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Taking the dog out for walk - things to avoid

Leaves, conkers and other hidden hazards dog owners should watch out for this autumn – and what to do if they eat them


A vet has revealed the seasonal plants and other items that are most dangerous for dogs on walks

Dog in leaves

A Yorkshire terrier plays with a ball through fallen leaves

Leaves and conkers are just a few of the hidden hazards that pet owners need to be careful of this autumn, a vet has warned. According to new findings from pet supply store Postman Pooch and freelance vet Dr Joanna Woodnutt, a number of the autumnal icons we see on walks can be dangerous for our four-legged friends.

Top of the list of hidden hazards to watch out for include fallen leaves, conkers and human litter. A number of seasonal plants such as poinsettias, which are often used as indoor winter decorations, as well as chrysanthemums and crocus flowers, are also toxic to dogs.

Veterinarian Joanna told TeamDogs : “The most dangerous plant to look out for at this time of year is the Autumn Crocus (colchicum). Though pretty, though autumn crocus (colchicum), is extremely toxic to dogs.

Crocus speciosum

Autumn Crocus or more correctly Colchicum autumnale

 “This pretty flower, appearing in autumn, looks just like a spring crocus, except it tends not to show its leaves. “When eaten, it’s extremely toxic, causing stomach upset, liver and kidney failure, seizures, and sometimes death.” She added: “You should also be aware that summer plants are still dangerous to dogs in winter.” Joanna also warned dog owners to be cautious of allowing their pets to play in piles of leaves. She explained: “Leaves grow mould and bacteria as they start to rot.

“For dogs, consuming the mould and bacteria that rotten leaves may contain can be poisonous, potentially causing stomach upset or worse.” Additionally, dropped leaves also be from a toxic plant. According to Joanna, walkers should put their dogs on a lead, or even use a muzzle on a walk, to prevent their furry friends from chowing down on leaves. Using a lead and muzzle is one way to keep your dog safe from some of autumn's dangerous - and in some cases deadly - hidden hazards.


Westonbirt Arboretum at its very best in the autumn

Conkers were also on the list of hidden hazards that pose a risk to curious pups. Though appealing to dogs thanks to their bright, spiky exterior – which can be mistaken for a toy – acorns and conkers are in fact poisonous. These charming autumnal icons can also causes obstruction and choking if swallowed. Joanna also told TeamDogs : “Conkers are extremely dangerous to dogs for two reasons.

“Firstly, they are particularly hard and non-digestible. The chances are very high that a swallowed conker would cause a gut obstruction, requiring emergency surgery to treat. “Even if your dog chews the conker, they still aren’t safe – conkers are poisonous and cause gut pain, drooling, and vomiting.” Should your dog eat something it shouldn’t, the safest option is to immediately call your vet, according to Joanna.

Should your dog eat something it shouldn’t, the safest option is to immediately call your vet . She said: “Try to work out what was eaten and how much, and don’t forget to give them your dog’s weight and size. “The sooner you call, the better – in many cases, making your dog vomit up the offending item is the safest option, but this is time-sensitive and isn’t always an option, especially if not immediately recognised and a couple of hours have passed.” Dog owners can also take precautions such as scouting out their walk, using a muzzle and educating yourself on what plants are in your own garden.

Note, this article has appeared in several media streams and I do not own the copyright.

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