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Minnesota Veterinary Hospital Blog

Enjoying Autumn With Your pet


Fall brings many changes in your family's routine, such as the kids going back to school and a focus on seasonal activities like hayrides and football. As the leaves fall from the trees outside and the temperature is noticeably cooler, it's important to watch for potential hazards that could harm your pet. Like the other three seasons in Minnesota, autumn poses unique risks for your dog or cat. Some of these include:


  • Snakes: Snakes start preparing for hibernation in the fall, which can make them more short-tempered than usual. If you walk your dog in a nature setting, be sure to keep her on the trail and close to you at all times. Snakes may also make their way into your yard so pay attention if your pet seems more excitable outdoors or your dog barks ferociously at something in the ground you may not be able to see.
  • Leaf piles: Although leaf piles are fun for the kids to jump in, don't leave them sitting on your lawn for too long. They can quickly accumulate moisture that leads to the growth of mold and bacteria. If ingested, these substances can make your pet ill. Your animal friend may exhibit classic signs of digestive tract distress, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.
  • Plants and mushrooms: A few plants, such as clematis and autumn crocus, grow exclusively in the fall. Mushrooms also tend to be more prevalent at this time of year. If your dog or cat eats a poisonous plant or mushroom, he will have digestive issues and possibly increased salivation and allergies.
  • Mice and rat poisons:  Rodents naturally seek shelter indoors when the outdoor temperature starts to drop. Like most people, you probably aren't too keen on sharing your living space with these critters. Before you use any type of rodenticide, make sure it's out of reach of your pet. Possible symptoms of rodenticide poisoning include loss of appetite, impaired movements, tremors, and depressed mood.
  • Holiday food and decorations: Be sure to keep Halloween treats out of your pet's reach and to exercise caution when sharing leftover scraps from Thanksgiving dinner. Decorations can also pose a problem as pets are naturally curious and may try to eat cardboard, streamers, and other materials used to create a festive atmosphere. To avoid this issue, place decorations on the wall so they are too high for your pet to reach.


What to Do if You Suspect Poisoning


In spite of your best efforts, determined pets may still get into things that they shouldn't. If your dog or cat shows any of the symptoms described above or is just not acting like herself, contact us at Minnesota Veterinary Hospital or call the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-855-764-7661.