Autumn is the season of shorter days, muddy walks and the chill of winter just around the corner. It also brings certain risks to our dogs.
Here is the Chudleys guide to help you know what to look out for.
Most dogs avoid conkers as they are bitter tasting but if eaten, they can be dangerous. Not only are they a choking hazard but they contain a toxin called aesculin. This toxin can cause upset stomachs and in rare cases can prove fatal.
Acorns contain a toxin called tannic acid which can cause upset stomachs and if eaten regularly, or in high amounts, the toxin can lead to kidney & liver failure. Green ones are more toxic than brown ones. Eating acorns can also lead to choking and gastrointestinal blockages.
The damp ground that Autumn brings is the perfect environment for a variety of toadstools and fungi to grow. Although some types of wild fungi are edible, it is difficult to distinguish these from toxic varieties. Some types may only cause a mild stomach upset, while others can be deadly.
Some seeds, pips and fruit stones contain toxins that can make your dog ill. Rotten fruit can also cause gastrointestinal issues.
If you are planting spring flowering bulbs in the autumn, keep the bulbs away from your dog. Daffodil, tulip and spring crocus bulbs can all be toxic and are usually the most poisonous part of the plant.
Rat & Mouse Poison
During the colder months, rodents look to keep warm. This can sometimes mean that they move into human spaces. Unfortunately, people often use commercial poisons to eliminate them. Mouse and rat poisons are designed to be attractive to rodents, but they often smell and taste good to your dogs too. There is also a risk your dog can pick up a poisoned rodent. These poisons are fatal to dogs so must be kept out of reach of them.
What to do if you think your dog has eaten something poisonous.
- Take them to your vet immediately. Make sure to call ahead first to let them know you're on your way.
- If possible, bring along a photo, or ideally a sample of what they have eaten taking care to keep it in a sealed container.
- In the case of fungi, make a note of where it was found. For example, was it growing in grass or on a tree stump? Knowing where it grew can help experts identify what type your dog has eaten should they become ill.
Alabama Rot is a rare but potentially life-threatening disease that affects dogs. It’s still unknown what causes Alabama Rot, but it’s believed to be related to walking in muddy and wet conditions. Alabama Rot causes problems with blood vessels in the skin and kidneys, and often first appears as unexplained marks, sores or ulcers, on dogs’ legs or paws. To prevent your dog from getting ill, experts recommend that you either keep dogs away from muddy areas or wash and dry them thoroughly after muddy or wet walks.
Seasonal Canine Illness
The cause of SCI is currently unknown. There are many theories about the cause of SCI, from allergic reactions to mushrooms, algae, agricultural chemicals and infection from harvest mites. The mushroom theory has now been discounted, however there are still concerns over harvest mites as some of the dogs that have contracted SCI have been infested with them.
Signs usually appear in dogs following a walk in a wooded area. The signs are non-specific so the condition may be missed. If your dog is vomiting or lethargic after recently being exercised in woodland, then contact your vet immediately. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Vomiting & diarrhoea
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle tremors
If you have recently walked your dog in woodland and they have any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
These blood-sucking mites are more commonly found during the spring and autumn but can feed on dogs at any time of the year. Ticks can pick up diseases from one host and pass them onto another. One of which is Lyme disease, which can also affect humans.
After walks in the park or countryside, always check your dog for any strange lumps or bumps that could be a tick, particularly around their head, groin, armpits and feet.
These can be removed by a tick remover but be careful to remove the whole tick as you can easily leave the mouthparts behind which can infect the site. You can also purchase specialised tick-removing solutions. Do not use any solvents that may burn the skin.
As the evenings become darker earlier, it’s a good idea to help make you and your dog more visible. Make sure that your dog’s microchip details are up to date and that they’re wearing I.D tags in case they get lost after dark.