If you believe your dog has been poisoned, you can call the following numbers to get immediate help:
ASPCA Poison Control – (888) 426-4435
Pet Poison Helpline – (800) 213-6680
A consultation fee may apply for the above services.
Ensure that your personal veterinarian is updated with any procedures or possible antidotes your dog may be given to better care for them after.
Keeping your dog safe should be your number one priority and we are here to help!
Symptoms of Dog Poisoning
Knowing how your dog looks and acts when they are healthy will better prepare you to notice when they are not feeling well. Below are some of the most common symptoms of poisoning and GI discomfort.
This is one of the top symptoms when an animal does not feel well. When dogs become sick or injured, they begin to slow down and rest more often, as their body is focusing their energy on the issue they are facing. If they ate something extremely toxic, such as rat poison, their internal organs can begin to rupture or cause kidney failure, putting them in extreme pain when they move.
Some toxins can effect the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. This can be seen with labored breathing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing. Look for blue gums and shallow breathing.
Get them to the vet as soon as possible. Without oxygen flowing through their body, the dog has a higher risk of fatality.
Just as breathing difficulties can lead to blue gums, other toxins can be seen in the color change of your dog’s gums. Anemia can appear as white or pale pink gums, showing the lack of blood cells being delivered throughout the body. Yellow gums are a sign of jaundice, showing injury to the liver.
You are the best person to tell the behavioral changes in your dog! If they are normally outgoing and loving then suddenly don’t want to be touched, that is a red flag for something bigger going on with them. If they are normally calm and suddenly have uncontrollable energy, they may have gotten their paws on some caffeine.
Noticing the changes in your dog’s behavior can help you pinpoint exactly what is going on with them.
Burns or Open Sores in their Mouth
Some toxins and plants can create chemical burns and raw areas inside your dog’s mouth. If you notice that they are not eating normally or are having trouble chewing, they may have something going on inside their mouth. If you decide to check inside and their gum lines, be careful not to touch around the injury too much, they may bite or growl if their sore is touched and causes them pain. They may not mean to hurt you, but when they are in pain they are more likely to lash out even if you are trying to help.
An elevated or low body temperature is a sure sign that something is going wrong in their body. Dog’s temperatures are best checked rectally to get the most accurate reading. A temperature below 100 degrees Fahrenheit is considered hypothermic while a temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit is considered hyperthermic. Contact your vet if your dog is showing signs of either one.
Sudden Collapse or Difficulties Walking
A dog’s body is subject to completely shut down if exposed to certain medications, illegal drugs, harsh chemicals, and some snake bites. This symptom may be the first to appear before any others. Contact an emergency veterinarian immediately.
If your dog is bitten by a snake or stung by an insect, their face can swell up. It is most likely the face due to their curious nature and putting their noses in places they don’t belong! If you are able to get a picture of the snake or insect, make sure you have it to show to the veterinarian but do not put yourself in harms way to get the picture.
Seizures and Body Spasms
Violent shaking and full body seizures can be caused by a toxin that effects the muscles and nervous system. Although some dogs suffer from epilepsy, contacting your vet or emergency service right away is the best thing to do during this time.
Many things can cause your dog to drool or foam at the mouth. Anything they ate could be stuck in their teeth or they could still be chewing on it. Remove the item, keep out of dog’s reach, and contact your veterinarian. Keep a sample to show your vet.
Aggressive Licking or Scratching
This is common with contact toxins since they will cause extreme irritation and discomfort to your dog’s skin. Excessive licking or rubbing can create bleeding and open sores, allowing the toxins further into the body. Check for hives and swelling in the area, as well.
Upset Stomach and other GI Issues
Overall, many things can upset your dog’s stomach and cause them to have stomach aches, bloating, nausea, throwing up, diarrhea, and constipation. Be on the look out for blood in any of their throw up or droppings. Excessive water loss through vomiting or diarrhea can lead to kidney failure.
They may also lose their appetite and have some of the above mentioned signs, as well. If your dog continues to throw up, do not feed or water them and call your veterinarian.
Things that are poisonous to dogs
There are a number of items that food dogs can’t eat and that should be kept away from them to prevent stomach issues or internal damage. Keeping your dog away from the following foods is the best way to make sure your pup stays happy and healthy.
- Chocolate (The darker it is, the more toxic it is to them)
- Cooked bones
- Pest poison
- Salt and sugar
- Corn on the cob
- Milk or dairy products
- Grapes and raisins
- Apple seeds
- Certain plants
Human food is occasionally safe to give to your pet as a treat, but if you do feed them that, make sure you and your family know what is safe to give your dog and what’s not! It’s usually better just to stick with the best dog food you can provide for them.
What to do if you suspect your dog has been poisoned
If you believe that your dog has been poisoned, the first thing to do is to stay calm. Identify the toxin that your dog has either eaten or come into contact with. If you can get a sample or a picture, you will need that when discussing with a veterinarian.
During normal business hours, call your home veterinary office to seek advice or an appointment. If they are closed, you can use the above posted numbers or call directly to a nearby emergency vet clinic.
Once you make contact with a veterinarian, they will give you the next steps to take. These steps could include bringing them in immediately, inducing vomiting (never do this unless advised), or bath them if it was a contact toxin.
Having a toxin go through their body and the care your pet will go through to make them feel better is extremely taxing. Even after treatment, they are likely to be tired and still not feeling like themself 100%. It is important during this time to give them extra love and attention!
Follow your veterinarian’s aftercare instructions to make sure your pet has a full recovery. This may include a special diet, such as boiled chicken and white rice or even skipping the after dinner treat they normally get.
Make sure they are feeling completely better before you take them on any strenuous exercise, including long walks and playing fetch.
If you think your dog is still not feeling well after the end of your post care instructions, reach back out to your vet and continue to check for signs of poisoning.
Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe
- Even plants that are not potentially toxic to animals should be kept out of their reach
- Make your kitchen a ‘no dog area’, this prevents them from going in to pick up any ingredients you may drop while cooking
- Keep your trash can in an area that they can not get to or have a locking lid
- Keep all dangerous items out of reach
- Have the emergency contact numbers posted on the fridge for the whole family to have access to
- Keep all of your dog’s records and information in one area that is easy to access incase you need to grab the file and head to the emergency clinic
- Keeping an unopened and fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting. Again, never do this unless specifically advised to do so
- Dawn dish soap is great to used for some contact toxins
- Keep human medications locked away, as they can be harmful for children, as well
- Talk to your family about the signs of poisoning and how dog poisoning can effect your pets
You never know when an emergency with your dog may happen and vet visits are not free. Treatment for toxins can range from a couple hundred into thousands of dollars, depending on how serious it is. Keeping a savings account or setting specific money aside can help off set the bill that may come with an emergency.
Just as you set money away incase a car breaks down or the water heater needs replacing, having a backup fund for your furry friend can take a little stress away during an emergency. It doesn’t have to be a lot! Just a few bucks here and there adds up over time and can really help you and your dog in the long run.
Knowing the signs of poisoning in dogs may one day save your pet’s life. If you think your dog has been poisoned every minute counts! So knowing some information ahead of time can make a huge difference.