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Labor Day has come and gone. The white pants have been put away, the regular weekend trips to the beach have slowed, the kids are back in school, and cinnamon spice candles and fall decorations cover the house (well, my house)! But with the autumn season also comes some common pet emergencies. Today, I wanted to take a moment to prepare everyone for these autumn pet dangers and give you my tips on providing the best health for your pet this season.
6 Fall Pet Dangers, Hazards, and Toxins
Many pet dangers involve ingesting something that is toxic or a choking hazard. Avoid these top dangers to keep your furbabies safe during the transition into the holiday season!
Certain types of mushrooms can be toxic for our pets, causing vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, tremors, seizures, and possibly liver and kidney disease. Amanita phalloides is a mushroom found throughout the United States which can be difficult to identify. I tell my clients to avoid all mushrooms and consider them toxic until proven otherwise. Make sure to check your yards for any wild mushrooms, and scour the area when you take your pets for a walk.
Mothballs contain either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene, which cause vomiting, severe abdominal pain, tremors, weakness, possible kidney or liver failure, and severe abnormality of your pet’s red blood cells. If you use mothballs, please make sure they are well out of the reach of your pets.
Antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste, and our pets love to lick it. It is extremely dangerous if ingested and is one of the most common forms of poisoning in pets. As little as one teaspoon in a cat or a tablespoon or two for dogs, depending on the size of animal, can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, lethargy, and acute kidney failure. Be mindful of antifreeze and other potential hazards in your garage.
There are several different types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients. Many of these mouse and rat baits are toxic and can be deadly if ingested. If your pet ingests any rodenticides, take them to your veterinarian immediately. Try and take the label or box of the rodenticide so your veterinarian can assess the active ingredient and whether it is toxic. When placing rodenticides, it is imperative to keep them away from your pets!
5. Compost Bins or Piles
Piles of decomposing and decaying organic matter and molding food products in your backyard compost pile have the potential to contain “tremorgenic mycotoxins,” meaning molds which cause tremors. Even small amounts ingested can result in tremors or seizures within 30 minutes to several hours.
6. Football Parties and Human Food
It’s officially football season, and we certainly love hosting. I see a lot of upset stomachs during the fall because of table scraps and foods that guests give pets. Dogs and cats are used to eating the same food every day. Their gastrointestinal tracts develop a natural flora or bacteria that specifically digests their regular food. When they get something they aren’t accustomed to eating, such as nachos and chicken wings, they can develop severe inflammation with vomiting and diarrhea. It can also lead to more serious conditions such as pancreatitis.
In addition to foreign foods, many foods in large quantities are toxic to our pets, such as grapes, onions, garlic, and raisins. Grapes and raisins are safe for cats, but keep onions and garlic away from them. Some foods can present a risk for choking, such as corn on the cob, fruits with pits, foods with bones, toothpicks, or skewers. I have surgically removed all of these items, which can be very costly and stressful. Make sure to talk to your guests, especially kids, before parties and remind them to not feed your pets any food. You want to enjoy the party, too, not spend it looking after a pet with an upset stomach.
Dr. Alison’s Autumn Pet Health
So you now know to avoid these common pet dangers and hazardous human foods.
But what CAN your pets eat?!
I’m glad you asked! Because I’ve got some great tips on feeding your pet the best nutrition available. I also have some great tips on what human foods are actually GOOD for your pets!
Whole Food Nutrition
Choosing the best foods for our dogs and cats is one of the most important decisions we make for their health and wellbeing. I have seen a significant shift in the way pet parents feed their pets, and I love it! Nutrition is one of the most talked about and relevant topics concerning pet health.
In recent years, there has been a shift in the way we feed our pets. People are moving away from feeding their pets kibble-based, highly processed diets and toward whole food nutrition. Whole food nutrition is just as it reads – real food from its original source, unprocessed with no artificial additives, preservatives, or chemicals.
With this healthier shift in the way in which pet parents feed their pets, it is becoming increasingly easier to feed your pets whole food nutrition. Long gone are the days where people have to home cook their pets’ diets in order to introduce healthy, non-processed whole foods. Side By Side Pet sources the highest quality ingredients and prepares the food at the lowest temperature for the shortest possible time, maintaining all nutrients within the food source. This cooking method preserves vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients inherently in whole natural foods.
I believe in this brand. They go above and beyond to ensure the best, highest quality food for our pets while abiding by all safety, preparation, and ethical federal guidelines. In addition to providing the healthiest whole food nutrition for pets, they combine their food with the science of Eastern Food Therapy to assess your individual pet’s health and utilize food to treat and care for your pet.
What is Eastern Food Therapy?
Eastern Food Therapy looks at the body as a whole to observe and comprehend your pet and their health. At its core, the therapy seeks to recognize internal imbalances, so we can work to rebalance the body and mind. These principals guide us to utilize the inherent properties of whole food ingredients as tools to help our pets heal and prevent disease.
According to Eastern Food Therapy, during fall we are most susceptible to dryness, which can affect the lungs, skin, and digestion. Adding foods with moistening qualities can help keep your dog’s body in harmony.
7 of My Favorite Fall Foods for Pets and Their Eastern Food Therapy Benefits
1. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are fiber rich and full of antioxidants and beta-carotene, which help with digestion, increase energy, boost the immune system, moisten joints, and loosen stiffness.
2. Black Strap Molasses
Black strap molasses contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, and selenium, which supports bone health, boosts blood health, and fights inflammation.
Check out Side By Side Pet’s Beef Heart Jerky w/ Black Strap Molasses!
Cranberries contain Vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and other essential micronutrients that can help your pet’s vision, immunity, digestion, and oral health (prevent plaque from forming). In addition, cranberry nutrients combat bacteria from the digestive tract, which can inhibit that bacteria from entering the urinary tract, therefore preventing UTIs.
Check out Side By Side Pet’s Turkey Cranberry Treats!
An apple a day just might keep the vet away! Apples promote secretion of body fluids, moisten the lungs, stimulate appetite, and help relieve restlessness.
Beets help moisten the intestines, which can improve circulation and detoxify the body. They also fight inflammation, strengthen the heart, improve vision, and cleanse the liver.
6. Ceylon Cinnamon
The anti-inflammatory properties in cinnamon can help manage joint pain and reduce swelling.
Pumpkin contains soluble fiber, which helps slow digestion and can help manage diarrhea by absorbing water. Alternatively, pumpkin also helps with constipation due to its high fiber content. It contains high levels of Vitamins A,E, and C, beta carotene, potassium, iron, and antioxidants.
Final Thoughts on Avoiding Autumn Pet Dangers
The fall season is just the beginning of the holiday season. I want nothing more than to keep your pets happy and healthy well into the new year. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid these common pet dangers and hazards, so your whole family can enjoy this magical time of year! Happy fall everyone!
Dr. Alison Birken is a small animal veterinarian in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. She owns Victoria Animal Hospital, is the co-founder of Forever Freckled, wife to her amazing husband Rob, mom to her 3 greatest accomplishments Luke, Leah & Hayden and dog mom to her Saint Bernard Dory