Bulldog playing in the fall leavesFall has arrived, and that means seasonal changes that can impact your pet’s health and well-being. Here are a few tips to keep your pets safe this season:

Keep them warm and safe
Chillier, shorter days can mean a change to walk and outdoor routines. If you feel the chill, your animals do, too. Be sure to bring them indoors when it’s dark and cold out. We’ve all heard the sad stories of animals left outside during cold or frigid weather… and the tragedies that ensued. Don’t forget about them out there!

Tame the Halloween beast
Halloween kicks off a season of festivities and more sweets and treats at every occasion. Protect your animals from the temptations of trying something new. Don’t give animals candy and avoid placing treat bowls on the floor or where they could potentially reach them.

If you want to dress them up on the big night, be thoughtful. Don’t force them into something that they clearly don’t want to be in. And watch for costume decorations that could cause them harm (like beads or pointed appendages).

Keep animals as calm as you can when the doorbell starts ringing. Repeated bells and door slams can be stressful for pets. Have a plan to be sure they don’t run out when you open the door to hand out goodies.

Watch for mushrooms
Wet weather means the potential of poisonous mushrooms popping up in your yard or at your neighborhood park. Poisonous mushrooms are one of the major causes of acute liver failure in dogs in our SAGE Redwood City practice. Animals who eat toxic mushrooms may show clinical signs that include vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, bleeding, jaundice, and death. Initial signs of illness usually occur within 6 to 12 hours of the pet eating the mushroom. The ingestion of just one mushroom can cause death in an otherwise healthy 50 lb. dog.

If your dog eats a mushroom, vomiting should be induced immediately. If the patient is already sick when they arrive at the veterinarian’s office, aggressive liver support must be provided with IV fluids, antibiotics, milk thistle, Vitamin E, and potentially other products such as antioxidants and blood products. Milk thistle has been used for centuries in patients with liver disease and seems to protect the liver if given in high doses very soon after ingestion of the mushroom. The prognosis depends on the amount of poison ingested, the extent of liver damage, and the administration of early and aggressive medical care.

To learn more about the dangers of mushroom toxicity, check out this blog by Dr. Heidi McClain.