Pet Parents: Beware of These Four Fall Toxins

November 7, 2019

a puggle and a small pumpkin

In many parts of the country, it’s getting chillier. Leaves are falling from the trees and it’s the perfect time of year to snuggle up with your pet near a roaring fire. As the seasons change, so do the potential toxins that your pet can be exposed to. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to make sure you have all the information you need to keep your pets safe year-round, so here are our top four common fall pet toxins and how you can ensure that your pets are safe, happy and healthy.

1. Pumpkins, Gourds and Corn Cobs

If you have a pet that likes to chew on things, be sure to keep them away from your fall decorations. While items like dried gourds and corn on the cob do not contain any dangerous toxins, they can cause intestinal blockages when eaten and often require surgery to remove. 

Pumpkins, especially after they are cut open, can grow mold that could cause your dog to develop tremors or seizures. Be sure to dispose of jack-o’-lanterns properly, ideally before they get moldy.

2. Apples

Apple slices, in moderation, can be a healthy snack for your dog. But be sure to remove any seeds, as they do contain cyanide—a dangerous toxin. In order for cyanide to be released, the seeds need to be chewed or ground up, so if your dog were to ingest a couple of apple seeds, its unlikely to cause a problem. But, it’s always better to be on the safe side. 

Additionally, large animals such as horses, goats or cows can develop cyanide toxicity if they eat a large number of apples. Always be mindful when giving your companion animals snacks that may not be a part of their regular diets. 

3. Hand Warmers

Disposable hand warmers contain elemental iron. Once the iron is removed from its plastic packaging and exposed to air, the iron becomes oxidized and heats up. If your pet ingests this part of a disposable hand warmer, it’s likely that they could experience symptoms of an upset stomach. But, if the hand warmer was unused and ingested by your pet, thermal burns can occur in the stomach and vomiting or diarrhea with blood can be seen. If your dog swallows one of the hand warmers intact, it could also cause an intestinal blockage and require surgery to remove You should always keep items such as disposable hand warmers up and out of paws’ reach. When disposing of used items, be sure to make sure your trash is secured to where your pet can’t get into it. 

4. Fire Safety

If you have a dog that likes to chew on things, be sure to keep fire-starter logs out of reach. These products are typically made of sawdust mixed with paraffin and can cause a lot of stomach irritation when ingested. If a dog eats enough, it can also cause intestinal blockage. 

Additionally, lighter fluid can cause stomach upset and depression when consumed. I If your pet gets into lighter fluid and vomits afterwards, the fluid can get into their lungs and put them at risk for aspiration pneumonia and difficulty breathing. If you believe that your pet ingested either of these items, you should contact your veterinarian for next steps.

When it comes to pet safety, no matter the season, prevention is always key. Keeping toxic items away from curious noses and paws is key to keeping your furry family members happy and healthy. 

If you believe your pet has ingested something potentially toxic or seems to be having an adverse reaction to something, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435 for assistance.