Summers End

With the unofficial end of summer this week, it’s time to look at what changes and challenges fall brings to our furry friends.

Most notably, school has started and the weather will start to cool. This combination generally brings about school and home improvement projects, which also creates an smorgasbord of inappropriate things for our pets to ingest. Cats tend to go for shiny objects as well as string-type things. Dogs, well, they might go for just about anything - but we’ve personally seen them ingest carpet that was being ripped up, nails and many a kids art project. Glues, paints and markers can cause upset stomachs and other toxicity.

Antifreeze is highly toxic to both cats and dogs, and generally cats are known to be particularly attracted to its taste. Antifreeze can cause seizures and acute, severe kidney failure, and ingestion is often fatal if not treated rapidly and aggressively.

The use of rodent traps and poisons increases in the fall as well. Products used to kill small rodents are toxic to both cats and dogs and can lead to neurologic dysfunction or bleeding problems, depending on the product used.

Ticks and fleas are just as active through the fall in this area! They don’t look at the calendar, and because we don’t get multiple hard freezes in a row even during the winter they never actually go away. In fact, the fall tends to be the time of year we see fleas and tick-borne illness in our patients the MOST frequently. This may be because pets spend more time outside when it’s nicer out but also it’s easy to think that because it’s cooler it’s okay to stop using preventives. This may hold true much farther north, but in our neck-of-the woods it’s best to use preventives year-round.

Mushrooms also start to come out in the fall - and while most are non-toxic, there are a small handful that are very toxic. It’s best to steer clear of all wild mushrooms. If you’ve seen your pet ingest a mushroom, please contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control ( (888) 426-4435)and your veterinarian. For information on toxic plants in general - ASPCA Animal Poison Control has a great website resource: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants.

This recent sweltering heat definitely makes us appreciate the upcoming cooler seasons - Have fun and be safe as we start to transition to fall!

Image c/o Fabien Agon on Flickr