8 Fall Safety Tips for Your Dog

Corgi playing in the leaves

Bryant Scannell / Getty Images

Fall can be a wonderful season for you and your dogs. The less extreme temperatures mean that you can enjoy long, more active walks together, and the fall leaves look beautiful and can provide a lot of fun for a playful pup. It is also pumpkin season, and the gourd is a healthy and fiber-filled treat for you and your dog.

There are a few things, though, that are worth remembering when it comes to keeping your pup safe during this time of year. Below are some of our top tips for dogs during the autumnal season.

Know the Risks of Leaf Piles

As soon as we have the arrival of fall, the internet becomes awash with cute viral videos of dogs playing in leaves.  

It can be fantastic fun for you, your family and your dog. Just make sure that you keep in mind a few safety precautions:

  • Make sure you remove any sharp rakes or other garden tools you might have been using to gather the leaves up. The last thing you want is for your dog to give themselves a nasty injury, accidentally diving into the pointy end of your metal rake.
  • Don’t forget that these leaf piles can become a safe hiding place for wild animals. It is not unknown for hedgehogs or other small animals to make a den in these spots.  
  • If the leaves have been lying for a long time, especially if the weather has been wet, they can become a haven for mold and other risky bacteria. If the pile of leaves is not fresh, you shouldn’t let your dog frolic in it; otherwise, they could become ill.

Don’t Neglect Your Dog’s Parasitic Treatments

It is not unusual for people to let their routine of anti-parasitic treatments slide as the fall weather arrives. It is a common misconception that once we are out of summer, fleas and tick numbers are much less.

If we are still experiencing mild weather in the fall, then it could be when they are most prevalent as they have had all Spring and Summer to continue breeding.

Make sure that you keep up to date with the flea and tick treatments you use during these months to avoid any nasty surprises.

Keep Your Dog Safe and Stress-Free During Fall Celebrations

Fall sees the arrival of Halloween, and, sometimes, early Thanksgiving celebrations.

While this can be a fun time for getting the family together, and your dog may love all the extra visitors, keep in mind that nervous dogs may find the extra hustle and bustle anxiety-inducing.

Make sure they have a safe and cozy place to retreat to and, if there are any visiting children, make sure they give your dog space and treat them gently. Kids in their elaborate trick or treat costumes and masks can be frightening for some dogs. If you are dressing your dog up for Halloween, make sure that they are comfortable with you doing so.

Be mindful of where the candies and other trick or treat goodies are being stored too. A lot of candies can contain ingredients that are not good for dogs. Some, like Xylitol, are so toxic that they can prove fatal.

Use High-Visibility Products

As we move into fall, the nights draw in on us. Don’t forget to look out the high-visibility products if you have to take your dog out for walks at dusk or dawn, or even in the dark.

Watch out if you are walking close to busy roads, a high-visibility vest or light up collar can be useful, and it may be more sensible to keep your dog on the leash.

Keep an Eye Out For Risky Funghi

Mushrooms become much more prevalent in the autumn months. Of course, some are safe for humans and dogs to eat, but some can be toxic. 

If you have a greedy dog that is prone to picking up any food they find on their walk, you may be best to steer clear of wooded areas or keep them on a leash to prevent any unwanted ingestion from happening. If you see any sprouting in your garden and you are not sure what they are, the best course of action is to remove them.

If your dog has ingested a mushroom and you suspect it could be a risky one, the best thing to do is seek veterinary advice immediately, or you could call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) for further guidance.

Signs of Mushroom Toxicity in Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Decreased or increased heart rate
  • Shaking
  • Lethargy

Seasonal Allergies Can Flair Up

Just like in the spring, when all the new flowers and grasses start to grow, autumn can also bring its own set of blooms that can set off a dog’s seasonal allergies. Ragweed season, for example, arrives in the fall, and this can trigger human and dog allergies.

Often it can manifest as sneezing and runny noses, but it can also cause more severe respiratory problems and itchiness or even skin rashes.

If you know what ragweed looks like, try to avoid taking your dog for a walk in an area where there is lots about. You may even want to have them wear a protective bodysuit to minimize their contact with it if their skin reaction is severe.

A wipe down or bath after they come in from their walk can sometimes help. Try to use shampoo products sparingly, as regular use can strip your dog’s coat of its natural oils. You may also need to seek advice from your vet for a severe allergy. They may be able to provide some antihistamines or other medication that can help temper the reaction.

Conkers Are Toxic For Dogs

It can be fantastic fun going conker hunting in the autumn, but a lot of dog owners don’t realize that the nuts that come from the horse chestnut tree are actually risky for dogs.

If you have a dog that loves to pick them up and play with them, or worse, if they try to eat them, then you should keep them on the leash and supervise them closely in areas where conkers are plentiful.

They can cause blockages if ingested, and, if enough are eaten, they can make your dog very ill as they contain a chemical called Aesculin, which is toxic for them. Fatalities from conker ingestion are very rare, but they can still become unwell.

Signs of Conker Poisoning in Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Dehydration
  • Possible collapse

Watch Out For Squirrel or Snake Chasing

Fall is the season when a lot of wildlife are preparing for hibernation. They will be making their last dashes around to store up on food, and they are often seen out during the day more than in the summer months.

If you have a dog with a high prey drive, then you should keep a close eye on them and leash them if you think you will be walking in an area where they are likely to get into bother trying to chase a squirrel up a tree.

If you live in snake territory, they can be very active and sometimes more prone to aggression in the Fall. Be extra careful if you are walking your dog in areas that you could expect to find any. Even non-poisonous snake bites can be painful.