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Tips for a Happy Autumn

13th October
Autumn has arrived and all of us here at Wild at Heart Foundation are looking forward to the cosy evenings, crunchy leaves and hot chocolates on long dog walks.

As we start to enjoy the new season with our four-legged friends, it is important that we make sure they’re happy and healthy.

In the same way we have to adapt our dog’s care in the Summer, we must ensure they’re thriving in the Autumn too. We have put together some tips and tricks on how to keep your dog feeling safe in the Autumn months.

Potential Poisons  

Acorn + Sycamore Poisoning 

We love to take our dogs for long walks all year round but there is something particularly special about walking during Autumn. However, there are plenty of risks with walking in the colder months that we should be aware of. Many of our favourite British trees can produce harmful fruits that fall to the ground as the seasons change.  

Oak trees and their acorns contain tannins which are harmful to some farm animals, horses and dogs. If consumed, symptoms can include vomiting & diarrhoea, tiredness, abdominal tenderness, loss of appetite and dehydration and they can appear within hours. As well as acorns, sycamore seeds can be fatal to your dog. Similarly to acorn poisoning, sycamore poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. 

We understand it is difficult to watch your dog’s every move, but if you’re worried about your dog, try to find a safer place to walk them. If you think your dog may have ingested the poison – move them away from the area, give them water and consult a vet as soon as possible. The quicker you react, the better and always ensure you get expert advice. 

Fungi Poisoning 

There is a huge variety of different fungi here in the UK, that dramatically vary in size, shape, colour and how poisonous they are. Unless you are an expert, it can be incredibly difficult to identify wild mushrooms. Although some are edible, many of them aren’t and can cause some serious symptoms for your dog. These symptoms can include an upset stomach, blood in the stool or vomit, neurological symptoms, and even kidney or liver failure. The type of fungi eaten will determine the symptoms; however, for peace of mind, it is best to seek professional medical advice for treatment. 

Antifreeze & Rock Salt 

Antifreeze is more commonly used as the months get colder, but it can be poisonous to your dog. Many animals seem to enjoy the taste of antifreeze but if it is ingested, it can cause acute kidney failure or even death. Other symptoms include vomiting, seizures and trouble breathing – if your dog shows any of these symptoms contact your vet straight away. Rock salt is also a common toxin during autumn and winter, which can cause dehydration and even liver failure. The granules of rock salt can also irritate your dog’s paws. To protect your dog from potential rock salt poisoning, make sure you wipe their paws thoroughly after walks.  

Safety in the Dark 

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, it is possible that we will be walking our dogs in the dark, so it is important to know how we can keep our four-legged friends safe. 

Walk a Familiar Route 

The darkness can throw us off balance and even though our dogs have much better night vision than us, even they have some impairments. Stick to a route you are familiar with, consider shorter walks during the week and save your long walks for your free time at the weekends. You could also bring a friend or fellow dog walker with you for company and safety. There are plenty of other ways to exercise and entertain your dog – have a read of our blog all about how to entertain your dog at home. 

Dress Yourself and Your Dog Appropriately 

It is important that you wear reflective clothing to make yourself visible especially when walking near the roads. Don’t forget to dress your dog for the occasion too! There are many reflective accessories and LED collars that you can purchase for your dog to ensure they’re seen too. This is especially important if your dog is of a slightly darker colour. Some dogs, who are older, smaller or short-haired, may require a form of dog coat to keep them warmer as the temperature drops.  

As you walk, the visibility of the path you have taken may become limited. Wearing sensible shoes may reduce the risk of injury and will also keep your feet warm and dry as you walk. 

Keep Your Dog on The Lead 

Even though dogs do have better vision in the dark, it is still impaired and can cause changes in behaviour. It is important to keep your dog on a lead, so they aren’t spooked and react to another dog or human in the darkness. It is so important that you have full control of them to ensure you know where they are, avoiding potential hazards as you walk. 

Bring Other Sources of Light 

Wherever you can, carrying a torch may prove to be very beneficial as it can light your way and keep you aware of uneven ground. A headtorch is recommended as this will allow you to see what’s ahead and keep your hands free. 

Take Your Phone and Skip Wearing Headphones 

It is important to be aware of your surroundings as you walk so you can be alert to any potential dangers; phones can be a distraction so keep it in your pocket until you need it. Although we don’t want you to be distracted, it is important to carry one in case of emergencies and you can use the map feature if you find yourself lost. We would also recommend that you don’t wear headphones in order to be alert to your surroundings, including other dog walkers, traffic and other potential dangers. 


Fleas are much more common in the summer months; however, in the Autumn your home can be the perfect breeding ground for them. As the heating turns on dormant flea eggs can start to hatch into adults. 

It is easy to prevent these pesky fleas from invading your home by making sure your dog is up to date on all of their parasite prevention treatments. Remember, if your dog does get fleas, treat them straight away and make sure you treat your house too so they can’t come back. 


Halloween is a big night for many UK households and while we are out collecting sweet treats and playing silly tricks, it is important that we spare a thought to our pets and ensure they’re enjoying themselves too. With the increase of chocolate, sweets and other yummy treats your dog could be spoilt for choice. Ensure that these goodies are out of reach to avoid the chances of chocolate poisoning, and avoid any emergency trips to the vet.

Some dogs experience territorial aggression; with the increase of visitors to your front door these aggressions may be heightened. Provide a safe, quiet space for your dog to escape to, to reduce their fear of strangers knocking at the door. We also don’t recommend dressing your dog up in costumes as this can cause distress to your dog and create unwanted attention.

Fireworks Night 

Fireworks night can be a particularly exciting night for us, but it can be rather scary for our pets, with research showing that over 60% of UK dogs are fearful or reactive to the noise of fireworks. It is common for dogs to have sound sensitivities and while an amount of fear is normal, it is important that we help them in any way we can to make them feel safe and comfortable.

Although we still have time until these events take place, it is crucial to put time into helping your dog settle and relax on these special occasions and the surrounding days. For all the tips and tricks to calm your dog head over to our blog ‘Handling Fireworks Night With Your Dog’

We will be providing more information and insights on our social sites in the run-up to Halloween, Fireworks Night and other Seasonal Celebrations. If there are any questions we haven’t answered please head on over or contact us and we will offer whatever advice we can.

Instagram | Facebook

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