changing colors of the leaves can be beautiful, especially in North Georgia. However, leaves and leaf piles can create a hazard for your pet. The ingestion of leaves can cause severe stomach and intestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially can cause a blockage of the intestinal system. Also, oak tree leaves and mushrooms can be toxic to a dog if enough are ingested. Ticks like to congregate in leaf piles, as well. Dogs love to roll in these leaf piles and acquire ticks that can spread serious diseases to your pet and can lay eggs to infest your house.
Wild animals also are very active during the fall. Bears, snakes and skunks can be quite irritable as they are getting ready for hibernation. Also, bees and wasps may be more aggressive this time of year, leading to more stings. Mosquitoes are present, and pets must be maintained on heartworm prevention continuously for the entire year.
Also, routine maintenance of vehicles calls for the changing of the engine’s antifreeze. Antifreeze is extremely deadly to cats and dogs and must be avoided at all cost. The solution is very sweet to drink for pets. Just a small amount can be life-threatening. Special attention when changing the antifreeze must be taken, and proper cleaning of any spilt amounts must be thorough.
Fun events, festivals and holidays occur in the fall. Dogs should not be given any people food. Also, pets should never get candy or chocolate. These items can be extremely toxic to pets and may be fatal.
Lastly, autumn brings cooler weather. If pets are staying outdoors, please make sure they have warm bedding and shelter, and have access to fresh water and food during this time. If weather is forecast for a freeze, please bring pets indoors to prevent frostbite. Please use space heaters and electric blankets carefully to avoid injury to pets, or house fires.
Autumn can be fun, but it also can be dangerous. Please take these precautions and enjoy the fall season.
By Dr. Jonathan Gilvarry, contributing writer and associate veterinarian at BridgeMill Animal Hospital.