As we say goodbye to summer and hello to the autumn season, our curious furry companions will naturally enjoy exploring their surroundings – particularly in gardens. Though autumnal plants may be wonderful to look at, they are not always safe for our pets!
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “Just like every season, it’s important to know about the pretty plants we pot in our gardens, as some of these can cause illness or even be fatal for our furry family members if they’re eaten. Signs of poisoning can include sickness, diarrhoea, drooling, abdominal pain, shaking and breathing problems. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, contact your vet for advice immediately.
“Though many of us love to see acorns budding on trees as we move into autumn, these can cause an obstruction risk and are toxic for pets if eaten in large amounts. They contain tannic acid, which can cause upset tummies as well as affect the liver and kidneys. Watch out for any of these that fall onto your garden floor, and don’t encourage your dog to play with any they find on their walks.
“While yummy sweet chestnuts are enjoyed by many at this time of year, they mustn’t be mistaken for Horse Chestnuts, which aren’t good for dogs or humans! Horse chestnuts have many poisonous parts, such as the bark, leaves, flowers and, of course, conkers. Not only can conkers cause harm if eaten in large quantities, they can also block a furry friend’s intestines, which could be fatal. It’s best to keep these well away from curious paws.
- Yew trees
“Yew trees are commonly found in churchyards and big open spaces, and can be extremely toxic to four-legged friends, causing tremors, seizures and even sudden death from heart failure. Unfortunately, every part of the tree is poisonous – take extra care when out on long autumnal walks, and make sure your pets are kept well away from any in your garden.
- Autumn crocuses
“Autumn crocus colours range from white, to lilac right through to purple and they often don’t have leaves at this time of year, as they will have faded after being present in spring. All parts of the plant are potentially harmful to our furry friends, causing severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Before planting any autumn flowers, it’s always worth checking whether these might be dangerous for your pets, and most garden centres should be able to give you advice. Try to pot any potentially poisonous plants out of reach from curious claws, or fence off any areas where these might grow wildly.
“This beautiful flower is often used to add some colour to our gardens in late summer and autumn. All parts of the plant can be toxic to dogs and cats if eaten in large enough amounts, causing upset stomachs and incoordination. Luckily, the smell of the flowers puts most pets off having a chew, but we advise keeping them well away to be safe.”
PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk