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Veterinarian offers fall tips for pet safety

With families busy preparing for the back to school hustle this fall, one local veterinarian is asking that we prepare our pets as well. Autumn may seem like the perfect season for pets; more time outside without worrying about intense heat or cold, open windows and breezes, and romps through the leaves. But when it comes to pet health, the dangerous season is often overlooked. Dr. Marla Lichtenberger offers fall tips for pet safety.

“Every year, around this time, we start to see an increase in illnesses and injuries to animals that are easily prevented. I want pet owners to just be aware of some things that they may discount while they’re in the middle of arranging carpools and school supply shopping,” said Lichtenberger, owner of Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals in Greenfield.

1. Rat poison and Rodenticides: Rodents spend their autumn looking for a warm place for the winter – like your home. Many poisons used on pests are extremely harmful, and possibly deadly, to your dog or cat. Your veterinarian should be able to give you a list of pet-safe methods products. Beware of traps as well. The last thing you want is your pet to stumble upon one and wind up with an injury.

2. Mushrooms and Fungi: Just like berries in summer, fungi thrive in fall. Although most mushrooms are safe to eat, there are some that are highly toxic when eaten by pets or people. The ASPCA guide to mushrooms shows what to avoid.

3. Anti-freeze: Most people take advantage of the beautiful weather in fall to winterize their vehicles. Anti-freeze can be deadly for animals – and it only takes a minute amount. The sweet smell of anti-freeze is enticing for pets which is why any spill should be cleaned immediately. Pets should never be allowed in your garage or where this is stored.

4. Ticks: Cooler weather does not mean ticks aren’t active. Continue to check for ticks frequently, use tick repellent and control products and ask your vet about routine tick-borne infection screenings, like Lyme Disease.

5. Holiday Foods: Fall means holidays. Holidays mean increased food, food left on tables, unattended plates, and huge stashes of trick or treat candy. Keep “people” food away from pets. High-fat foods can cause severe stomach issues for pets, and small foods and bones are a choking hazard. Chocolate, grapes, and raisins can be deadly for dogs.

“If you have any questions about pet safety, the best thing to do is consult your veterinarian… The sooner you act, the better,” added Lichtenberger.