What to Do if Your Dog Has Been Poisoned? A Definitive Guide for Pet Owners

Poisoning is one of the nightmares every dog owners fear. Since dogs love exploring the world with their mouths, they are highly susceptible to ingesting toxic substances. And if your pooch loves roaming around the neighborhood, their risk of getting poisoned increases. So what to do if your dog has been poisoned? In this post, we will guide you through the first-aid steps and other remedies that will save your dog.

Common household items that can poison a dog

Photo Credits – Glade Valley Animal Hospital

Many pet owners are surprised by the fact that some household items can be harmful to their dogs. To give you an idea, these seemingly innocent items are actually poisonous for canines.

*Chocolate – yes, this yummy dessert is dangerous for your dog. Never give it to your dog or cat no matter what.

*Household plants – this may surprise you, but some household plants pose a poisoning risk to your dog. And with some dogs’ habit to graze, they are more likely to become victims. Some of the dangerous house plants are tulips, azaleas, sago palm, and daffodils. 

*Grapes – experts are yet to find out why, but grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure among dogs. Even a single fruit can wreak havoc to your doggo’s body.

*Xylitol – this artificial sweetener found on candies and gums are toxic for dogs. This is why you should never give candies to your dog. Ask your kid not to give candies to the dog!

*Fertilizer – the fertilizer you use on your vegetable patch or garden grass can poison your pet. 

*Excessive salt – your dog should only consume between 0.25g/100g to 1.5g/100g of salt. However, this will differ if your dog requires a low sodium diet.

*Macadamia nuts – even a small amount of macadamia nuts can already poison your dog. Some of the symptoms are vomiting, weakness, and overheating. 

Take note that these are just some of the poisonous substances that your dog can ingest. There are many more, including human medicines, heavy metals, paint, and household cleaners.

Signs that your dog has been poisoned

Poisoning can be life-threatening, much so if you don’t watch out for the symptoms. If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned or if your dog exhibits these symptoms, you must take it to the vet right away. 

-Incessant vomiting and nausea
-Tremors and twitching

When your dog starts to exhibit these symptoms, it’s important to take it to the vet’s clinic right away. No home remedy can fix the situation, especially if your dog has consumed a large amount of the poison. 

Also, some pet owners self-medicate their dogs. Although this is a cost-effective option, you might fuel the problem if you find out that the home remedy worsens your dog’s situation. 

In this video, Dr. Alex Avery of Our Pets Health tells us more about the signs of dog poisoning:

What to do if your dog has been poisoned?

So what to do if your dog has been poisoned? Instead of panicking and using home remedies, you must do the following the moment that you find out that your dog ingested a poisonous substance. 

-Remove your dog from poison source 

Retrieve your dog away from the poison. Take note that poisoning can happen through ingestion, inhalation, or physical contact of the toxic substance. Lay your dog in a spot with the least foot traffic at your home and where you can observe it while you’re calling the vet. 

-Look for the potential poison

The next thing you have to do is to look for the poison. This is very important as the type of poison and ingested amount are critical in finding the right cure for your pooch. We recommend putting it in a bag and bringing it to the vet together with your pooch. 

If the cause of poison is a harmful gas, you should stay away from it to prevent being exposed to the toxin. 

If you can’t find the potential poison, you can bag a small amount of your dog’s vomit. This will be tested on the vet’s lab to identify what substance has poisoned your dog. It’s possible that your pooch ate something around the neighborhood which can be difficult to pinpoint on your own. Any trace of the poison will help the vets treat your dog. 

-Don’t force your dog to vomit

One mistake that pet owners do is forcing their dogs to vomit. Take note that once your doggo is exhibiting the symptoms, there’s no point in inducing vomiting. It could only do more harm than help to your pooch. Besides, some toxic substances aren’t supposed to be brought up to the esophagus of your pet.

If your dog has laryngeal paralysis or difficulty of breathing before the poisoning, it’s dangerous to induce vomiting. The vomit may only add up to the blockage on their airway. 

-Don’t force-feed your dog

Also, never force-feed your dog of any home remedy. You’ll never know if you’re just making a cocktail of poison on your dog’s tummy. Also, you shouldn’t force-feed your dog with activated charcoal as this will not work. It may just cause more problems by the time you reach the vet’s office. 

-Give your dog fresh air (in case of gas poisoning)

If your dog has inhaled toxic gas, bring your pooch to a well-ventilated area it can breathe fresh air. Some dogs who just inhaled a small amount of contaminated air will recover after a few minutes. However, if your dog remains weak and exhibits difficulty in breathing, we recommend taking the dog to the vet.

-Take your dog to the vet right away

What to do if your dog has been poisoned? Once you have assessed the situation, don’t waste any time and bring your dog to the vet right away. Only the animal doctor can provide the best solution to your dog’s condition. 

If the vet isn’t available, you can call the national poison control hotline of ASPCA. Their vet consultation for poisoning situations is available 24/7. Another alternative contact is the Pet Poison Hotline that deals with all pets and all poisons. Take note that the services of these organizations aren’t free, just as a vet visit will cost a fee.

How to prevent dog poisoning

If you don’t want to face the dilemma of dog poisoning, you must know how to avoid such situations. The following are some of the steps you can take to prevent your dog from ingesting or getting exposed to poisonous substances: 

-Keep any poisonous substances out of reach

You should store household cleaners, fertilizers, and other toxic chemicals in closed containers. Also, keep it out of your dog or kid’s reach. Take note that even a small amount of these substances can already have a dangerous effect on your pet. 

Also, be mindful of the areas your dog can access in your home. As much as possible, you should keep the kitchen off-limits. And if you’re cleaning the house, we recommend that you keep your dog outdoors so they won’t lick any of the cleaning solutions.

-Be mindful of your household plants

Another thing that you should avoid is bringing toxic plants home. Decorative plants like Mistletoe, azalea, tulips, sago palm, oleander, chinaberry tree, wisteria, and privet. All of these plants will poison your dog upon ingestion. If you have an intense chewer, you should avoid any of these poisonous plants.

If you want a decorative plant, look for other safe alternatives like Christmas cactus, African violets, Aluminum plant, Lipstick plant, and Parlor palm. 

-Don’t give your dog a free pass around the neighborhood

For Houdini dogs who love escaping and roaming the neighborhood, it’s time to impose stricter rules. As much as possible, you should keep a fenced yard where your dog can’t escape. To avoid your dog from wandering around, walk them around the neighborhood to drain their extra energy.

Also, give your dog enough playtime so it wouldn’t vent out its curiosity on other things. Being strict goes a long way, especially if your pooch has already been poisoned before. 

-Clean your yard

Another thing that you should do is to remove any toxic items in your yard. You could’ve been storing flammable and dangerous substances on your yard like paint thinner, fertilizer, and the likes. It will only take a curious dog to open these items. 

Also, you’ll be surprised by how much trash you have stored in your yard. Cleaning up is also a great way to maximize the space on your property. 

-Don’t treat your grass with toxic pesticides

If you’re keeping a garden, make sure that you use a non-toxic fertilizer. This is very important, especially if your dog is grazing. Grazing is the habit of dogs where they eat grass to appease their pissed stomach. 

-Avoid giving human food on canines 

There’s one good reason why there is food specifically made for dogs. So at all costs, avoid giving human food and table scraps to your dog. You’ll never know when it will harm your dog’s health. You should also inform everyone at home about this. 

Also, human food is extremely fatty and unhealthy for dogs. So instead of taking chances, just focus on giving your pooch a healthy diet. 

-Prepare a pet poison kit 

As much as you don’t want your dog to get poisoned, you must be ready for the worst-case scenario. Keep a pet poison kit with surgical gloves, hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing liquid, saline eye solution, and tweezers. You should keep the medical records of your dog handy as well, especially if your pooch has a lingering health condition. Being prepared will save your dog’s life. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long before food poisoning shows signs of symptoms?

A: Some dogs with sensitive tummies will show symptoms of poisoning within 24 hours. Meanwhile, other canines would only show signs of poisoning after 48 to 72 hours. You should always watch for any adverse reactions, especially if you know that your dog has ingested a toxic substance. It’s much better if you take the dog to the vet right away.

Q: Can ingesting poison cause kidney failure among dogs?

A: If a dog ingests a large amount of toxins, it can lead to organ failure, including kidney, heart, liver, and lungs. The more potent the poison is, the faster its effects would be. 

Q: Is vomiting always a sign of poisoning in dogs?

A: As much as vomiting is one of the tell-tale signs of poisoning, it’s also possible that your dog only has an irritated stomach. Still, it pays to be vigilant and proactive when your dog starts to vomit. If your dog vomits more than three times in a day, you must take it to the vet right away. 

Q: What should I do about salt poisoning in dogs?

A: Take note that excess salt can poison your dog too. If your pooch happened to ingest too much salt, the vet will put your dog in an IV drip to flush out the excess. Also, it’s important to monitor the dog’s electrolyte level to prevent brain swelling.

Q: What are home remedies for dog poisoning? 

A: There’s no specific home remedy for dog poisoning. You must take your dog to the vet as soon as possible to prevent the toxins from spreading in the pooch’s body. You can follow our tips above to save your dog from further harm. 

Final words 

So what to do if your dog has been poisoned? Above, we discussed some of the useful tips you should know whenever your dog ingests or gets exposed to toxins. The most important thing here is that you keep a straight head so you can rush your dog to the vet.

Also, don’t medicate your dog with home remedies. Poisoning is a serious condition that should be dealt with properly. 

Has your dog been poisoned before? What did you do to prevent the situation from escalating? Share some tips with us in the comment section below!