Autumn Dog Dangers: Here are the hazards to look out for while walking your adorable dog this autumn - and what to do if your dog eats something it shouldn't

Autumn is a wonderful season to get out and stretch your legs – with plenty of clear and crisp days to enjoy the stunning foliage and ever-changing landscapes.

If you have a four-legged friend alongside you when you head out to enjoy a trek, there are a few things to look out for that might cause harm to your dog.

Internet searches for advice about potential hazards have soared in recent weeks, with people looking for terms like ‘dog eating acorn’ (increasing by 7,900 per cent) and ‘dog ate mushroom outside’ (up by 800 per cent).

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In a bid to help, dog-friendly holiday lettings specialist Canine Cottages have collated five things to look out for on an autumn dog walk.

Meanwhile, Clinical Animal Behaviorist Rachel Rodgers MSc has offered tips on what to do if you think your pooch has ingested something dangerous.

A Canine Cottages spokesperson explained: “We hope our advice on what to look out for on autumn dog walks helps owners and their dogs to stay safe while out and about. If ever in doubt, always err on the side of caution and consult a vet if your dog eats something it shouldn’t.”

To read more about walking tips, please visit Canine Cottages’ blog here.

Here’s the vital advice.

There are a few hazards you should look out for while being out-and-about with your dog this autumn.There are a few hazards you should look out for while being out-and-about with your dog this autumn.
There are a few hazards you should look out for while being out-and-about with your dog this autumn.

Acorns and conkers

Acorns and conkers litter the forest floor as well as the pavement this time of year. Rodgers explains that “acorns and conkers are dangerous for dogs as they can be poisonous but also be a choking hazard.” Acorns contain tannic acid, while conkers contain the toxin aesculin, both dangerous to dogs.


Mushrooms are prone to pop up in the woodlands across the UK, from death caps to angel’s wings. While dogs are normally good at recognizing anything poisonous or toxic, it’s easy for them to accidentally ingest a mushroom if it’s among mushy leaves and other exciting things the dog explores on the ground. Autumn brings on an array of mushrooms, so make sure you read up on which are dangerous to dogs and make sure they don’t go sniffing about places where fungi grow naturally.

Firework remains

On fireworks, Rodgers explains that the dangers don’t stop only at the loud explosions, “Fireworks can have choking parts, and could potentially still be warm if they’ve hit the ground just beforehand, and contain potassium nitrate, which contains a hazardous chemical. They can also contain heavy metal compounds such as copper and mercury which are also of concern. The gunpowder residue which may remain can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. So, sadly, for dogs, the danger and worries of fireworks are more than just flashes of light and scary bangs which terrify so many of our lovely companions.”

Toxic flowers

While there are lots of poisonous flowers in spring and summer, autumn also brings around some flowers which can prove potentially toxic to our pooches. The autumn crocus contains the toxin colchicine which can be severely dangerous to dogs and can cause organ failure. Though not a flower, the yew tree is also dangerous to most animals, and can cause them to become very sick. Before you set out on a walk, make sure you know which flowers and plants to stay away from.

Decaying plant matter

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According to Rodgers, “Woodland areas can be particularly hazardous this time of year. If your dog is prone to exploring with their mouths and picking things, then avoid this type of area unless they have a solid “leave” or “drop” cue or can safely and comfortably wear a basket muzzle to prevent them from ingesting these items. Also, keep an eye out for decaying leaf and plant matter as mould on this can also be a danger.”

What should you do you your dog ingests something dangerous?

Rodgers says, “contact your vet straight away for guidance. Do not attempt to make your dog sick as for some things they’ve eaten this is actually the worst thing you can do! A lot of pet insurance companies now provide a 24-hour helpline or access to 24-hour vet guidance such as the First Vet team (you can also access these services if you don’t have it covered on your insurance and the cost is considerably cheaper than a face-to-face vet appointment, especially out of hours).

“They will be able to help you know if a trip to the vets is needed and how best to support your dog. Treatment will depend on what your dog has consumed. In some cases what your dog has eaten could be poisonous. There is also the Animal Poison Line, which is a 24-hour service that can help you confirm if any action is needed. Please note – if the dog is showing signs such as shaking/tremoring or collapsing they could be taken directly to a vet.”



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