Autumn Pet Safety: Avoid These Poisonous Plants to Keep Your Pet Safe

With summer nearly over and autumn almost here, the change of seasons can be a brilliant time for you and your pets, and a time to enjoy the beautiful scenery as trees change from green to an array of rustic hues.

It’s also important to be aware of the seasonal dangers to our pets. There are a number of plants which can be very toxic, and in some cases fatal, so it’s vital to know what to avoid.

“Our four-legged friends are naturally very inquisitive and will often want to sniff out new smells and objects”, says PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing.

“Knowing what to keep your pet away from can help keep them safe – and prevent any impromptu visits to the vets if they eat something that could be toxic.”

Poisonous plants to avoid:

Acorns – they can be toxic due to the tannic acid they contain. This can cause a stomach upset for example vomiting and diarrhoea. Unripe, green acorns can be even more harmful as they contain more tannins. Although very rare, eating acorns can cause long-term kidney and liver damage. Acorns can also pose a blockage risk to your pet’s guts.

Yew Trees – every part of this tree (including the red berries) is poisonous to pets and even eating a few leaves can be serious. They are often found in churchyards so keep your eyes peeled and seek vet advice straightaway if they have eaten any.

Horse chestnut trees – their bark, leaves, flowers, and conkers are all poisonous to pets, due to the chemical aesculin found in each part of the tree and it’s fruit (conkers). The conkers could also be a choking or blockage hazard.

Autumn crocuses – (not to be confused with spring crocuses) these have pale mauve, pink or white flowers in autumn and all parts of the plant are highly toxic. Symptoms include vomiting, drooling, bloody diarrhoea and can lead to liver and kidney failure, collapse and even death. Contact your vet immediately if any part of the autumn crocus is eaten.

Nina adds: “When out walking this autumn, it’s crucial to be aware of any dangerous plants and trees that might cause harm to your pet.

“Keep a close eye on them, and try to walk your pooch somewhere you know is clear of toxic plants.

“If you know your pet is in the habit of being a bit of a scavenger, you might need to take extra precautions like training them to feel comfortable wearing a basket muzzle while you’re out and about to prevent them picking up anything dangerous.

“Vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking and breathing problems could all be signs that your pet might have eaten something poisonous.

“But even if your pet’s not showing any signs, if you know they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t, call the vet straight away. Your vet will be happy to provide guidance on whether it’s likely to be dangerous for your pet and advise what you should do.

“The quicker you act, the quicker your vet can provide essential treatment when it’s needed, which can reduce or prevent longer-term problems for your pet.”

For more information on keeping your pet safe this autumn, visit:

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

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