Keep Your Dog Safe This Fall

Now that autumn is upon us, it’s important to think about some of the risks associated with the changing season and how to keep our dogs safe. If you have a dog then you know that there are always ways for dogs to injure themselves. Here’s how to keep your dog safe.

Antifreeze. One of the biggest dangers to dogs in the fall is antifreeze (ethylene glycol). Many people will change their antifreeze at this time of year, leaving spills in the driveway or bottles of antifreeze sitting in their garage. Antifreeze is very toxic to dogs but it has a sweet taste so it attracts dogs (and even children). Just five teaspoons can kill a small dog. It acts very quickly and leads to kidney failure and death in four to eight hours. A newer antifreeze product using propylene glycol is considered to be safer and less toxic. Remember to store all antifreeze in its original container, out of reach of pets and children. Keep the empty container so, if your dog does consume some, you can tell the vet what he drank. If you think your dog consumed antifreeze, call your vet immediately.

Rodenticides. This time of year many mice and other rodents are looking for a place to spend the winter inside your house. People are buying rodenticides (rat poison) to kill them. Unfortunately, these poisons can also kill your dog. Even if your dog just eats one of the mice, the rodenticide can still get in his system. These poisons cause severe bleeding, kidney failure, and even death. There are no safe rodenticides. Dogs will eat these products if they find them. If you use them in your home, put them somewhere so your pet can’t get to them and put them where children can’t reach them either.

Rodenticides that kill the rodents hoping to winter in your house will also kill
your pet. They cause severe bleeding, kidney failure, and death. There are no safe
rodenticides. Whether out of hunger, boredom, or curiosity, pets will consume these
products. If rodenticides are used in your home, put them in places inaccessible to pets and
children. Make sure you keep a record of the product used in case of ingestion. If your dog does eat one of these poisons, call your vet immediately.

Chocolate. Chocolate is a favorite treat year-round, but it shows up especially at Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. You can’t have a holiday without chocolate! Of course, chocolate can be toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. It takes more chocolate to affect a large dog, but small dogs can be affected by just one ounce of baking chocolate or eight ounce of milk chocolate. The first signs of chocolate poisoning are upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Later signs are restlessness and becoming uncoordinated. The dog will finally have heart failure and respiratory failure. Chocolate poisoning needs emergency veterinary treatment.

Thanksgiving. Vets report that they see an uptick in acute pancreatitis cases in dogs following Thanksgiving and other major holidays. This is because people tend to overfeed their dogs on these holidays. This is especially true when people pile on the human food for dogs that aren’t used to eating turkey and dressing. Likewise, vets see emergencies involving cooked turkey bones that break and pierce holes in the digestive track, or get stuck. Bloat is also seen at these times. So, go easy on the holiday meals for your dog. No cooked bones. Raw bones are fine. They are more pliable and won’t usually harm your dog’s digestive tract. But cooked bones are brittle and will break.

Decorations. The fall of the year typically sees the start of the decorations going up in the home. Whether it’s Halloween or Christmas, many people start putting out decorations on their tables and other places. And some of these decorations will be tempting to your dog. Take care and try not to put out things that would be toxic to your dog if he chewed on them. Lots of dogs have sampled potpourri without any harm but you don’t want your dog to devour your Christmas garland or other decorations.

Cold weather. As the days get shorter we’ll also be headed for cold weather. Remember that indoor pets are not usually acclimated to cold weather temps so they shouldn’t stay outside for long periods. If your dogs stay outside, they can do well as long as they have shelter from the wind and rain and have good bedding to insulate them from the cold ground. Avoid any electrical heating devices that could harm your dog if they were frayed and got wet. If your dog lives outside he will need extra calories in cold weather for body heat, and access to water that is not frozen.

It’s hard to believe that winter weather will be here soon but summer is winding down and it’s time to start planning ahead. Follow these tips and keep your dog safe this autumn.

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