With the changing seasons come changing threats to your pet’s health, so it is important to keep informed on what to look out for throughout the year.

Here is our handy guide to seasonal poisons for small animals.

Tay Valley Vets would like to keep pets safe this Autumn and Winter by informing pet owners of potentially harmful substances that are dangerous to small animals.

Some of the most common potentially harmful dangers for pets during the Autumn and Winter months are listed below.

(*Please note: Information about the potentially harmful dangers for pets, courtesy of the Veterinary Poisons Information Service).

For more information about Autumn dangers for small animals

Please contact our experienced reception team on 01738 621415, we’re happy to help.

Autumn Dangers For Small Animals


Many small animals struggle during fireworks displays, but don’t panic – we have a handy guide to help you spot if your animal is struggling to cope, as well as tips to help your pet get through the fireworks season. You can find out more here


November is bonfire season, and it is crucial to keep your dog away from any open fires.


Serious cases of poisoning are rare – ingestion can cause marked gastro-intestinal signs – drooling, retching, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. The conker’s case and conkers themselves also present a risk by causing an intestinal blockage. Dogs usually vomit any ingested conkers quickly and treatment to control vomiting may be needed.


Exposure to acorns within dogs is common in the Autumn and Winter months. The toxic ingredient is thought to be tannic acid, which can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Signs include vomiting, diarrhoea (with or without blood), abdominal pain, loss of appetite and lethargy. Ingested acorns can also cause an intestinal blockage.

Anti-freeze spills

Ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) ingestion is very dangerous. It is sweet-tasting and very palatable. Even a relatively small quantity can cause serious kidney damage and can be fatal. Unfortunately the longer the delay between ingestion of the anti freeze and initiation of treatment the less favourable the prognosis.

Mushrooms and toadstools

The most common account of poisoning is by the mushroom Amanita Phalloides, which is extremely toxic. Signs include mild vomiting and diarrhoea and can lead to more severe digestive problems, neurological (brain/nerve) disorders and liver disease.

Toad toxicity

There are two species of toad native to Britain, the Common toad and the Natterjack toad. The Common toad is widespread, whilst the Natterjack toad is a protected species found in East Anglia and the North West of England. Exposure to toads occurs between June and August when they are spawning, toads being most active around dawn and dusk. Most toad-related incidents occur in the evening when cats or dogs lick or eat them. This can lead to signs including hypersalivation (dribbling), frothing, foaming, oral pain, vomiting, wobbliness, shaking, an increase in body temperature and collapse. In severe cases convulsions can occur. You can thoroughly rinse your dog’s mouth out (don’t let them swallow the water) then contact us for further advice.

Autumn dangers for small animals graphic panel showing a Jack Russell dog

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