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Fall toxins pets should avoid: BCSPCA

Keep your pets away from these fall items
Certain items we use in the fall can be toxic to pets. (Elena Rogulina/Pixabay)

The fall season is in the air.

Cooler temperatures are coming and days are getting shorter, which means families are starting to bring seasonal items into the home.

Some of those seasonal items, however, may be toxic to our pets. The BCSPCA has published a list of items to keep away and out-of-reach from pets this autumn.


As cool weather sets in, many are “winterizing” their cars and boats with antifreeze. This, however, is fatal for pets. The BCSPCA said that as little as a teaspoon for a cat or two for dogs, depending on the animal’s size, can kill them.

The advice is to keep pets away from antifreeze and to clean up spills on driveways and hard surfaces before pets can get to them.


Candles made out of paraffin wax or ones that have a lead wick or release synthetic oil and fragrances can be toxic to pets.

“Fragrances and/or oil can aggravate existing respiratory illnesses like asthma in your pets due to harmful toxins, such as naphthalene or phthalates,” the organization said.

“Additionally, pets can be susceptible to burns from lit candles and hot wax.”

Candles made out of coconut, soy or other vegetable-based wax with unbleached cotton wicks are not harmful for pets.

Chocolate and candy

Fall means Halloween, which in turn means an abundance of candy and chocolate, which can result in significant illness for your dog or cat.

Cats and dogs can’t metabolize the chemicals found in chocolate well, and other ingredients found in candies release insulin that leads to low blood pressure in pets.

Compost and mulch piles

If your pet ingests some compost, it can result in poisoning as these piles contain decaying organic matter and moulding food products.

“Even small amounts ingested can result in tremors or seizures. Signs of ingestion can include drooling, agitation, panting, and vomiting,” said the organization.

Pumpkin spice

The autumnal favourite contains a blend of spices that may not be toxic to pets in small amounts but can be harmful if pets get to the spice directly.

Pumpkin spice generally contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves or allspice. Cinnamon can cause respiratory issues for pets, while nutmeg can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and changes in blood pressure. Cloves can cause liver issues in cats, as well as vomiting, tremors and seizures.

Other items that can cause issues for pets include caffeine and other baked goods due to the sugar and high fat.

If your dog or cat has ingested something toxic, call your veterinarian immediately.

“How quickly treatment is started can mean the difference between life and death,” said the BCSPCA.

READ MORE: ‘A miracle I’m living’: Maple Ridge dad urges vaccinations after COVID nearly kills him


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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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