Five autumn hazards for dogs: how to keep your dog safe

Five autumn hazards for dogs: how to keep your dog safe

As we swap our flip flops for warm socks and wave goodbye to summer for another year, the change of season brings a chill to the air and with it a new set of hazards for dog owners to watch out for. Our Joii nurses have got you covered this autumn. Learn how to keep your dog safe, happy and healthy as the nights draw in.

1. Acorns and conkers

Acorns and conkers pose a risk to curious pups foraging about in the crispy leaves during the autumn months. Conkers and acorns, if ingested, are very poisonous to dogs and both pose a risk of causing intestinal blockage. These cases are rare, but every year serious cases are seen.

All parts of a conker (including the casing and the leaves of the horse chestnut tree) are poisonous to dogs thanks to a chemical called ‘aesculin’. Similarly, acorns contain compounds called ‘tannins’, which when ingested can lead to kidney failure and be fatal.

Symptoms usually appear a couple of hours after ingesting and include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Wobbliness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tummy pain
  • Restlessness or lethargy
  • Drinking more
  • Drooling
  • Tremors

The best way to prevent a conker or acorn causing a problem for your dog is to keep a close eye on your dog when out and about. Don’t encourage any play with conkers or acorns, and if you are concerned that your dog may have eaten or swallowed one contact a vet right away.

2. Firework fears

For many humans, seeing fireworks twinkling and crackling in the night sky is one of the joys that autumn brings. For pet owners however, we know this is often not the case. Firework season presents an emotional and troublesome time for many pet owners, causing pets extreme fear which can even result in injuries.

With firework night fast approaching, now is the time to seek help for your dog if they are fearful of loud noises. If you have a new puppy that is about to experience their first fireworks season, now is also a great time to get advice on how to keep them calm and stress free.

Remember to keep your dog's microchip and ID tag details up to date and check that their identification tag on their collar is secure as many dogs bolt or escape when scared. Keep doors and windows closed with curtains drawn and soft music playing.

3. Mushrooms and toadstools

The autumn weather can cause a flourish of wild mushrooms and toadstools to appear, some of which are very poisonous to dogs. These could be popping up on your lawn, appearing on your walks or nestled in woodlands. Symptoms are dependent on the amount of mushroom eaten and the type.

Early signs include vomiting and diarrhoea and can progress to:


  • Abnormal behaviours such as self injury
  • Fits (seizures)
  • Drooling
  • Wobbly when walking
  • Lethargy
  • Tummy pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing of eyes or skin
  • Increased drinking and urinating


If your dog has eaten a mushroom, contact a vet right away. If possible: take a picture of the mushroom. There are over 4,000 species of wild mushroom with some looking very similar so it is always better to be safe than sorry.

4. Weight gain

As well as crisp sunny days, autumn can also bring cold, rainy and thundery weather and darker evenings. This can mean some dogs cosy up inside and have a decrease in their exercise levels, which can cause your dog to pile on the extra pounds.

How to prevent excess weight gain

Try to stick to their normal exercise routine, making sure your dog is on good quality dog food and is being fed the correct amount. Weighing out dry food is always recommended to prevent over and under feeding, while also limiting treats and snacks (or accounting for any that are given by reducing meal portions accordingly).

Keep them active in the home or garden with short bursts of training or hide and seek games. Avoid strenuous exercise like fetch that can put large amounts of pressure through the joints, muscles and ligaments.

5. Fleas, ticks and worms

During the colder months we often see a spike in the presence of pesky parasites, however dogs are at risk of fleas, ticks and worms all year round. The spike comes for many dogs who explore fresh woodlands and grassy walks, combined with a rise in animals that carry parasites (such as squirrels, rats and mice) busying themselves in preparation for the winter.

Secondly, we often crank up the central heating during the colder months, meaning any dormant flea eggs and larvae around the home will awake to restart their life cycle.

It’s easy to prevent flea, tick and worm infestations for your dog, Simply stay up to date with a regular vet approved flea and worm treatment, ensure all pets in the home are treated, and if you do have an infestation on your hands seek vet advice and make sure to treat the home.

You can sign up for our flea and tick subscription here so you'll never forget to protect your pet. Plus, when you sign up you'll get your first box completely free!

Need more advice for your dog?

Joii's online vets are here to help you 24/7. Whether you need preventative advice or a triage vet service, our vets are able to provide you support all from the comfort of your home.

Download the Joii app today for 24/7 online vet calls for £24.

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