top of page

Already embracing fall? These popular fall items could be toxic for your dog

From pumpkin spice to acorns, make sure you avoid these toxins for your pup this fall.

Fall - you either love it or you hate it. The idea of long, hot, sunny summer days being swapped out with the prospect of cooler days with drizzly, and frankly, mostly miserable weather is always disappointing.

But with fall comes bright, beautiful colour changes in trees, crunchy leaves on long walks that end with a hearty meal in a warm home - plus fun festive holidays like Thanksgiving and Halloween.

However most dog owners aren’t aware that there are some seasonal dangers they should be aware of for their pooches.

We’ve compiled a list below of the most common fall toxins for your pooch and how to avoid them. If you think your dog has ingested any of the below, call your vet immediately.

1. Pumpkin spice

The appearance of pumpkin spice lattes in coffee shops signals that summer’s on its way out and we should all be preparing for cozy nights in tucked under a blanket with a warm brew. But what you might not know is that feeding some of your drink to your pup could have devastating consequences.

According to the BCSPCA, although small amounts of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice that are present in pumpkin spice blends usually won’t be toxic to your pet, if your pup gets into the spices or oils directly, they could have respiratory issues, vomiting, abdominal pain, changes to blood pressure and heart rate and even disorientation, seizures or hallucinations.

2. Antifreeze

Puddles of antifreeze left over from de-icing your car late in fall when the temperatures drop could be deadly for pets. According to the BCSPCA, even two teaspoons worth can be fatal for dogs, so make sure when you are getting rid of that pesky frost on your car, make sure to also clean up any spills or puddles from the antifreeze immediately. If you suspect your pup might have ingested any antifreeze, contact a vet straight away.

3. Candles

Some candles can also be poisonous for your pup. Candles that have a lead wick, are made from paraffin wax or release synthetic oils and fragrances can be dangerous for your pet and can aggravate existing respiratory illnesses such as asthma due to harmful toxins. The BCSPCA recommends using soy, vegetable or coconut-based wax with an unbleached 100% cotton wick. Pets can also easily be burnt by the flame and hot wax of a candle, so it’s important to always keep candles out of your pup’s reach.

4. Chocolate and candy

Halloween comes with mountains of candy and sweet treats, but it goes without saying that you shouldn’t ever feed chocolate to your pup. Both caffeine and a chemical called theobromine that are present in chocolate treats are toxic to dogs - neither of which can be metabolized properly.

Candy, gum and mints also contain a chemical called xylitol which causes a sudden release of insulin in the body that leads to hypoglycemia - or low blood sugar. It can also cause liver damage in some pets, so it’s important to keep sweet treats hidden away and out of reach from your pooch.

5. Luminous necklaces and glow sticks

Although seemingly harmless, glow sticks and luminous jewellery can cause problems for our furry friends if bitten or ingested. Whilst it is considered more of an irritant than a toxin, the chemical DBP - or dibutyl phthalate - present in glowsticks has a very bitter taste that can cause excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth.

According to Wag Walking, a dog walking and sitting website, ingestion should still be taken seriously as glow sticks also contain 35% hydrogen peroxide, which when combined with DBP causes glow sticks to illuminate in the dark. Both chemicals can also be skin and eye irritants. Watch out for your pets pawing at their eyes and mouths as well as any other symptoms. If you have suspicions your pup might have gotten into a glowstick, call your vet immediately.

6. Compost and mulch piles

Crunchy leaves are synonymous with fall - with the sight of a huge pile often being a great source of fun for dogs to jump into when out on walks. But you might not realise that older, composted leaves and mulch piles could have a serious effect on your pup should they take a bite.

According to the BCSPA, organic matter and molding food products in compost can contain ‘tremorgenic mycotoxins and can be poisonous to dogs, causing tremors and seizures even when a small amount has been eaten. Signs that your pup may have gotten into a compost pile are drooling, agitation, panting, and vomiting. At home, make sure compost and mulch piles are tidied away in a safe and secure space away from your pooch. Give your vet a call if you think your dog might have ingested compost or mulch.

7. Conkers and acorns

A game of conkers can be a fun fall festivity, but should always be avoided for your pup. Why? Because conkers contain a chemical called aesculin, which can cause symptoms from vomiting to respiratory paralysis which can lead to toxic shock, according to Blue Cross. Aesculin is found in all parts of the chestnut tree, including its leaves - so dog owners should be careful that their pets don’t ingest these. They can also get lodged in your dog’s throat or stomach and could require surgery to remove them.

Acorns are similar in toxicity to dogs as they contain gallotannin acids that can make your dog ill if they consume too much over a specified period, according to Wag Walking. According to the dog walking website, small pieces of acorns aren’t usually dangerous to pets but whole acorns are. Not only because they’re a choking hazard, but because the hard outer shell of an acorn contains gallotannin which can make them sick with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and some painful stomach cramping.

Always ring your vet if you think your pet has swallowed a whole nut or suspect they might be experiencing toxic shock.

8. Mushrooms and toadstools

Some mushrooms and toadstools can be extremely toxic for dogs. According VCA Animal Hospitals, it can be incredibly difficult to decipher one mushroom from another, with toxic ones looking very similar to non toxic ones, so your best bet is to always keep your pup away from them when out and about on walks.

Severity of mushroom poisoning depends on how much they’ve managed to nibble, but can cause vomiting, nausea, dehydration or weakness depending on which kind of mushroom has been ingested. If you think your pup might have had a snack on a mushroom or toadstool, get in touch with your vet immediately.

9. Grapes, raisins and currants

Although a tasty and healthy snack for humans, grapes and raisins should be avoided for your pup. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, the toxic ingredient in both fruits isn’t yet known but they can cause kidney failure in dogs. The earliest symptom is vomiting, with lack of appetite, lethargy, and possibly diarrhea following in the next 12 to 24 hours. It’s important to call your vet if you think your pup might have eaten one of these fruits for advice and or treatment.


bottom of page