Pet health and safety in the fall

Life changes gear in the fall. Our kids are back in school and depending on where we live, the weather dramatically shifts, we adjust what we eat and what we do around our homes. Autumn presents some hazards for our pets which do not need to be feared but simply noticed and managed. Many of these hazards are outside, some are inside. Some are natural hazards and some are man-made.

This list is by no means comprehensive but covers some of the more important or critical things to look out for during this beautiful, colourful, fall season.


Time for Ticks

Ticks are very active in September and the fall, right through the winter season. These blood sucking parasitic arachnids love to bury themselves into cozy warm areas of your pet’s body. They don’t fly or jump but will fall on people or animals passing by on trails and grassy or forested areas.

If you live in an area where there are ticks, inspect your pet after walks. Also, keep your yard safer by getting rid of yard and garden waste, where ticks may reside.

Here is a detailed look at ticks and how to keep your pets safe.


Mushrooms and other fungi love the cool, wet fall climate. While only some types of mushrooms are dangerous for your dog or cat, there are so many varieties, making it difficult to know the safe from the poisonous. Certainly, it is best practice to keep your pet away from all wild mushrooms. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested mushrooms…don’t wait…take them to the vet for immediate treatment.


Mice and rats tend to look for warmer (inside or sheltered) habitations in the cooler seasons, so home owners often use more traps and poison to deal with the vermin. Even if you are able to manage your pet on your own property, your neighbours may be using poison on their property. Also, a rodent which has ingested poison is dangerous to your pet, so keep an eye out for your enthusiastic pet bringing “gifts” to your door.


Your vehicles need it. Your pets can die from it. Just a few tongue laps of antifreeze can kill a small animal. Keep your dogs and cats inside when you break out the antifreeze. Check for spills and make sure you clean thoroughly, as this liquid has a sweet’ish taste that is attractive to cats and dogs.


Naughty Food

Both hearty and sweet food finds its way to our tables, in larger amounts, in the fall and winter. When people overindulge, we may feel a bit sick or lethargic and yes, if we continue to overdo it, it may cause health issues. For our pets, a number of these foods may present an acute toxic reaction, intestinal trouble or other physiological problem.

Some food items, common in the fall holiday season, that are unfriendly for your pets:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Corn on the cob
  • Onions, garlic
  • Cooked Bones (risk of choking especially high for cats with any bones)
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Xylitol (common sweetener)
  • Nuts


Yes, it’s fun to watch your cat or dog play with some of the seasonal decorations dangling around various parts of your home. Just as you would take care with babies and be vigilant, noticing what they put in their mouths, watch out that your pet doesn’t ingest an item that may get lodged internally.


It’s a season of hearty and sweet food. It’s a season of family gatherings and events. Enjoy all of this in its fullness while at the same time keeping a watchful eye out for the safety of your furry family members.