Autumn Dangers to Your Dog

This article is brought to you by Finchley Dog Walker on autumn  dangers to your dog from Acorns to Snakes and Ladders – no badgers

Autumn is an excellent time of year and probably my favourite.   Although the days get shorter, the temperature is still enjoyable (not hot or cold).  This results in Autumn being a great time of year to enjoy the great outdoors together along with the beautiful colourcast nature produces.

Like any other season, Autumn brings its own dangers, which dog owners need to know.  You will already know about some of these dangers, but I can guarantee others will take you by surprise.

These dangers are both inside and outside the home, and I hope my article about autumn dangers for dogs will help.


It is important to remember that ethylene glycol is highly poisonous to dogs and is one of the main ingredients of any antifreeze product. Even in small quantities, ethylene can cause kidney failure, eventually leading to death.  Unfortunately, this chemical has an extremely attractive sweet taste.

Like cleaning chemicals, make sure the cap is secure on the bottle, and it is well out of reach.

Dogs love to drink out of puddles even when they have clean, fresh water at home. Make sure you keep an eye on them and stop them from drinking out of winter puddles, especially discoloured ones.

Autumn plants an autumn danger to your dog.

Many people decorate their homes and change the bedding plants in Autumn for more seasonal pens such as Ivy, Chrysanthemums, Crocus,  and Cyclamens.  These autumn plants are dangerous in various degrees, from vomiting and diarrhoea to more fatal seizures and death.

So, before heading to the garden centre to refresh the pants in your garden, make sure you do your research and check the plants you are buying.

If you do get plants that you know are toxic, then like household cleaners make sure they are out of the dog’s reach or in a hanging basket.

Children’s toys.

This is an all-year-round danger, especially as the nights get darker and children spend more time indoors.  If you have children into air fix or other craft-type activities, then make sure they understand the importance of keeping the material out of reach of the pet and putting items such as Gel pens, magic markers, glue. small bits of plane etc

Lego is another big hit with kids, especially as some of the things you can build are amazing (Did you know Lego is the biggest manufacturer of tyres) but can involve small objects etc., that the dog can chew on.

It is important that you watch your children with Lego, craft materials etc., in case the dog gets them, encourage the children to clear up and put everything away in secure boxes when they have finished with them and out of reach.

If your dog accidentally swallows any craft items or even Lego etc., it could lead to a serious blockage or, at the very minimum, an upset tummy.  It is therefore advisable to contact your Vet for advice.


Around September time conkers start to fall from the tree along with acorns and horse chestnuts.

As a rule, I find that most dogs are not interested in them.  However, if you have a dog who likes to chew, they may be tempted, especially puppies.  Conkers and acorns are poisonous if they decide to eat them.  The other danger if swallowed is the danger of choking along with internal blockage.

If your dog is one of those that likes to pick things up and carry them, then they may be tempted by conkers.  Keep an eye on them and if you notice them carrying stuff in their mouths such as conkers or even a stick, then try and substitute this for a safe toy.

Dark evenings and dog walks.

As we get to September onward, the evenings start to draw in, and even the early morning walks will get darker and more chilly.  It is important to keep both yourself and your dog warm and take the appropriate walking gear with you.

Reflective leads and collars.  These will help you be seen in the dark by drivers and other dog walkers.  The reflective collars can also help you find your dogs easier in the dark.  You may also wish to check out flashing collars.

.It is also important to make sure you wear a suitable jacket to keep you warm and dry.  Our article on what to wear when walking your dog at night is an essential read.

Fallen fruits

September and October is a great time for foraging fruit such as apples.  However, when apples fall to the ground and are left for a while, they start to go mouldy and can also ferment (drunk wasps are a danger this time of year)

Any rotten food can be dangerous for dogs as it contains tremorgenic mycotoxins that can cause convulsions and muscle tremors.

Another danger from fallen fruit is that they will become naturally alcoholic due to the natural yeast around.  The natural alcohol is enough to make your dog sick and cause diarrhoea.

Finally, if your garden has apple trees, etc., make sure you check for any windfalls and throw the apples away to avoid any dangers.

Fallen Leaves

A familiar sight in Autumn is the brightly coloured leaves that fall from the tree.  However, with fallen leaves come dangers.  Some are obvious, but I recently had one pointed out to me, which after many years of owning dogs and nearly ten years of being a dog walker I honestly, hadn’t thought off.

Slip hazards

It is important to watch your step in the Autumn, especially after it has been raining.  As we all know, the leaves on the ground become slippery.  It then becomes so easy to slip and break or sprain something.

Hidden dog poo

This one is not such a danger but annoying.  We all know that hidden poos are out there, just waiting for you to step in them.

Hidden chicken bones

This is one you may not have thought of.  In the summer, we all see the scattered chicken takeaway boxes containing bones.  We all know that chicken bones can potentially splinter in the stomach and cause problems and so we pay extra attention to make sure the dogs don’t eat the

Just because we cannot see them in the Autumn, they are still there and probably hidden by leaves.  So why it is important to encourage quality walks, including sniffing.  It is also important to stay alert to entire they do not  find a chicken bone and eat it before you realise it.  Another good reason for puppy training classes and teaching “drop”.

Broken Glass

As well as chicken bones, fallen leaves can hide other dangers such as broken glass.  As I am sure you are aware glass can lead to serious paw injuries.  If your dog cuts his paws and the glass remains in the cut in the same way stick injuries, DO NOT REMOVE the glass as it could cause more damage.

Fireworks – Remember Remember 5th November

5th November is bonfire night and involves fireworks.  However, fireworks now start from the end of October for Halloween and seem to go onto New Year’s Eve, which also includes Diwali.

Many dogs are frightened of loud bangs and sudden flashes of lights that Fireworks and even thunder cause, and even a normally calm and friendly dog can act out of character due to stress and fear and can possibly be aggressive

During the firework season, it is vital that we provide the dog with a safe Den as well as offering extra comfort to help our pets feel safe, secure, and less anxious.

Preparation for fireworks

Around August/ September time, you can start preparing for fireworks, although ideally, you should start in the summer.  Start off by watching a video on YouTube that contains firework noises with the sounds low.  Over time increase the sound, so it doesn’t sound so freighting on the night.

When it comes to the night itself, then take your dog out early before the fireworks start. Make sure your curtains are drawn and put on the radio or TV at a higher volume than usual.  If you have Amazon, then through a dogs ear is very good.

Finally, why not look at East Barnet Dog Training sheet on fireworks and your pet

Halloween decorations and choking hazards

With Autumn comes various decorations and Halloween.  Whilst Halloween is a great time for kids it can bring various dangers to dogs and even be stressful.

It is a well-known fact that dogs explore with their mouths.  Halloween decorations such as spiders can cause choking if the dog swallows them.  Another choke hazard that can be a danger for dogs is face paints and makeup.  If you are using makeup, then try and get the ones that are non-toxic for dogs.

As with other potential choking hazards, it is important to make sure they are out of reach of dogs and even small children.

Further tips on how to have  a safe Halloween can be found here

Household Heating

This is one of the Autumn dangers for your dog you may not have thought about. Whilst Autumn during the day is still pleasant, the temperatures at night can sometimes be a bit chilly, and we start putting on the central heating or lighting the wood-burning stove.

Wood burning stoves, space heaters and open fires can pose a big threat to puppies and even some older dogs They either become curious and want to investigate, or they want to get closer and closer to keep warm.  Either way, it can result in dogs and cats etc., burning themself.

Either way

  • Make sure that your fireplace, open fire or wood-burning stove has a fireguard
  • Never leave your pets alone when the open fire/wood burning stove is lit
  • Try and fit radiator covers where possible

Older pets

Just like humans’ older dogs can feel the cold more.  Another downside of the colder weather in older dogs is that if they have arthritis, then the cold and damp weather that Autumn and winter brings can create a lot of problems with their joints, including pain.

Older dogs are less reluctant to want to go out when it is cold, and dap and their activities level will decrease.  If this is the case, don’t try and force them but walk at a slower pace for a shorter period and then do more brain games – Finchley dog walker offers an older dog walking service

In the same way, as arthritic pain is uncomfortable for humans, the same is true for dogs, although supplements such as Yumove can help or garlic along with green release tablets from dorwest.

Other treatments that can help are hydrotherapy and Acupuncture for dogs



With today’s central heating and warm houses, fleas are around all year long.  As a result, your dog can be suffering from fleas even in mid-winter.  It is worth talking with your Vet about various flea treatments. Other options include garlic from places like Dorwest  herbs. Some essential oils have also been proven to work


it is still possible to pick up ticks whilst you are out enjoying the wonderful colours that the woods offer this time of year.  As previously mentioned, ticks can carry Lyme disease

Harvest mites

These are exceedingly difficult to find.  These tiny little red mites are hard to see and can be found amongst long grass around July to September, and It is important to check around your pets’ ears and eyes along with the paws and tummy for this Autumn dangers.


Many people use household poisons to keep rodents and insects at bay. This is one of the top autumn dangers for dogs as rats and mice seek a comfy indoor environment for warmth and food.

The reason that most rat and mouse poison is dangerous to they are essentially anti-coagulant and work by preventing the blood from clotting

If the dog does get hold of the poison, it essentially causes severe bleeding from even just small cuts or grazes or simply an internal organ.  Unfortunately, it may take several days before you are even aware of anything being wrong

Some of the warning signs that your dog has had poison include

  • Blood in the vomit
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Rapid breathing

If your dog shows any of these signs, then you need to seek urgent medical help from your Vet.

If you have a rodent issue, then consider one of the humane traps.

Stormy days and floods

Whilst no one can get bored with the Great British weather due to it being so unpredictable, Autumn usually brings a lot more rain and storms.

Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on the weather, and if you know it is going to get wet and windy, try and take your dog out before it gets too bad.  It is also a really good idea to encourage your cat to come indoors and stay

During stormy weather ensure small animals such as rabbits are in a sheltered area of the garden and protected.

Sudden downpours can lead to flooding of outside buildings, cages, runs and garages.  They may also need moving if the ground has now become very muddy as a result

During very high winds it is essential to make sure you check your garden for any fences that may have been damaged leaving a hole for your dog to escape


Snakes and ladders, no badgers

Autumn is the time of year that many animals will start to get ready to hibernate for the winter.  Snakes are just one such animal.  This means they may be grumpier than normal.  As a result, extra care needs to be taken to make sure they don’t bite (I’ve just done a 2-minute mile in the other direction)

When going for long walks, make sure you are aware of what snakes are native to that area.  Fortunately, in this country, the only danger is the adder, but it is important to remember that just one bite for some species of snakes could be fatal

Another animal you may see is a badger. Badgers start looking for extra food in the Autumn so they can store it for the winter, and like any animal (including humans), if they feel uneasy or in danger, they can be quite lethal.  If badgers are in the area, then make sure you keep the dog on a lead.   You may want to read our article on Entertaining your dog whilst on walks

Sticks and the Dangers to dogs.

During the autumn period, you will generally find more sticks on the ground. One of the autumn dangers to dogs is the temptation to play sticks with your dog.  Please be careful as sticks can cause cuts to the mouth and jaw, get wedged in the mouth or should the dog decide to chew the stick possibly  cause a blockage in the intestine,

Wild Mushrooms

These can normally be found in dark, damp woods during the autumn season and are something to be aware of.  A lot of mushrooms are harmless.  However,  unless you are an expert, it is better to be safe than sorry, as it can be hard to tell.    If you suspect your dog has eaten a mushroom, then contact your Vet

Remember, If you employ a dog walker or dog sitter to help with your pet(s) be sure they’re aware of autumn dangers to your dog also.

The content and articles on this website are not intended as a substitute for Veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is advisable to always seek the opinion of your Vet with any queries you may have regarding the medical health of your pet.

Reliance on any content or information that appears on this website is totally at your own risk.

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