Now we’re well into September, summer is coming to an end and we will soon be saying hello to Autumn. This change in season comes with an unfortunate list of hazards for our canine friends. In this article, we will discuss what to be aware of when you’re on your woodland walks this Autumn.
When you see a conker on the ground, it’s a true sign that Autumn has arrived. They start to fall towards the end of September, but some can fall earlier. While conkers bring fun to many from the traditional school playground game, they are very hazardous for dogs. Whilst in their spiky green shells, stepping on them can cause pain and irritation for your dog. You may think that they are harmless once out of their shells, but this is far from the truth. Conkers are a choking hazard for dogs and if ingested, can be toxic.
The leaves on the trees will soon be starting to turn those beautiful golden and burnt orange colours, and will then begin to fall. Whilst your dog (or indeed yourself) may think it’s fun to run through the pile of leaves, it will be much safer to walk on a clearer path. Leaf piles may contain hidden sharp sticks or branches that can injure your dog. Later in the season, the leaves will start to rot and bacteria and fungus will start to grow. If your dog eats any of this, it can lead to stomach upset. If your dog has played in a pile of rotten leaves, it is important to give them a bath after their walk to remove any bacteria.
Fungus and mushrooms thrive in damp conditions, so Autumn is their favourite season. It’s no surprise that you will see fungus on the ground and attached to tree stumps whilst you take your dog on a woodland walk. Whilst most fungus is harmless to both dogs and humans, there are some species in the UK that are highly toxic and can be potentially fatal. Most dogs will actually avoid these mushrooms, but it is best to be aware and make sure your dog doesn’t decide to eat one.
Ivy grows everywhere, and it’s berries are very important for wildlife. However, ivy berries are extremely hazardous for both humans and dogs. If you notice an ivy plant on your walks, pay careful attention to your dog to be sure they don’t decide to eat any of these berries. Even licking them can cause them harm.
If you believe your dog has come into contact with one of these hazards, contact your vet as soon as possible. There may not be any harm caused to your dog, but it is better to be safe than sorry.