Fall Pet Safety Tips: An Autumn Guide for Dogs and Cats

Holiday & seasonal
A dog lying in a bed of leaves enjoying a safe fall

There is nothing quite like a crisp autumn breeze, beautiful foliage, and the smell of warm spices baking in the kitchen. Do beware though–fall ushers in a bushel of dangers for our furry companions. Here’s how to keep your pets safe and healthy with these fall pet safety tips this season. 

Should you Increase your Pet’s Food for Fall? 

Some pet owners believe there is an increased need for food once the summer heat dies down. Is this necessary? Several decades ago, your veterinarian may have recommended a slight increase in your pet's food consumption as the weather cooled and your pet required slightly more caloric intake to regulate his system.

Today, however, things have changed. With a shocking number of pets categorized as obese and most dogs and cats kept primarily as house pets, this isn't a concern for most pet parents. If you do have a very fit working dog, a small increase may be a wise idea; with this said, an increase around 10% is probably all that is necessary. This does not mean an extra meal or an unlimited pass to treats. 

Temperature Changes During Fall 

As fall approaches, temperature changes can affect our pets, especially smaller breeds, puppies, and senior animals. It’s important to monitor the outdoor time for pets and help them adjust to the cooler weather. Provide extra warmth, like blankets for outdoor dogs, and observe how they cope with the changes in temperature and adjust their daily activities accordingly. 

What Dangers Lurk When the Fall Weather Sets In? 

Fall brings a plethora of fun opportunities and events; however, a lot of autumn-themed food and the accompanying wildlife can be dangerous for our beloved cats and dogs.

Apple Picking – Not Apple Grazing

As it turns out, apples are not the cure to health for Fido or Fluffy. If your dog likes to graze the ground for food, consider leaving Fido at home during your stroll of the apple orchards. While the flesh of ripe apples doesn’t pose a problem for dogs or cats, apple stems, leaves and seeds are not so gentle. They can cause GI upset, decreased oxygen in the blood, decreased heart rate, difficulty breathing, seizures, coma, and even death. With reasonable preparation, the flesh of apples can make a suitable treat for dogs, but cats are unlikely to enjoy the flavor of this fruit. 

Keep the Rich Foods to Yourself

Sharing human treats can be dangerous and even deadly, and fall is filled with delicious treats that are not safe for pets. Stay away from desserts, candies, fatty meat and trimmings, bones, gravies, calorie-dense casseroles, and seasoned sides. Don't forget garlic and onions are toxic! Many pet parents aren't aware of the many dangerous things that can happen, such as acute and life-threatening pancreatitis, a condition brought on when a pet ingests highly fatty foods. 

A note for any season: Do you know the most popular flavor of dog medication? It's CHOCOLATE! Turns out we aren't the only ones that enjoy the rich flavor of cocoa beans. Dogs will go to great lengths, or counter-top heights, to indulge in this deadly vice so don't leave the candy bowl or kitchen counter unsupervised and within a paw's reach for a moment!

Fall Season Tick Prevention 

Ticks and fleas are still lurking in the fall, so don't let your guard down! After spending time outdoors with your furry friends, give them a thorough tick and flea check. Don't forget to use tick repellent and talk to your veterinarian about the best prevention methods for your pet. Tick-borne illnesses can be serious, but with the right steps, you can keep your pet safe and healthy all season long. 

Mushrooms Flourish in the Fall

While most are non-toxic, dogs are highly susceptible to mushroom poisoning because of their wandering and scavenging behavior, so it's important to be aware of this fall pet safety information. Unfortunately, dogs are unable to sniff out the toxic mushrooms, so the best way to avoid trouble is to keep pets away from areas where any are growing. Dogs should be prevented from consuming mushrooms when they are being exercised. Profuse bloody diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration, fever, and elevated heart rates characterize the initial phase of mushroom toxicity. Without treatment, the pet will succumb to liver and kidney failure within 3-7 days. As with most poisonings, prompt upper gastrointestinal decontamination and supportive care are critical elements of treatment. 

Snakebite Season is Here

Autumn is the season when snakes prepare for hibernation and are more likely to strike, increasing the possibility of bites to naive and curious pets. Be aware of what kinds of venomous snakes are in your area and practice snakebite prevention by avoiding the areas they most often inhabit.

Watch Out for Skunks in the Fall 

Autumn leads to a variety of other wildlife preparing for winter as well, including skunks. Skunks can be a stinky problem for your pets, so be mindful during dusk and dawn when they’re most active. Secure your trash cans, clean up fallen fruit, and keep your pet’s food indoors to keep your yard skunk-free. It’s also a good idea to teach your dog commands like “leave it” or “come” to avoid potential skunk encounters. And hey, if your pet does have a run-in with a skunk, don’t panic – just have an emergency kit on hand with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap to neutralize the smell and consult your veterinarian if needed. Stay alert and keep your pets safe from these stinky critters this fall! 

What fall activities are safe for my pet?

While apple orchards may not be the best option for dogs who like to snack while they walk, there are plenty of other events pet owners can partake in!

Go Pumpkin Picking

Pumpkin patches are great for dogs to romp around in (if pet friendly!). Whether you intend on carving the pumpkin, having a photoshoot, or making some pie, it is a great time with your best pup. Also, pumpkin, both raw and canned, is safe, provided your pet is not suffering from a chronic condition such as kidney disease or diabetes. As far as our healthy pets go, seeds and flesh of fresh, raw or cooked pumpkins are safe. Fresh pumpkin is more nutritious than canned. If you choose to go with canned, make sure it doesn’t have added sugar or sweeteners. An easy way to have some handy dog treats around that will last several weeks is roasting the seeds in the oven. 

Trick – or – Treating

Halloween is a fun time for everyone, including our furry friends! If you're planning on taking your pet trick-or-treating, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable experience. 

Dress your pet up in something they are comfortable in. Avoid costumes that are too tight or restrictive, or that have small pieces that could be a choking hazard. Keep your pet on a leash. This will help to prevent them from running off or getting into trouble.  

Bring a bag of dog-friendly treats. This way, you can reward your pet for good behavior and keep them from eating any stray candy. Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid areas where there are a lot of people or traffic, and be careful of any potential hazards, such as open flames or decorations that could be harmful to your pet. 

 Take lots of pictures! Trick-or-treating with your pet is a great photo opportunity. With a little planning, and some pet safe Halloweens tips, you can make sure that your pet has a safe and enjoyable Halloween experience. 

Go on an Autumn Hike

The changing colors, falling leaves, and beautiful sunsets make for an amazing experience for both you and your dog during fall. The cool autumn weather will refresh both of you and get you ready for a warm blanket later in the evening. 

Pro Tip: Make sure to bring water for hydration and a car blanket in case the trail gets muddy.

A dog and their pet parent going on a safe fall walk

Embrace Pet Insurance Protects Your Pets in Fall 

As you enjoy the beauty of the fall season, it’s essential to keep your pets safe from potential hazards and health risks, such as encounters with skunks, snakebites, and mushroom poisoning. Preparing for these issues can reduce the chances of an emergency, but sometimes accidents still happen despite our best efforts. Vet visits for these unexpected incidents can be quite expensive. 

That’s where pet insurance comes in. Embrace offers comprehensive pet insurance coverage to help pet parents provide the best possible care for their beloved pets during the fall season and beyond. With a plan that covers a variety of expenses, including accidents, illnesses, and even optional pet wellness plans, you can have peace of mind knowing that your furry friend is protected all year round. So, as you follow these fall pet safety tips and embrace the joys of the fall season with your pets, also consider the added protection and financial security that Embrace Pet Insurance can provide. Your pets deserve a lifetime of love, protection, and care, and Embrace is committed to being part of that journey. 

Keep your Dogs and Cats Safe this Fall

Fall is a magical time of year to hang out with your furry best friend. Whether you're taking a walk through the leaves, playing fetch in the pumpkin patch, or cuddling up on the couch on a chilly evening, these are moments you'll cherish forever. 

As the season changes, it's important to be aware of the potential dangers that fall can bring to our pets. By following the tips above, you can help keep your furry friends safe and sound all season long. 

Your pet is family, and they deserve the best possible care. By taking the time to protect them from the hazards of fall, you can ensure that they have many happy and healthy years ahead of them. 

So get out there and enjoy the fall season together! Make memories that you'll both treasure for years to come.