Orchard House Veterinary Centre

Autumn hazards for our pets

Autumn – the season where we wear a jumper in the morning, shorts in the afternoon and a winter coat in the evening. Living with the UK’s weather certainly keeps us on our toes doesn’t it!?

Now, we all know the dangers of winter, spring and summer don’t we? But what about autumn? Obviously as a vet we see the most poison or foreign body cases over winter, but autumn is slowly becoming a cause for concern in the veterinary industry.

Why? Well it makes sense when we think about it. The beginning of autumn is still warm enough for a number of the summer hazards to be present, then toward the end of the season it becomes cold enough for winter hazards to appear. Not to forget earlier Christmas purchases!

A number of hazards appear and we would exercise caution as always! Well … what are they!?

The 4 main dangers to your pets in autumn]


Conkers may look appetising to dogs but it’s important they don’t ingest them. As much as they look like food, if eaten, they can actually cause your dog to be very ill. As well as diarrhoea, they can cause vomiting, abdominal pains, drooling, retching and even intestinal blockages.


As we move through autumn and the mornings become colder it is likely antifreeze will make an appearance at some point! Antifreeze is poisonous to all pets and even just a small amount can make your pet ill.

The first signs of toxification are usually when your dog appears to be drunk. The quicker you can get your dog to the vets, the better. Even a small amount can cause serious kidney damage or can even be fatal.

Fallen leaves

Rustling around in leaves is tempting for our four legged friends. them can be problematic for our pets,  especially if they have been lying around for a while. Leaves slowly decay if not cleared up and piles of wet, muddy leaves can house a large amount of bacteria and mould, that can be harmful to your pet.

The most common issue with leaves that we see is injury. A pile of leaves could be hiding a danger such as a fallen branch. At the wrong angle a branch can be lethal to our pets. Even slippy leaves can cause issues, especially by banks or near obvious hazards.

Walking your dog on a lead or clearing leaves from the garden for your cats / rabbits is recommended.


Mushrooms can be poisonous to humans and there are lots of different types of fungi that your pet also shouldn’t eat.

Cats are a lot less likely to eat mushrooms but they may lick a mushroom which can cause illness. For our rabbits it is best to check your garden for any mushrooms that may have popped up. It is rare a rabbit will eat a wild mushroom but we have seen it happen! For our dogs, the best thing to do when out walking is to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t ingest anything they shouldn’t. Even picking up a ball can lead to ingesting a mushroom.

If you find yourself in the situation where your pet has eaten a mushroom, the best thing to do is firstly remain calm. Secondly, take a photo of the mushroom they have ingested. We will be able to identify the mushroom to check if it is poisonous. Ring us immediately. If you are in an area of signal it would be a good idea to send us a photo of the mushroom ahead of ringing us. If your pet is showing any changes or symptoms of poisoning then call us and get to us immediately.