Tuesday, July 23, 2024


Autumn Safety for Your Dog

November 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Dog Health and Nutrition

The leaves and temperatures are falling, but there’s still time for lots of outdoor fun with your dog.  Here’s the Straight Poop guide to safety during as the days get shorter and the nights get cooler.


Bonfires, whether you use them for burning leaves or cooking out, can be a fun autumn tradition.  But when you’re dog’s around, it pays to adhere to some safety rules.  First and foremost, make sure your dog is under your control.  For some dogs, this might mean a leash, for others a commanding voice will do the trick.  In all cases, though, there needs to be at least one person who is keeping track of the dog.  Think of it as a designated driver:  one person needs to stay sober and keep the dog under control and away from the fire.

If you’ll be cooking over your fire, the same rules apply as when you cook indoors.  There are many foods that can be harmful to your dog, even though you’re cooking them over an open fire (which, as everyone knows makes them taste a hundred times better.)  So, no garlic or onions for your dog, and definitely no s’mores!

If indoor fires are more your style, make sure you have a door across the front of your fire to make sure your dog stays out of the grate.  If there are children in your home, make sure they know they cannot play with the dog in the same room as the fireplace.  There’s too much risk of the toy being errantly thrown into the fireplace, and the dog following right behind.

And while we’re talking about fires, we need to touch briefly on those that are unintended.  If you didn’t change your smoke detector batteries when you changed your clocks, make sure you do it soon.  And check into getting some fire rescue stickers for your windows that say, “Don’t forget the dog!”

Outdoor clean-up

As you clean out your garden, make sure any poisonous plants are properly disposed of in a location where your dog can’t get to them.  And remember, cocoa mulch really does contain chocolate, so it’s dangerous for your dog.

Pay attention to the slop you’re pulling out of your gutters if your dog is “helping” you.  Wet leaves won’t hurt him or her, but there may be other things mixed in that could be a problem.  And, as a side note, if your dog is wondering around while you’re on the ladder, you might want to tie off the ladder at the top in case the dog gets too close and bumps the bottom.

Winterizing your car?  As you add antifreeze and windshield washer fluid (which contains antifreeze), make sure you clean up any that spills on the pavement.  Dogs and other animals are intensely attracted to the taste of antifreeze, but it is poisonous to them.


Fall is a beautiful time to take your dog out for walks, but those leaves that are so beautiful in the trees become a real hazard when they hit the ground.  When wet, they can create a slipping hazard, especially on sloped ground.  Even dry, leaves create a situation where uneven terrain or left-behind junk can create hidden hazards.

If you can convince your dog to do so, you may want to walk in front of him so you encounter anything hidden under the leaves before he does.  Children’s toys, lawn tools, and more nefarious trash like used needles and broken glass can damage your dog’s paw pads.  If you shuffle your feet as you walk through the leaves, you will nudge the trash before you step directly on it.

And if you live in the great white north, you may already be getting some snow.  Remember that de-icers can be caustic to your dog’s paws.  You may want to get some booties to protect them if you walk a lot on treated surfaces.  Check them out here.


The change of seasons is a great time to do a thorough checking of your house for any hazards that might hurt your dog.  Check each room for electrical cords the dog might chew on, drapery or window blind cords that hang low enough to trip him up, and plants that may be poisonous.

Make sure your cleaning chemicals are properly stored where the dog can’t get to them.  Many of them smell great to a dog, but most are highly poisonous.  Those that aren’t poison may at least cause some gastrointestinal upset that you probably don’t want to deal with.

As you take down your Halloween decorations, make sure they’re stowed where prying snouts can’t get into them.

And speaking of holidays, celebrate the Great American Smokeout on November 17th if you’re a smoker.  Secondhand smoke is just as bad for your dog as it is for the humans in your home.


We all enjoy spending the holidays with family and friends, eating too much, and taking full advantage of the elastic waistband while we watch football after lunch, but celebrating Thanksgiving with a dog calls for a little special planning.  If the gang is coming to your home, think about how your dog will act around a bunch of food and a large crowd of people.  Will you have to worry about counter-surfing, anxiety, aggression, or even overly affectionate greetings?  Consider whether or not you will need to crate your dog during the big affair.

If you’re traveling without your dog, spend some time visiting prospective dog watcher facilities so you can pick the best one.  Don’t wait until the last minute and have to settle for whoever has space available.  And if your dog will make the trip over the river and through the woods with you, be sure you have the necessary equipment to make his car ride safe.  Dogs should either be crated during the ride or harnessed in a specially designed dog-seatbelt like one of these from RuffRider.   If you’re flying, check with your airline for their policies and comply exactly to give your dog the best chance of arriving in good shape.

Don’t forget, as much as you love your grandma’s cooking, some of it could be disastrous for your dog.  No turkey bones, no matter how much he begs.  And take it easy on the people food that may contain unfamiliar seasonings that can upset his system or worse.

Enjoy autumn!  And make sure your dog does, too, by keeping him safe throughout the season.





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