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Autumn Dangers for Dogs

Fall can bring specific threats to dogs.

As summer gives way to fall, it's time to brush up on the potential dangers specific to this season that might be lurking for your dog.

Halloween Candy

A favorite fall tradition for many people is Halloween. There are extra treats around during this time, and it's critical that you are aware of which ones are dangerous to your dog. Chocolate and xylitol, especially, can be life-threatening if they are ingested, and candy packaging can cause a dangerous intestinal blockage.

Keep all Halloween candy out of reach of your dog. Be sure that your kids know that Halloween candy is to be kept away from the dog and definitely isn't to be shared with any canine members of the family. If you have a party in your home, take care that your guests know that your dog shouldn't receive any treats.

Halloween Costumes

Halloween costumes can pose threats to your dog in several ways. When you put a costume on your dog, it can cause stress and anxiety. If your dog isn't bothered by wearing a costume, it's fine to put one on, but never leave him unsupervised. Pieces of the costume could get caught in objects and cause a strangulation danger, or your dog could try to get the clothes off and ingest dangerous pieces.

People wearing Halloween costumes can also frighten your dog and cause a risk of him trying to escape. If you are taking your dog outside during Trick-or-Treating, be sure he is secured well with a harness and leash, that he is wearing a collar and an ID tag with your current contact information on it, and that you are always attentive to his body language. Better yet, keep your dog safely inside if he's spooked by people wearing costumes.

Don't leave Halloween costumes lying around your home where your dog can get to them and possibly chew pieces off and swallow them.

Halloween Noise

Like people wearing costumes, dogs might be frightened by the general increase in noise surrounding Trick-or-Treating. Your dog might try to escape if he's scared, becoming lost. Some dogs also panic and injure themselves trying to get out of a home or cage if there is noise that frightens them.

If your dog is sensitive to noises, consider keeping him in a quiet room during Trick-or-Treating, with soothing music playing to drown out as much noise as possible. You may even need to sit with your dog, speaking soothingly and keeping him calm until the noise dies down.

Thanksgiving Food

Thanksgiving can bring extra dangers to dogs, mostly in the form of enticing human foods that can cause toxicity or intestinal obstruction in dogs. Be sure to keep holiday foods out of reach of your dog and make sure your guests know that human food treats aren't allowed. Some foods that are of particular concern for dogs around Thanksgiving include:

You can learn more here: "Foods Toxic to Dogs."


Fall is a time when many people like to create a cozy atmosphere inside as cooler weather prevails outside. Candles are a popular way to do this, but they must be used cautiously around dogs. Every year, dogs start house fires, and candles are a big way that this occurs. Keep candles well out of reach of your dog.

Leaf Piles

Be sure your dog doesn't investigate your leaf piles by tasting anything in them. Decomposing leaves create dangerous mycotoxins that can cause serious illness or death if consumed by your dog.

Sticks that are chewed on or eaten by your dog can also cause trouble, damaging the mouth, getting stuck between the back teeth in the upper or lower jaw, or perforating the esophagus or intestine.


As the weather cools down, many people add antifreeze to their cars, and puddles of it can be enticing to dogs due to its sweetness. However, antifreeze is deadly when ingested, so it's extra important at this time of year to keep your dog on a leash and don't allow him to drink from puddles, which might contain antifreeze due to run-off.


Rodent poison is also poisonous to dogs. As the weather cools down and more rodents are seen in people's houses as they try to get in for the winter, rodenticide use goes up. Don't use mouse or rat poison in or around your home and keep your dog from investigating other people's property where they might find and ingest some.

Learn more: "Rodenticide Poisoning in Dogs."

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