Fall and your Furry Friends

Barbie Walking in ParkFall is a wonderful time of year for you and your pets. You can get outdoors to enjoy the beautiful changing leaves and crisp autumn air. The holidays are just on the horizon, and change seems to be ringing in the air. But with all the change of leaves and seasons, it’s important to remember that things are changing in your pet’s environment as well. Here are some good things to keep in mind as we move in to the fall season.


As more people winterize their cars, there will be a lot more antifreeze around. This chemical is toxic to animals if ingested. Unfortunately, antifreeze comes with a sweet aroma that tends to attract pets with inquisitive noses and tongues. Protect your pet by keeping antifreeze tightly sealed and wiped down. Clean up any spills, and do not dispose of antifreeze by pouring it outside in the yard, gutter, or street.

Rodent poison:

Rat and other rodent poison becomes a more common threat in the fall. As the weather turns colder, more critters seek out warm places to hide in garages and houses, so homeowners are more likely to put out rodent poison. This poison is equally toxic to pets and, because it’s designed to be attractive to rodents, it also ends up being palatable and attractive to pets as well.

If you have a rodent problem, you may consider using an alternative to poison, simply to protect your pet. Even enclosed poison dispensers are not completely pet-proof.

Communicate with your neighbors about whether they are using a rodent pesticide. If you know that a neighbor is using rodent poison, you can take greater care to keep your pet out of that yard. Additionally, you can monitor your pet and watch for signs of possible poisoning, whether primary or secondary. Primary means your pet ingested the poison directly. Secondary means that your pet has ingested a rodent that has been poisoned.


Fall mean your pet will be shedding his or her summer coat in order to make way for a thicker winter coat. Keep this in mind in your grooming habits for your pet. You can brush and comb your pet more often in the shedding months. This will encourage a healthy winter coat and will help to keep the hair in the brush and not on the couch, carpet, floor, clothes, and everywhere else!

Warm Car Engines:

Your car engine becomes a little haven of warmth in the fall and winter months. Even a short trip can warm it up enough to be enticing to animals that are looking for a nice bit of shelter.

Last winter my husband and I were surprised to come out and hear the car engine meowing. A little kitten had crawled up into the undercarriage and was huddled against the engine block. It took an hour and a lot of coaxing to get her out. We’re just glad that she was meowing up a storm, otherwise we wouldn’t have known she was there and could have taken her on a scary ride, or worse.

If you have a cat, it’s a good idea to know where she’s at before you fire up the car engine. In general, it could be good to give your hood a thump or honk the car horn before starting your engine, especially if your engine is still warm from a previous trip. That way you will hopefully clear out any accidental stowaways.

As a side note, clothing dryers can also be a hiding spot for warmth-seeking pets. Check your dryer before loading and running it.


You may start to see more mushrooms in the fall and spring months. Protect your pet from accidental mushroom poisoning by making sure your pet is not in areas where mushrooms are very common. Clear out any mushrooms you see growing in your yard.

Hibernating Snakes:

As it gets colder, snakes will begin to find places to hibernate. Some of these spots will be in locations that your pet can access. A curious pet and a lethargic snake are not a good mix. Your pet may poke and prod the snake until, rather than fleeing as it would if it had more energy, the snake may strike out and bite.


Fall is a time for seasonal allergies to strike humans and pets alike. Your pet may show signs of skin irritation as well as respiratory or ear and eye allergies. If you notice that your pet scratches and bites her skin, develops red patches, hair loss, or scabs on the skin, she may be having seasonal skin allergies. Additionally, certain allergens may affect your pet’s ears, nose, eyes, or mouth. Watch for redness, irritation, watering, coughing, or sneezing. Consult your veterinarian to determine the cause of your pet’s allergies and the proper treatment.



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