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Autumn Safety Tips for Dogs

Learn some autumn safety tips for dogs.

As we approach the end of summer and the beginning of fall in North America, it's a great time to review the particular concerns the new season brings for dogs. Of course, there's a tremendous amount of fun to be had with your dog during autumn. Knowing what to watch out for will help you both have an even better season.

Leaf Piles

Jumping in a crunchy pile of leaves is fun for kids and dogs alike. It's just important for you to make sure your dog isn't taking the opportunity to eat the leaves. The decomposition process that leaves go through creates dangerous mycotoxins that can make your dog sick. It's even life-threatening if enough is ingested.

Also, discourage your dog from biting or playing with sticks, which are notorious for poking holes in delicate mouth tissue or getting stuck between the jaws.

Mouse and Rat Poison

As the weather cools off, rodents often try to get into people's homes where it's warmer, and that means an increase in rodenticide use. These poisons have different modes of action, but mostly, they cause internal bleeding in any mammal that ingests them. That includes your dog. Not only that but if your dog eats a rodent that ingested rodenticide, the dog can also be poisoned that way.

Don't use rodenticide around your home and talk to your neighbors about avoiding it too.


Fall is a typical time for people to burn candles, both for ambiance and to create pleasant scents in the house. But open flames are dangerous when you have pets who could knock a candle over and start a fire or brush the flame with a tail and carry it through the home. They may also get burned if they try to lick hot wax that smells nice. Liquid potpourri is dangerous for pets too because it causes chemical burns in the mouth.

Keep candles well out of reach of your dog. Consider replacing them with battery-powered faux candles instead.

Halloween Dangers

Autumn brings Halloween, and there are several things to keep in mind surrounding that holiday and dog safety:

  • Chocolate and xylitol (a natural sugar substitute in some candy and many types of gum) are toxic to dogs. And candy wrappers can cause dangerous intestinal obstructions. Keep candy and other holiday treats out of reach of your dog.
  • Halloween costumes can be cute, but many dogs strongly dislike wearing them. In fact, dressing up your dog can trigger anxiety, stress, and fear. And strings, ribbons, buttons, and other decorations that may come off the costume and cause choking or intestinal obstruction should be avoided.
  • Noise and people wearing costumes for Halloween can be scary for dogs. Many dogs run away during Halloween festivities like trick-or-treat time. Be sure to keep your dog confined in a quiet, safe room, and keep a collar with current ID on him just in case.


In the fall, people may add antifreeze to their vehicles, and if some gets on the ground or if a bottle is left where a dog can get to it, it's a hazard. Dogs are drawn to antifreeze because it's sweet, but it's incredibly toxic when ingested.

Remember that antifreeze from the road and driveways can get washed off when it rains, so don't let your dog drink out of puddles where the dangerous substance may have collected.

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.