Beware of these potential fall dangers to pets that you probably didn’t know about!

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Cat with I can't has chocolate caption

This year, fall starts on Saturday, Sept. 23, and, while the fall foliage is always beautiful, it’s also a time a year that can pose special dangers to pets.

Of course, Halloween will likely bring chocolate into many homes.

Fortunately, most people know chocolate is not good for dogs or cats, and don’t provide it as a treat. And, if you’re wondering, yes, some cats actually will try to eat chocolate.

But there are other dangers to pets that people aren’t as aware of. Below is a list of what to watch out for to help keep your pet safe this fall:

  • Acorns: A few years back, I was in the emergency room at a veterinary clinic with my pet and overheard the story of a dog in another room. The dog had eaten acorns from his backyard, was pretty sick and was going to require some expensive surgery to remove an apparent acorn blockage from his stomach.

Not every dog will eat acorns, but, if you have an acorn tree, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out to make sure that your dog isn’t ingesting them when they fall, which is typically between September and early November.

  • Compost bins: The molds in these bins or piles can cause tremors or seizures to pets if ingested even in small amounts.
  • Common desserts for fall, such as apple crisp, for humans should be kept out of reach with pets if made with xylitol, a natural sugar-free sweetener. Xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar and even liver failure if ingested by dogs. For more information about xylitol and pets, visit:
  • Grapes and raisins can cause fatal kidney failure in dogs and cats. For more, visit:

Thanksgiving dinner scraps can also be dangerous. The Pet Poison helpline warns about:

  • bacon, gravy, turkey skin and grizzle, which can all cause vomiting/diarrhea or even severe, potentially life-threatening pancreatitis.
  • corn-on-the-cob, which can result in an intestinal obstruction that, like the acorns we mentioned above, might require surgery for removal.
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