Pet Poison Help Line 24/7 (800-213-6680)
Dogs can suffer from poisoning for many reasons – some foods are toxic to dogs, if you do not know what foods can harm your dog you may end-up accidentally poisoning your dog. Some times dogs are accidentally exposed to chemicals (i.e. household cleaning products), or toxins such as anti-freeze. Dogs can suffer poisoning from snake bites, ingesting poisonous plants or rodent poison, eating grass that fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides have been applied to, ingesting and/or surface contact with road salt (de-icer), surfaces treated with chemical-based household cleaners, etc. Some dogs are intentionally poisoned by unhappy neighbors.
Dogs can inhale or ingest a poisonous substance. For example a dog may absorb poison by inhaling tiny air-borne particles. Toxins may enter there blood stream via surface contact with the pads of their paws. They may directly ingest a toxic substance or may inadvertently ingest it by brushing against/walking or lying on a toxic substance and then licking/grooming themselves.
It is always better to be pro-active, accidents happen, and so too, intentional cruelty by others – by familiarizing yourself with the symptoms and treatments of poisoning you can save your dog’s life.
Symptoms of Poisoning
Absorbed, ingested and/or absorbed poisonous/toxic substances can cause a wide range of reactions such as…
- Breathing difficulty;
- Bleeding disorders;
- Bleeding from various parts of the body;
- Chemical burns;
- Elevated temperature;
- Hallucination resulting in over-reaction to sound or light;
- Heart and organ failure;
- Kidney or liver problems;
- Loss of appetite;
- Loss of balance – staggering;
- Mouth irritation;
- Muscle tremor and rigidity;
- Skin rash;
- Swelling of the tongue;
Some toxic substances result in immediate signs of poisoning,typically signs of poisoning are apparent within 3 days after contact with the substance. However, some poisons/toxins can be insidious – toxic load may take weeks, months or years to build-up before symptoms surface.
The earlier you notice symptoms and the quicker your dog receives treatment the lesser the chance of permanent damage or death. But there are some poisons for which there is no cure.
Treatments to Mitigate the Affects of Poisoning
The following provides a list of some of the interventions that your veterinarian may ask you to do, they may also request that you bring your dog in ASAP.
To induce vomiting, give your pet 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (1 tablespoon per 15 pounds of the dog’s body weight) with an eye dropper, syringe, or turkey baster by dribbling the liquid onto the back of his tongue or into his cheek pocket until swallowed. Collect any vomit and take it, along with the poison container or other substance that you think you dog may have ingested and take it to the veterinarian
To dilute caustic poisons such as pine oils, detergents, bleaches, and swimming pool chemicals, feed your dog large quantities of water, milk, or egg whites. Activated charcoal (or even burned toast) may be recommended to absorb insect repellents like DEET.
To remove absorbed poisons…absorbed poisons are substances that get on your pet’s paws and coat and are absorbed through the skin. Road salt is one of the most common of such substances and can cause serious and lethal damage over time. Remember your dog walks, on lies on and licks the floor – don’t use chemical based cleaners to clean floors, other horizontal or vertical surfaces that your dog comes into contact with. Absorbed poisoning can happen through ingestion when the animal grooms himself. For oil-based toxins (petroleum products) use a gentle dish washing liquid like ‘Dawn’. Dust or vacuum powdery poisons away because water can activate certain toxins. If the poison is in your dog’s eye, carefully flush the eye with water or a sterile saline solution. To remove toxins from a dog’s paws you can use the following Foot Soak Recipe…
Warm Water and Iodine – Foot Soak Recipe, To Remove Toxins
Iodine is non-toxic for dogs (but should not be ingested, just used topically) and is anti-fugal and anti-viral. To remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from the surface of your dog’s paws – this soak can also be used to reduce itchy, inflamed, and other wise irritated paws…
- Fill the container you are using with warm water;
- Add enough iodine to make the water turn the colour of ice tea;
- Have your dog stand in or otherwise keep their paw in the the water/iodine solution for 30 seconds
- Then pat your dog’s paws dry.
‘Inhaled poisons’ include aerosol sprays, carbon monoxide, gases, and other fumes inhaled by your pet that you may not consider poison to dogs because you use them safely on a regular basis. Quickly get your dog into fresh air and administer Rescue Breathing if necessary.
For snakebites, carry your dog if at all possible, to prevent increased circulation of venom throughout his body via walking. Get him to an animal emergency centre ASAP.
For insect bites
- If your dog’s nose or face is swelling, or multiple stings have been experienced you can administer 1 mg of Diphenhydramine (i.e. Benadryl), an antihistamine, per pound of your dog’s body weight;
- Rather than use a chemical-based antihistamine (i.e. Benedryl) you can use nature’s antihistime – Quercetin;
- For calming pain and inflammation due to a bite there are many natural options, for topical treatments – for example..:
- For calming the irritation resulting from insect bites, to speed healing and prevent infection;
- Applying a cold pack to the bite can alleviate swelling:
- Immediately seek professional medical help if you detect breathing problems.
If You Think Your Dog Is Suffering From Poisoning
(food, chemicals, insect/snake bites)
If you think your dog is suffering from symptoms related to poisoning from food, plants or chemicals call your veterinarian or contact a pet poison control centre right away.
Pet Poison Help Line 24/7 (800-213-6680).
The Pet Poison Help Line is run by the ASPCA.
Please note that there are errors on the ASPCA’s list of dangerous and poisonous items. For example – aloe vera juice, fresh lemon, select dairy products, garlic, chamomile, other specific herbs and herbal teas such as decaffeinated green tea and rooibos tea are actually not poisonous for your dog. You can read my articles on those items to learn more.