How to Spot (and Avoid) Poisoning in Dogs
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, there were over 199,000 calls about pet poisoning in 2017. Many of these were caused by common household items. The top three sources – human prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and human food products – may seem harmless to you, but they can be life-threatening to pets.
Because an accident can occur under the watch of even the most diligent owner, it’s important to learn about poisoning in dogs. The experts at Blue Valley Animal Hospital are here to help.
Signs of Poisoning in Dogs
The signs of poisoning in dogs vary tremendously. They can also be delayed for several hours or even days. Some of the most common signs are:
- Weakness or lethargy
- Pale gums
- Racing heart rate
Poisons From A – Z
It’s amazing (and somewhat alarming) to know just how many substances are toxic to dogs. Blue Valley Animal Hospital can help you identify some of the most common culprits. If you have any questions, please give us a call or call the Pet Poison Control Center.
Medications – Both human and animal medications can be toxic to dogs. Prescription medications for people can cause kidney failure, heart failure, seizures, and other problems. Common over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, top the list of things that can cause poisoning in dogs. Keep all medications safely out of reach, and store all medications (pet and human) in separate spots to avoid confusion.
Food products – Many foods we think are delicious are also attractive to dogs! Chocolate, onions and garlic, grapes, alcohol, and products that contain xylitol (an artificial sweetener) are particularly harmful. Table scraps and fatty foods can also make your dog sick, leading to GI problems or even pancreatitis. In general, it’s best to keep human foods out of your pet’s diet.
Household cleaners and products – Just as with people, the chemicals in things like bleach, pool additives, and antifreeze can be harmful to pets if ingested. Stomach upset, depression, chemical burns, foaming at the mouth, and kidney failure could all result.
Veterinary products – While flavored and/or chewable veterinary medications can be great, they also increase the chances of your dog eating the entire bottle (or package). Make sure these items remain well out of your pet’s reach.
Plants – Although beautiful in our homes and gardens, certain plants can cause poisoning in dogs. Azaleas, rhododendrons, oleander, sago palms, and tulip and daffodil bulbs can all cause serious problems. Check which plants are poisonous before adding anything new to your home or yard.
Insecticides and rodenticides – Products used to kill pests can also be very harmful to our dogs if ingested. Always read the package, and keep products safely stored out of reach. Remember, your dog may not display any signs of rodenticide poisoning until several days after ingestion. Eating a dead rodent can also result in poisoning if the creature ingested any product beforehand.
Gardening products – Always store fertilizers and other garden chemicals away from pets. Cocoa mulch, bone and blood meal, and lawn treatments can all be harmful. If you treat your lawn, make sure your dog doesn’t walk on the treated areas until the recommended amount of time has passed.
Poisoning in Dogs: What to Do
If you suspect your dog has eaten a poisonous substance, don’t hesitate to act. Stay calm, but act quickly.
- Gather any leftovers of the poisonous substance, including packaging. This can help veterinarians and staff determine what and how much your dog ate.
- Immediately call us or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for guidance. Poisons can be fast-acting, so you should be, as well.
- Bring your pet in for evaluation. If we’re closed, go to the nearest emergency clinic.
With a little knowledge and preparation, it’s possible to prevent poisoning in dogs. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always here for you and your pet!