It’s officially Fall, arguably one of the most beautiful times of year where you and your pet can frolic in the falling leaves, ride along on hayrides, and enroll yourselves in that long awaited costume contest. As we soak in the season’s color displays and festivities begin, it is important to be aware of potential safety risks that can affect your pet in and around the home this holiday season.

Rat Poison

When it cools down outside, small rodents begin looking for places to hunker down and keep warm. It’s no coincidence that once the heat turns on inside the home, you may start hearing scratches and squeaks in your attic, the basement, or even within the walls.  There are a variety of choices when it comes to eliminating these pests, but if you choose to set out a poison, make sure it is in a safe location away from your pet’s reach. Most rodenticides currently on the market are very harmful to household pets and can be potentially fatal if directly ingested. Consider a safer alternative such as a live trap or sticky pads to capture your unwanted houseguests.

Fungi and Plants

Once the warm weather begins to fade, people often forget about potential risks that are still lurking out in the yard and garden. One of fall’s most popular floral displays, the chrysanthemum, or mum, can be toxic to dogs and cats alike if the bloom, leaves, or even stems are consumed. With some areas becoming damp in the fall, mushrooms can be seen popping up in grassy areas. Mushrooms are generally non-toxic, but select species of the fungi can be highly toxic if ingested. Make sure to keep a watchful eye on your pet around the back yard and on daily walks – it only takes a split second for them to sneak a bite and swallow these harmful natural substances.

Treats and Chocolate

Autumn welcomes the beginning of the holiday season and continues through the winter months with candy and baked goods galore. Common cookie ingredients such as chocolate and raisins are highly toxic to dogs. Family and friends coming in to visit should be warned not to feed the family pet any table scraps, as even foods considered to be non-toxic can cause gastrointestinal issues or be potential choking hazards.


When preparing for the colder months, most people begin to winterize their cars by changing fluids such as antifreeze. Ethylene glycol is the toxic chemical in both antifreeze and brake fluid that possesses a sticky texture and sweet taste, making it easy for pets to lap up. Consumption of antifreeze is one of the most common forms of poisoning in small animals. Remember to keep pets out of the garage and away from fluid stained driveways, where they can easily drink from or even tread across contaminated puddles, leaving toxins on their paws and in their fur.