In our non-scientific opinion, autumn is clearly the best season for dog-walking. The summer heat has died down, it’s not as muddy as winter, and it avoids the risk of upsetting livestock during lambing season in spring.

But there are a few things to watch out for as you and your dog are checking out the autumn foliage.

Mushrooms: autumn’s wet weather tends to bring out clusters of mushrooms in woods and fields. Many species of mushrooms can be toxic to dogs – just as they can to humans – and it can take a keen and practised eye to sort out the safe ones from the dangerous ones.

Acorns and conkers: both of these harvest-time nuts can contain toxic chemicals, whose effects range from drooling to abdominal pain to potential organ damage. Keep an eye on what your dog is eating, especially under chestnut and oak trees.

Rodenticides: mice and rats tend to start looking for warmth in the colder months, and this can lead them to move inside houses and buildings. This may prompt your neighbours to put down rat poison. But it can attract dogs just as easily as rodents and has the same toxic effects on the canine system.

Harvest mites (Neotrombicula autumnalis): these microscopic, but annoying arachnids live in long grass and woodlands and can attach themselves to any warm-blooded creatures that stroll by. In addition to being very itchy, they have potentially been linked to Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI), a potentially fatal illness. Watch out for clumps of tiny orange bugs on your dog, and treat them with a preventative fipronil-based spray before walking them in wooded areas

Leaf piles and fallen fruit: Your dog may love romping through leaf piles, and it can be good fun if the leaves are still relatively freshly-fallen. Not all dog owners are aware, but dogs can be very sensitive to certain kinds of mould. Decomposing leaf piles can be a source of dangerous fungi, as can rotten fruit. Make sure your dog doesn’t eat or inhale mouldy material and watch for any changes in behaviour that might indicate mycotoxin poisoning.

As always, if you have any concerns about your dog or want to speak to a vet, book a Video Vets Now appointment with our telehealth team or find your nearest Vets Now clinic.