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Autumn Hazards for Dogs and Cats

November 1, 2017

Autumn is now in full swing—like the other seasons of the year, fall presents a few common pet hazards for you to be aware of. Luckily, you can keep your pet safe with a few simple precautions! Learn more below from a Salem, VA veterinarian.

Pesticide Products

When the temperature drops outdoors, pests like insects and small rodents like to invade our homes to seek warmth. Often, we will use pesticide or rodenticide products to ward them off. Remember that such products can poison animal companions just as easily as the critters they’re made to kill! Place pesticides with extreme caution, and ask your vet about non-toxic alternatives that will be safer for house pets.

For additional ways to keep your pet safe without breaking the bank, including safe and affordable alternatives to commercial pesticides, check out our ‘Cost-Effective Pet Care Tips’.

Toxic Mushrooms

Most mushrooms that will grow in your backyard aren’t toxic. However, it’s not worth taking a chance; even mushrooms that aren’t poisonous may be sprayed with chemicals or fertilizers that you don’t want a pet to chow down on, and they present a choking hazard. Keep a close eye on your pet when outdoors this fall to make sure they don’t munch on any foreign objects.

To ensure your pet’s diet remains balanced and safe, especially during the fall when outdoor hazards are present, explore our ‘Nutrition & Weight Management’ services.

Snake Bites

Snake bites are a particular problem in the fall. That’s because snakes are preparing to hibernate for the long winter, and are extra grumpy when disturbed. A pet who accidentally runs across one is at risk for getting bitten! Both venomous and non-venomous snakes pose a threat—don’t let your pet explore heavily weeded areas or thick brush where snakes may like to hide, and ask your veterinarian what sorts of poisonous snakes are common in your area.

School Supplies

Now that young children’s school projects are in full swing, you may find various school supplies lying about on your floors. Curious pets may decide to try and ingest glue sticks, markers, crayons, pencils, erasers, or other small objects. Scissors left lying around could cut a pet, or even a human family member who isn’t paying attention. It’s best to keep all school supplies where pets can’t reach.

Portable Heaters

Portable heating devices are great for keeping that autumnal chill at bay. Keep in mind, though, that an unsuspecting pet could get too close and experience painful burns. Open fireplaces are another hazard; never let your animal companion get too close to the flames!

Our Advice on Autumn Hazards for Dogs and Cats in 2024

What are the specific risks associated with different types of pesticides?

Pesticides, including insecticides and rodenticides, pose significant risks to pets if ingested or exposed to these chemicals. Insecticides containing organophosphates or carbamates can cause severe symptoms such as salivation, tremors, seizures, and respiratory distress in dogs and cats. Pyrethrins and pyrethroids, while generally less toxic, may still lead to drooling, vomiting, and ataxia. Rodenticides, depending on the active ingredient, can cause internal bleeding (anticoagulants like warfarin), neurological symptoms (bromethalin), or kidney failure (cholecalciferol). Pets may be poisoned by directly consuming these products or by ingesting affected prey. If pesticide exposure is suspected, immediate veterinary care is crucial for the best outcome.

What are the signs of a snake bite on a pet, and how do the symptoms of venomous bites differ from non-venomous?

The signs of a snake bite on a pet can vary depending on the type of snake involved. Non-venomous snake bites typically result in puncture wounds, swelling, and pain at the bite site. Venomous snake bites, however, can cause more severe symptoms such as excessive salivation, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, seizures, or paralysis. The onset of these symptoms may be delayed by several hours. If you suspect your pet has been bitten by any snake, it is essential to seek immediate veterinary care. The experienced team at our veterinary clinic in Roanoke, VA, is well-equipped to handle snake bite emergencies and provide the necessary treatment for your pet.

Which specific school supplies are most toxic to pets?

Among school supplies, several items can be particularly toxic to pets if ingested. Glue sticks and liquid glues may contain ethylene glycol, which can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats. Markers and pens often use inks that can lead to gastrointestinal irritation or obstruction if chewed and swallowed. Certain types of erasers, especially those made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC), can result in intestinal blockages or damage to the digestive tract. Batteries from calculators or electronic devices pose a risk of heavy metal toxicity and caustic injury if punctured or chewed. It is crucial to keep all school supplies out of pets’ reach and to seek veterinary care immediately if ingestion is suspected.

What precautions can you take when walking your dog in areas where snakes might be present?

When walking your dog in areas where snakes may be present, it is important to keep your pet on a leash and stay on well-maintained trails. Avoid letting your dog explore tall grass, thick brush, or rocky areas where snakes might hide. Keep an eye out for snake warning signs, such as a distinctive rattle sound or a snake basking in the sun. If you encounter a snake, calmly back away and give it a wide berth. Consider using a walking stick to alert snakes of your presence and to help move them away if needed. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the types of venomous snakes in your area and learn how to identify them. If your dog is bitten by a snake, seek veterinary care immediately.

Are there specific plants or fungi that are common in autumn and particularly dangerous to pets?

Certain plants and fungi that are more prevalent in autumn can pose significant dangers to pets. Mushrooms, such as the Amanita species, can cause severe liver and kidney damage if ingested. The autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) contains colchicine, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress, liver and kidney failure, and bone marrow suppression. Chrysanthemums, a popular fall flower, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive salivation if consumed by pets. Additionally, fallen leaves from trees like oak, red maple, and black walnut can cause gastrointestinal irritation or obstruction if ingested in large quantities. It is essential to keep pets away from these potential hazards and to contact a veterinarian immediately if exposure is suspected.

Would you like more tips for keeping Fido or Fluffy safe this fall? Contact your Salem, VA pet clinic today.

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