Don’t Fall Victim to These Seasonal Hazards

November 2, 2020

a retriever on a leaf covered path

Pumpkin spice and chilly weather are back which can only mean one thing⁠—⁠fall is here! Start taking out your coats because the air is crisp and cool and the leaves are changing color. Not only is the changing season exciting for humans, but your pet is likely welcoming fall with open arms as they finally leave the hot, sticky weather behind. Fall, however, comes with its own set of lurking dangers for our four-legged friends. Between cold weather hazards and household poisons, the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to ensure you are aware of all the important safety issues this season brings. 

Below are some tips to keep your pet happy, safe and healthy during the autumn months! 

Beware of Rodenticides and Cold Weather Poisons
The use of rat and mouse poisons increases in the fall as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets, and if ingested, the results could be fatal. If you must use these products, please do so with extreme caution and keep them in places inaccessible to your pets.

Many people choose fall as the time to change their car's engine coolant as well. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so they should be kept away from pets and any spills should be cleaned up immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants—though they aren't completely nontoxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants. 

Keep School Supplies Out of Paws’ Reach
Fall is back-to-school time and now that lots of school’s are online, that means a lot more school supplies around the house. Those of you with young children likely have drawers filled with glue sticks, pencils and magic markers! Although these items are considered low toxicity to pets, gastrointestinal upset and blockages can occur if ingested. Be sure your children keep their school supplies out of your pet’s reach.

Watch Out for Wildlife
Autumn is the season when snakes are preparing for hibernation, increasing the possibility of bites to those unlucky pets who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pet parents should know what kinds of venomous snakes may be lurking in their environment—and where those snakes are most likely to be found—so pets can be kept out of those areas.

Steer Clear of Mushrooms
Fall and spring are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Since most toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from nontoxic ones, the best way to prevent pets from ingesting these poisonous plants is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms are growing. Please visit our Poisonous Plants page for more information.

Please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately if you suspect your pet ingested something toxic.