What’s more fun than watching your dog jump into a big pile of leaves?
Old piles of leaves often harbor hidden health hazards for Fido.
Summer sunshine has turned into autumn and as the leaves fall, most dogs love leaping into the giant piles we rake up. Be honest…it’s a blast!
Pet owners should take care to avoid letting their dogs dive into piles of leaves that have been sitting around for awhile. Leaf piles can harbor mold, ticks, and other fall irritants that can adversely affect your dogs’ health.
Dog Dangers – Allergies and Mold
For some dogs, damp leaf piles — which often contain mold and bacteria — can be a source of an allergic reaction. To tell if your dog is bothered by leaf mold, integrative veterinarian, Carol Osborne, DVM recommends keeping an eye out for sniffling, sneezing, and other signs of a canine mold allergy.
In addition to sneezing, dogs allergic to mold may suffer with watery, runny eyes and occasionally cough. Recurrent ear infections and skin issues due to itching are also not uncommon.
Bacteria thrive in old piles of leaves which often leads to dermatitis and costly skin infections.
Dog Dangers – Sticks and Ticks
Sharp sticks and tree branches are often part of leaf piles and although somewhat rare, puncture wounds caused by sharp sticks usually require a trip to the vet.
Snakes, ticks and other pests also reside in these piles and are less than healthy for your dog.
Canines & Poisonous Fall Plants
We all enjoy the beautiful colors as we watch the leaves turn each Autumn… but pet owners BEWARE!
Red maple leaves, wild mushrooms, and chestnuts (or “conkers”) are also risky when it comes to your canine’s health. Red maple tree leaves if ingested can interfere with your dogs red blood cell function.
Chestnuts contain a poison called aesculin and Acorns are another “no-no.” Be sure your dog is not gobbling up fallen acorns as they lead to big time tummy aches, vomiting and diarrhea. In any case should your pooch become lethargic, suffer with vomiting and/or diarrhea, become wobbly, etc after ingesting an unknown plant, leaf, acorn, etc, call your veterinarian or go to the local Pet ER.
While keeping Fido inside is safe and secure while you are cleaning up your yard this fall, Dr. Carol Osborne says, in most cases, there is minimal risk in letting your pooch frolic in a nice pile of freshly raked leaves that you have already checked for sticks and unwanted hazards.
Author: Sarah D. Young