Vet issues stark warning to dog owners who walk their pets through leaf piles

Dog owners are being warned against walking their dogs through piles of leaves as summer comes to an end. Veterinarian Joanna Woodnutt is urging owners to keep their pets on their leads when walking them in parks and other open spaces where leaves have fallen.

She says there could be dangers lurking underneath the rotting leaves that could land an animal at the vets. Joanna said: “Leaves grow mould and bacteria as they start to rot. For dogs, consuming the mould and bacteria that rotten leaves may contain can be poisonous, potentially causing stomach upset or worse.”

But this isn’t the only thing dog owners need to watch out for as the season changes as a number of dangerous seasonal plants will be making an appearance in parks next month.

Joanna added: “The most dangerous plant to look out for at this time of year is the Autumn Crocus (colchicum).

“This pretty flower, appearing in autumn, looks just like a spring crocus, except it tends not to show its leaves.

“When eaten, it’s extremely toxic, causing stomach upset, liver and kidney failure, seizures, and sometimes death.

“You should also be aware that summer plants are still dangerous to dogs in winter.”

Conkers also made it onto Joanna’s list, as she warned they could be anywhere as children may have picked them up and moved them when collecting the glossy brown seeds.

She said: “Conkers are extremely dangerous to dogs for two reasons.

“Firstly, they are particularly hard and non-digestible. The chances are very high that a swallowed conker would cause a gut obstruction, requiring emergency surgery to treat.

“Even if your dog chews the conker, they still aren’t safe – conkers are poisonous and cause gut pain, drooling, and vomiting.”

A Blue Cross statement reads: “Conkers may be synonymous with autumn, but few people realise that these nuts can pose a serious health risk to your pet if ingested.

“Although cases are rare, Blue Cross has treated dogs who have fallen very ill after eating conkers. In one recent case, children had been innocently throwing conkers for a dog to catch, unaware of the dangers.

“Poisoned dogs need to be rehydrated and medicated, and any chewed up conkers still in their tummy need to be removed. In rare cases, surgery may be required to remove blockages.”