The holiday season is fast approaching, and your calendar is full with planning, shopping, and autumn activities. Is spending time with your pet may be falling (ahem) farther down your list of things to do? 

But crisp autumn days are wonderful for getting outdoors with your dog for a romp in the leaves. And your kitty is probably loving the midday rays of sunshine as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. A little extra attention for your pets can go a long way towards making sure they stay healthy and don’t get into trouble.

Highway Veterinary Hospital wants you and your pet to enjoy everything this beautiful season has to offer, while keeping fall pet safety in mind! 

Fall Pet Safety and Food

Autumn is synonymous with the delicious food and indulgences of the holidays. But your pet partaking in high fat or sugary foods is a recipe for disaster. 

The following foods are toxic to pets and should be kept out of their reach at all times:

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Garlic, onions, and chives
  • Yeasted, unbaked bread dough
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Alcohol

Stop Ticks and Parasites

Ticks are still very much out and about in the fall, and some studies show they can even survive a frost. Keep leaf litter and yard debris cleaned up, do a tick check after outdoor time, and continue to use parasite preventives year round. 

Garage and Yard Safety

Autumn is the time to put our gardens to bed and to protect our yards and out buildings from any pests that might take up residence during the colder months. But rat poison and rodenticides are extremely toxic to pets (and wildlife, such as owls). Don’t use these methods of pest control, and call your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet has ingested the granules or a dead rodent. 

Antifreeze is another serious seasonal toxin to be aware of. This sweet tasting chemical is irresistible to some pets, but ingesting even a small amount can be deadly. Clean up any spills immediately and thoroughly, and keep all chemicals well out of pets’ reach.


Many dogs are sickened and killed each year from eating poisonous mushrooms. Puppies are especially attracted to these, since they tend to put everything in their mouths. It’s difficult for even a mushroom expert to tell if a mushroom is safe or not, so remove any that you see in your yard immediately and call your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has eaten a mushroom.


They can be found in almost every yard, yet many pet owners are unaware that acorns can be toxic to their pets. Not only can acorns obstruct the digestive tract, they also contain different types of acids that can cause problems in a pet’s stomach and even cause kidney disease. Even acorn soaked water can cause serious problems. If you notice your pet showing any symptoms of an upset stomach, like vomiting or diarrhea, it’s better to be safe than sorry and contact your veterinarian.

Weather Warnings

Maryland has somewhat unpredictable weather in the fall, and storms can come on fast. Make sure you have a plan in place for your family, including your pets, in case of power outages or other severe storms. Make sure pets stay safe by keeping them indoors and warm, and provide safe, dry and warm shelter for outdoor pets.  

Check with your veterinarian about your pet’s diet to make sure they are getting the calories they need to stay warm. Provide safe, dry and warm shelter for outdoor pets. 

Fall Pet Safety

Fall also means decreased visibility as the days shorten and the nights lengthen, and you may find yourself walking or running with your dog at dusk or daybreak with these shorter days. Invest in a reflective harness, leash, and collar so that drivers, bikers, and other walkers can see your dog. Blinking collars have been known to ward off urban coyotes, who may or may not have hesitancy about approaching a dog. 

If you live in a rural area, consider purchasing a blaze orange vest for your dog so that hunters don’t mistake her for a deer or other wildlife. 

Fall is one of our favorite times of year, and we hope these fall pet safety tips will help you keep your pets safe during the season.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out