Poisoning in Dogs – Symptoms, First Aid, Treatment

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Poisoning in Dogs


Symptoms of intoxication in dogs may vary depending on the type of poison the dog ingested. Very common symptoms include vomiting, excessive drooling, foaming at the mouth, irregular heartbeat, convulsion, seizure, and labored breathing. Some type of poisons, such as rat poison, cause bleeding, bruising, and blood in the dog’s stool.

First aid

The safest treatment you can do at home is to give activated charcoal pills to prevent the absorption of the ingested toxins. However, not all toxins can be neutralized with activated charcoal, and some studies shows that activated charcoal is not effective against poisoning. So far this method is the safest because it has minimum side effects. Administering activated charcoal should be done only if the dog is conscious, and to maximize its effectiveness it should be administered as soon as possible after digesting the toxin.

If you don’t see what toxin your dog ingested, we can’t be sure how much of or what type of poison is ingested, or determine how long it will take to take effect, or how severe the symptoms will be. Some toxins may only cause digestive problems for a few days, while other types of toxins can cause death within a few hours if left untreated. If you suspect your dog is poisoned, please see your veterinarian immediately. Every minute counts. If you find the toxin/substance that your dog ingested, please bring this to the veterinarian, along with vomit samples if there’s any. These provide very helpful information that can save time for the vets to aid in a quick diagnosis and treatment plan.

The main goal of treatment is to neutralize the toxins in your dog’s body. This could be done by administering an antidote when possible. The most common way (also the fastest one) to clear the toxins is to flush it away from your dog’s body with IV fluid. Your veterinarian can put an IV drip on a high rate (yet still safe) to flush the toxins away.

A common perception to neutralize the toxin is to induce vomiting by administering hydrogen peroxide orally. While this method should be done ONLY under your vet’s advise, please keep in mind that:

  1. Hydrogen peroxide burns mucous membrane and can damage digestive tract if given in an excessive amount. The only safe and recommended concentration to induce vomiting is 3%. The recommended dose is 5 cc per 10 pounds body weight.
  2. If the dog is unconscious, fluid administered by an untrained person may accidentally enter the airway and cause aspiration pneumonia. The same case might happen if the unconscious dog inhales its own vomit.
  3. If your dog has ingested the toxin for over 2 hours, it’s very likely that the substance has entered the small intestine so vomiting will not clear the toxin from the stomach.
  4. There are much more effective injectable drugs to induce vomiting that your veterinarian can administer. Again, time is valuable and the best thing to do when your dog is poisoned is to call your veterinarian.
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