Dangers can await pets in the fall

STILLWATER – While the lower temperatures and the colorful leaves entice pet owners to spend more time outdoors with their furry friends, keep in mind not every aspect of fall is safe for your pet.

Some of the risks are made by Mother Nature, but others are man-made, said Dr. Elisabeth Giedt, director of Continuing Education, Extension and Community Engagement at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

“Snakes are preparing to hibernate at this time of year, so they may be out and about more than normal, which can increase your pup’s risk of getting bitten,” Giedt said. “When you’re taking your dog for a walk, avoid areas where snakes may be found.”

Mushrooms can be another danger to pets. Although they pop up frequently during this time of year, fortunately only about 1 percent of them are highly toxic.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine which mushrooms are dangerous and which ones are not. To be on the safe side, keep your pet away from all mushrooms.

While there is not much a pet owner can do about risks found in nature, it is imperative to be on the lookout for hidden dangers caused by humans.

“This is the time of year when people are preparing their cars and trucks for the colder winter months by topping off radiators with antifreeze,” she said. “Ethylene glycol-based coolants are toxic for pets. If you spill some on your driveway, clean it up right away. Keep in mind propylene glycol-based coolants are less toxic.”

Something else homeowners may be doing this time of year is trying to control the rodent population. As the cooler weather sets in, rats, mice and other rodents are seeking a warm place to hang out for the winter. It makes sense that a product that kills rodents also can be highly toxic to pets. Keep pets away from areas where rodenticides are used.

If your neighbors mention having a rodent problem and plan to use poison to control the issue, find out where around the perimeter of their homes and yards they are going to put it.

“Our pets are a part of the family and need to be protected just as we protect the humans in the home,” Giedt said. “As we continue through the fall season, keep an eye out for potential hazards that could be dangerous for your four-legged family members.”