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What Dog Owners Should Watch Out for this Autumn

Written by: Russell Goodman



Time to read 5 min

Whilst we think of summer as a great time to make the most of getting outdoors with our dogs, with early morning light and longer evenings…the smells and changes of season can be wonderfully exciting for your dog!

The noise of those golden crunchy leaves beneath your feet, muddy slushy puddles and wrapping up to brace that wet and windy weather can bring back that excitement to how we connect with our dogs and nature! 

However, today we’re going to discuss some of the potential dangers associated with dogs and autumn. So let’s cover them separately.

Acorns and dogs 

Acorns appear to us, on the outside at least, as pretty harmless. But did you know they contain a toxin called ‘tannic acid’ that could make your dog sick or really upset their stomach? Now whilst green acorns contain the largest amounts of these tannins, brown ones contain less. Despite this, try your best to avoid your dog ingesting these as they can present further health complications.

Conkers contain toxins

The toxin found in conkers is called aesculin which can quickly make your dog sick or, like acorns, cause quite a bad tummy upset. Since they’re particularly bitter, your dog probably won’t turn to nibbling conkers all that often, but still, it’s best they avoid eating them altogether. Aside from being highly toxic in large amounts, conkers are also a major choking hazard as they’re quite large and can get lodged in your dog’s throat.

Toadstools, Wild Mushrooms and Fungi

Not well known among many people, toxic (and even deadly) toadstools or fungi aren’t just those big bright red ones you see dotted around the woodland path. Toadstools come in all shapes, colours and sizes.

Of course, whilst some mushrooms are edible - and only if you’re an expert and know exactly what you’re doing - many are not and can cause serious illness and even death. So we have to be super careful if we see our dogs even remotely close to these. And it’s worth noting that whilst some can cause side effects almost immediately, there are types of wild mushrooms and toadstools that present their symptoms days and weeks after ingestion. So here’s what to do if your dog has eaten a toadstool, funghi or wild mushroom - or even if you suspect they have:

  • Take them to the vets immediately - the closest one to you with a quick search on your maps. And also remember to call ahead first so that they know to expect you.
  • If possible, either take a photo, or even better, a sample of the funghi you suspect your dog has eaten. If you are able to collect a sample, put it in a bag or carefully wrap it - ideally in paper as plastic bags can cause it to breakdown faster. Whatever you have on you will do!
  • Try your best to make note of where this happened and specifically whether it was in grass, or around a tree stump, etc. This can help an expert identify it more easily.

Fireworks And Your Dog

At least half of all dogs will be frightened of fireworks - and the VAST majority of owners notice a change in their dogs’ behaviour. Celebrations like Bonfire Night can be stressful since they also have a superb sense of hearing (as we know), so the explosions that we hear are often amplified for our dogs. Because dogs don’t realise what’s happening, they don’t understand what is coming next. 

Here are some tips we hope you’ll find helpful to make it as stress-free as possible for your four-legged bestie. 

  • If you know your dog is prone to getting stressed at loud noises you can give them a calming supplement such as Peaceful Pooch. It's best to start the supplement at least a month ahead of when fireworks will start to October is the perfect time tostart giving your dog a calming supplement.
  • Ahead of a planned event, consider playing an online video of fireworks at relatively low volume while your dog is calm and quiet. This may help start to familiarise him with the noises in a safe environment.
  • On Bonfire Night, it’s probably a good idea to ensure your dog gets plenty of “walkies” during the day so he might be more tired by the time it gets dark and the fireworks start to “whizz” and “bang”. If you know your dog will get anxious, try to feed him before it gets dark or he may not want to eat. Also, make sure your dog has his own “safe space” that he’s used to; if he’s used to a crate, you could cover it with a blanket for extra security. 
  • It’s a good idea to make sure that all doors and windows are securely closed, partly to deaden the noise of course but also to make sure he can’t escape if frightened.
  • Raising the volume of the TV or radio will also help disguise the noise of the fireworks and playing games with favourite toys to distract him may help too.
  • If you know your dog reacts badly to fireworks but you really can’t be at home with him, why not ask if somebody else can come and sit with him while you’re away? Give them some suggestions about what they should do to keep him calm. 
  • Lastly, if you do have to take your dog outside, please make sure he’s wearing a collar with his ID on it, just in case he makes a run for it!

Darker Nights During Autumn

As the evenings draw in, it’s a good idea to help make both you and your dog more visible. It won’t come as a surprise that road traffic accidents are more common during the autumn/winter months so things like bright reflective clothing, light-up collars and leads are important.

Dangers of Fallen Fruits 

Temperatures begin to gradually drop during autumn, and this is when trees begin to drop their fruits. However, you need to be aware that some seeds, pips and fruit stones do contain toxins that are potentially harmful to your dog’s health, if ingested. Rotting or fermenting fruit that’s been on the ground a little while is also a hazard and can create upset stomachs very easily.

Ticks That Bite Your Dog

Spring and autumn are the most common times these little pests come alive, however, they can feed from dogs during any season. Ticks are nasty - they can pick up and transfer diseases from animal to animal (including us) which can lead to long-term illnesses! A simple tip is after a walk in the countryside or out in the woods, always be sure to check for any strange lumps or bumps - these could be ticks.