As the season shifts and we reach for warm sweaters and pumpkin-spiced treats, we must adapt and our care practices for our furry friends.

This guide explores the potential health challenges that fall brings, from darker days and colder temperatures to potential allergens, and offers handy tips to keep them happy and safe.

This fall, ensure your dog's safety by adjusting walks, grooming regularly, monitoring play, navigating holidays, and staying alert to health signs.
Let's dive in!

1. Safe Dog-Walking Practices

With the days getting shorter, it might be a good idea to adjust your dog walking times. Also, for evening strolls, keep safety in mind by equipping your furry friend with reflective gear or an LED collar to make sure they're easily spotted. Stick to well-known routes when venturing out in the evening.

Are You a Pet Safety Expert?

Are You a Pet Safety Expert?
1. Which one of the plants below is toxic to cats if ingested?
2. Which of the foods below is generally considered safe for your dog to eat?
3. Above what temperature is too hot to leave a pet in your car?
4. Which kind of leash is the safest to walk your dog?
5. True or False: If a medication is safe for humans, it is probably safe for pets.
6. What should you do if you think your pet ate something toxic?

Are You a Pet Safety Expert?

1. Which one of the plants below is toxic to cats if ingested?
Easter lilies are extremely poisonous to cats. Ingesting even a tiny amount can cause severe kidney failure.
2. Which of the foods below is generally considered safe for your dog to eat?
All of the above foods are unsafe for dogs except for carrots, which make a healthy, crunchy treat!
3. Above what temperature is too hot to leave a pet in your car?
If the temperature outside is above 70°F, then it is too hot to leave your pet inside a car.
4. Which kind of leash is the safest to walk your dog?
A retractable leash, long lead, or no leash will not keep your pet close enough to ensure their safety when walking on a road with traffic or other hazards. A short leash is always the best option.
5. True or False: If a medication is safe for humans, it is probably safe for pets.
While some human medications are safe for pets if used correctly, they should only be administered under the care of a veterinarian.
6. What should you do if you think your pet ate something toxic?
If you suspect your pet ingested something harmful, consult your veterinarian or go to the nearest emergency clinic right away.

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2. Grooming Tips

The transition from summer to winter often means our dogs are switching from lighter summer coats to denser winter ones. You might notice more shedding than usual, but this is normal. Regular brushing for your dog helps manage this shedding and ensures a healthy coat.

Also, a small tip for the home: to keep pet hair at bay, consider investing in effective lint rollers or using slipcovers on your furniture.  

3. Fall Foliage and Outdoor Play

The fall season can bring new challenges for dogs playing outdoors. Your dog may be tempted to eat fallen leaves or dangerous mushrooms, so watch for signs of tummy troubles and monitor what your dog might pick up during walks or play sessions.

As temperatures drop, snakes might look for warm spots, sometimes close to where dogs play. Also, plants like chrysanthemums, popular in fall decorations, are harmful if ingested by dogs.  

After being outside, observe your dog for any unusual signs of discomfort which could indicate they've encountered an irritant. The good news is that the cooler temperatures are great for longer playtimes, so use this opportunity to keep your dog active and engaged.  

4. Navigating Fall Holidays with Your Dog

Labor Day might include a family barbecue, but always avoid giving your dog harmful barbecue scraps. Also, if fireworks are part of the celebration, make sure to consider their well-being, as the loud noises can be distressing for many dogs.  

Halloween brings fun but also some potential risks. If your dog is joining the festivities, consider dressing them in reflective clothing for better visibility. Remember, candies, like chocolate are toxic for our dogs.

Thanksgiving is the time for feasting, but not all dishes are dog-friendly. Be cautious about sharing food; many dishes can upset their stomach. Also, while decorations set the mood, ensure they're out of reach to prevent accidental chewing.

If holidays and loud noises are particularly distressing for your dog, you may want to discuss a calming medication like trazodone with your veterinarian.

5. Preparing for Hurricanes With Your Dog

Hurricane season during fall can be disruptive to your dog. It's essential to have a plan in place for your canine companion. Create a dog emergency kit with food, water, medications, and other essentials. Ensure your dog is microchipped or has an updated ID tag, so you can be quickly reunited if separated.

Should a storm approach, designate a safe, quiet space for your dog, away from windows and potential flood areas. Post-storm environments can be chaotic, so always monitor and secure your dog during cleanup and recovery.

6. Allergy Awareness

Fall brings several allergens that can affect your dog. Tree and weed pollens, such as ragweed, are prevalent during this season. Outdoor molds, thriving in damp environments like fallen leaves, can also be a concern. Indoor allergens, like house dust or certain cleaning products, can affect our furry friends. Regularly cleaning your dog's outdoor play area and being aware of indoor triggers can help.

If you notice symptoms like excessive scratching, runny eyes, or ear infections, it could be an allergic reaction.

Consider scheduling a Pet Allergy & Dermatology Exam with your veterinarian to identify the cause and get appropriate treatment.

Related readings: Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

7. Keeping an Eye on Ticks and Fleas

As the leaves fall and temperatures drop, it's easy to forget that pests like fleas and ticks remain active. After spending time outdoors, always check your dog's fur and skin for these unwanted guests. Be particularly cautious in areas with tall grass or dense woods, as they can be hotspots for ticks.

Also, just because it's getting colder, don’t be tempted to skip or delay flea and tick preventatives. Consistent protection is key to keeping your furry pal pest-free.

8. Dressing for the Weather

Autumn's crisp air might be refreshing, but some dogs, especially the small, thin-coated, or elderly ones, might feel the chill more intensely. If you notice your dog shivering, being reluctant to venture outside, or seeking warmth frequently, it might be time to consider a doggy sweater or jacket. They appreciate a little extra warmth during those cool fall strolls.

Always ensure any clothing is comfortable, fits well, and doesn't restrict movement.  

9. Poison Precautions

As we often turn to rodenticides for pest control and antifreeze for car maintenance in the fall, storing these products securely and cleaning up spills promptly is essential. If you think your dog might have ingested something dangerous, watch for symptoms like vomiting or lethargy, and if any concerning signs appear, bring your pet to the nearest emergency clinic.

10. Recognizing the Red Flags

Routine vet visits are important to detect early signs of health concerns and ensure that your dog's vaccinations and preventatives are up to date. It's important to be extra vigilant with our dogs, even if they seem to brush off discomfort or minor injuries.

  • Behavioral changes: Look out for any unusual behavior, whether it's lethargy, aggression, or a sudden change in mood.
  • Eating and drinking habits: Be concerned if there's a sudden decrease in appetite, increased thirst, or disinterest in their favorite treats.
  • Physical symptoms: Any persistent coughing, difficulty breathing, limping, vomiting, diarrhea, or signs of distress like excessive panting, should raise an alert.
  • Visible injuries: Even minor-looking injuries should be checked, especially with fall hazards like hidden objects beneath leaves or potential encounters with other animals.
  • Excessive grooming or itching: Continual licking, nibbling at a specific spot, or frequent scratching can be indicative of discomfort, an unseen injury, or allergic reactions.

If something feels unusual or you observe any of these signs, reach out to your veterinarian. 

Get Your Pet’s Health Checked Out at Home

Say goodbye to stressful vet visits and hello to a comfortable wellness exam in your pet's favorite spot.


We hope that you have found this guide to be helpful in caring for your dog, from safe walking routines to managing seasonal pests. By prioritizing regular veterinary visits and making some simple changes, we can provide our dogs with a safe and cozy autumn.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I train my dog to avoid leaves?

Use commands like "leave it" when they approach leaves and reward them for listening. Consistent training and positive reinforcement will help them learn over time.

Which dog breeds are prone to fall allergies?

Some commonly affected breeds include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, Bulldogs, Dalmatians, and Terriers. However, any dog can develop allergies. Always monitor for signs like itching or respiratory issues.