Fall Pet Health and Safety Issues to Avoid

Brushing furry dog
Like many dogs, yours might shed like crazy this time of year. Brush him more frequently to keep fur at bay.

I love autumn. Don’t you? Cooler weather, apple cider, pumpkins in the market. I think our dogs enjoy it, too: They get to jump in piles of leaves, just like I did when I was a kid, and the weather is more comfortable so chances are, they can spend more time outdoors during the day without overheating.

But autumn has its hazards, like any other season. You might be surprised to learn about some of them. Here are just a few things to watch for.

Fur and Skin Issues

Fall's cool weather can be a welcome change, but it can bring a host of skin and fur issues for your canine.

Seasonal allergies can be a problem for people and pets in the fall. For example, ragweed blooms in late summer and early fall, ending with the first frost. Until then, your allergic pet may suffer signs such as licking, biting, scratching, hair loss, itchy ears and skin that is red, dry, greasy, scabby or stinky — especially on the legs, feet, face, belly or thighs. Talk to your veterinarian to see if your dog might have seasonal allergies and learn about medications to help relieve the itch.

Many pets shed their lighter summer coat in the fall to make way for a thicker winter coat. That means there will likely be hair, hair everywhere. Brush your pet more frequently to help reduce the amount of fur flying around your home.

Finally, thanks to milder fall weather and warmer spring temps, many ticks, including deer ticks (or black-legged ticks) are expanding their range and are more likely to be out year-round. Even if ticks aren’t active all 365 days of the year, they are active every month of the year in many places. Where some of us live, there will always be a few days that are warm enough for them to make an appearance. Consider keeping your pet on tick preventive year-round and keep your yard manicured to reduce tick habitat. Check your dog thoroughly for ticks after hikes in brushy or wooded areas, especially if there’s a large deer population.


A number of potentially poisonous substances come out of storage in the fall. They include rat and mouse poisons, antifreeze and mothballs. Mushrooms and toadstools are also likely to pop up in fall and can be deadly to pets as well. Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if you suspect any type of poisoning. If possible, bring a sample of the suspected poison or the box it came in.

Signs of rodenticide poisoning depend on the type of product used. Bromethalin can cause changes in behavior, such as pressing the head against a wall or circling repeatedly. Anticoagulant poisoning prevents blood from clotting, causing internal bleeding. Other signs can include difficulty breathing, coughing, nose bleeds and unusual lethargy.


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