Autumn Poisons

With all sorts of nuts, leaves, fungi and other organic matter covering the ground this time of year, many people do not think much of letting their dogs pick up a leaf or a nut, but the fact is some of these things can be toxic to dogs.  Here we’ve included some Autumn dangers that dog owners should be aware contain some poisonous substances affecting dogs.

If you suspect your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t, try to get as much information as possible – trade name, active ingredient, the amount your dog has ingested and when it was ingested.  If you have the original packaging show it to your vet.

Oak Leaves and Acorns

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Exposure to acorns in dogs is common in the autumn and winter months. The toxic ingredient is thought to be a combination of gallic acid and tannic acid which can be harmful to dogs causing stomach upset and even kidney disease.

Signs include vomiting, diarrhea (with or without blood), abdominal pain, loss of appetite and lethargy. Because they are hard and sharp, acorns can also cause obstruction and internal damage.

While some dogs may ingest acorns without severe issues, more serious illness from acorns and oak trees often comes from dogs consuming large quantities of young oak leaves or acorns

Additionally, Water that has been exposed to oak leaves or acorns (example leaf or acorn falls in water dish) may also pose a problem.

If possible, minimize your dogs’ exposure to acorns, and be especially careful that their dog bowls for food or water are not contaminated.

It’s always best to be cautious and contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog has eaten acorns or oak leaves.


Mushrooms are everywhere and can pose a threat to your dog. Toxic mushrooms can be found in any environmental setting (lawn, woods, garden, etc.) Mushrooms are extremely difficult to identify as many of them look very similar. Do not take any chances and do not allow your dogs to eat mushrooms.

Always contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet has ingested wild mushrooms of any variety.

Some Toxic Varieties and Their Symptoms

Excerpts taken from Chewys, Pet Safety & Injury Prevention / Posted by Nicole Janiga

Muscarinic Mushrooms (Innocybe and Clitocybe spp)

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Muscarinic mushrooms stimulate salivation, urination, diarrhea, and vomiting. The onset of signs is quick, usually 5-30 minutes. Signs can persist for several hours if untreated, but resolve quickly with administration of the antidote from your veterinarian.


Ixoxazole mushrooms [Amanita muscaria (fly agaric), Amanita pantherina (panther mushroom)]

xoxazole mushrooms [Amanita muscaria (fly agaric), Amanita pantherina (panther mushroom)]   Pavlo Burdyak/

xoxazole mushrooms [Amanita muscaria (fly agaric), Amanita pantherina (panther mushroom)] Pavlo Burdyak/

Ixoxazole mushrooms have fluctuating signs of excitation and depression. The animals initially vomit, then develop the neurologic signs. Care must be taken when treating these animals as some patients will stop breathing.

Hallucinogenic (magic) mushrooms (Psilocybe spp.)

Hallucinogenic (magic) mushrooms (Psilocybe spp.)  dabjola/

Hallucinogenic (magic) mushrooms (Psilocybe spp.) dabjola/

These mushrooms can cause hallucinations, drunkenness, and fever in dogs. Signs occur quickly (30-180 minutes) and can last for up to 3 days. These animals respond well to veterinary care.

Gyromitra spp (false morels)

Gyromitra spp (false morels)  FotoLot/

Gyromitra spp (false morels) FotoLot/

Gyromitra spp contain compounds related to rocket fuel. These mushrooms when ingested can cause seizures and vomiting.

Mushrooms in the genera Amanita, Galerina, and Lepiota contain amanitins (cyclopeptides) that are toxic to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, and liver.  Amanitins and phalloidins are liver toxins found in most Amanita, Galerina and Lepiota mushrooms. Animals ingesting these mushrooms have a lag period of 6-12 hours before they start vomiting. They appear to recover, but in 3-7 days they develop liver failure along with seizures and bleeding. Most animals do not survive.

While some mushrooms are for human consumption and are not considered to pose a health hazard for pets, because wild mushrooms can be very tricky to distinguish, and certain poisonous varieties mimic safe ones, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center would not recommend offering your pet mushrooms of any kind.

Horse Chestnuts/Buckeyes/Conkers

Carl Newman / Alamy Stock Photo)

Carl Newman / Alamy Stock Photo)

There are many things to love about horse chestnuts from the beautiful spreading nature of the tree and the shade that it gives, the beautiful flowers that you get and a leaf structure that is quite unlike most other broadleaf.  Then we get these gorgeous brown nuts inside that spikey case that look like a weapon of war.

The “Conker,” appropriately named in the UK, is the seed of the horse chestnut tree (not the sweet chestnut tree where we get edible chestnuts from). It is a hard brown nut which is found in a prickly casing. They are called Buckeyes in the US.  Fortunately, besides being hit in the head by a falling nut or damage to the paw pad from stepping on one, serious cases of poisoning are rare – ingestion can cause marked gastro-intestinal signs – drooling, retching, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The chestnut’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.

What makes conkers toxic to many animals are chemicals called glycosides and saponins. Deer, however, are able to break these down. These substances could potentially act as insect repellents and, rumor has it, keep spiders at bay when placed in strategic locations around the home.

Rodent Poison

Most, but not all, rodenticides contain anti-coagulant compounds that interfere with a rat’s ability to clot its own blood. One off exposure to products bought in garden centers often does not cause problems. However, repeated exposure to products or exposure to professional rodent baits can cause disruption to a dog’s blood clotting ability and result in massive hemorrhage (bleeding). The effects may be delayed for several days – blood-clotting (coagulation) tests are often needed to determine if a dog is at risk of developing problems. Treatment involves giving an antidote and in severe cases transfusions of plasma or whole blood.

Below are some excellent internet articles:

Luminous Necklaces and Glow Sticks

The chemical mixture within these necklaces is very irritating to the gums – commonly causing salivation (drooling), frothing/foaming from the mouth, vomiting and stomach pain. Although the signs can look dramatic, ingestion is unlikely to cause significant problems.

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If you live in an area where these items are a common occurrence, teach your dog “leave it” and “drop it” commands which are helpful in any situation. Also consider bringing your own healthy dog treats or toys on walks to help keep your dogs focus away from these items.  Remember if there is even the slightest of suspicion please contact your vet.  ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435.  The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.   Please visit, ASPCA website for more information: