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How to Know If Your Dog is Poisoned? Everything You Need to Know

No matter how clean you keep your surroundings, your dog is surrounded by potential toxins. However, by knowing what to look for, you may be able to save your dog from the effect of poisoning. So, it is recommended to understand the best possible signs your dog could show if he is poisoned.

What are the Signs that Indicate Your Dog is Poisoned?

Drooling or Foaming at the Mouth

Most dogs will experience mouth irritation after eating or chewing on something harmful, especially after tasting a toxic chemical or dog chewing on a poisonous plant. If you notice any signs of drooling or foaming from your dog’s mouth, try to identify what he was chewing on or eating; remove it from your dog’s space and keep it in case a sample is needed. Then, contact your vet for advice about the next steps.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Many toxins cause gastrointestinal irritation, leading to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. As a result, dogs may first lose their appetites before developing other signs. In some cases, you may notice blood in the vomit or stool.

Usually, vomiting is the first sign of antifreeze poisoning, drug ingestion, toxic food ingestion, and poisonous plant ingestion. If your dog suddenly begins to vomit, it should not be ignored. Look for traces of toxin ingestion and contact your vet.

Lethargy

Toxins can adversely affect a dog’s organs and body functions, causing sickness and uncomfortable feelings. Many dogs become tired and lethargic when they feel unwell. In addition, some toxins, like rat poison, can cause internal bleeding. This blood loss may lead to lethargy.

Seizures and Muscle Tremors/Spasms

Many toxins may affect the nervous system and/or muscles leading to seizures, tremors, or involuntary muscle spasms. Prescription medications and toxic plants often cause this problem. If your dog starts to tremble or twitch involuntarily, we suggest you capture a video of the signs and look around to see if you can find toxic substances. A seizure is not typical unless your dog is undergoing epilepsy. Be sure to contact your veterinarian at the first sign of muscle seizures, spasms, or tremors. Many toxins can work quickly, leading to death or severe illness.

Collapse

Certain toxins act quickly and make a dog collapse before other signs show up. This is usually common with prescription medications, illicit substances, and chemicals, but plant ingestion and snake bites can also be the reasons. If your dog suddenly collapses or falls unconscious, this is an emergency. Take your dog to the nearest open veterinary clinic without any delay.

Difficulty in Breathing

Toxins that affect a dog’s respiratory system may cause wheezing, labored breathing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and slowed breathing. You may also notice the gums turn blue. If you find your dog having trouble breathing of any kind, it should be considered an emergency. But, first, get your dog to the nearest open vet.

Abnormal Body Temperature

You may notice your dog’s temperature rise or fall as a toxin takes effect in his body. Low body temperature, i.e., below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, is called hypothermia. Fever and high body temperature (over 103 degrees Fahrenheit) result in hyperthermia. You should never forget to check the temperature if you suspect your dog is too cold or hot (rectally, if possible). Then, contact your vet if it is abnormal.

Burns or Sores

Acidic(caustic) substances can cause burns or sores on the skin and inside the mouth. In addition, many harmful chemicals can irritate the skin and oral cavity if your dog comes in contact with them. Certain plants can also injure or irritate the skin, especially when consumed. Rinsing the affected area can minimize irritation, but it is still necessary to contact your vet for further advice.

Pale, Blue, or Yellow Gums

Some toxins affect a dog’s body in ways that you can notice in the mucous membranes like gums, tongue, eyelids, and oral cavity. For instance, ingestion of onions can cause anemia and pale gums. Blood loss due to rat poison and other toxins that cause bleeding will also turn gums pale. Certain toxic plants and prescribed medications that affect the liver can cause gums to look yellowish, leading to jaundice. Toxins that affect a dog’s cardiovascular or respiratory systems can lead to blue-colored gums.

Swelling

A dog’s face and/or limbs may swell after toxin exposure which is most common after a dog is stung by an insect or bitten by a snake. If you observe swelling in an area of your dog’s body, it could mean trouble. Contact your veterinarian for further advice. A photo or video may be helpful if it seems complicated to describe.

Increased Thirst

If you see your dog walking towards its water bowl too often, this can also be a sign of dog poisoning. Your dog might drink water quite often with fewer intervals rather than regular sips.

Behavior Changes

Your dog may turn very excited or hyperactive after ingesting a toxin. This often occurs after a dog eats stimulants like chocolate, caffeine, or medication. Conversely, your dog can also become depressed or even minimally responsive, especially if he ingested a sedative or alcohol. Any extreme behavior change deserves a vet visit.

Long-Term Effects of Dog Poisoning

If your dog doesn’t show up with symptoms after swallowing toxins, it doesn’t mean that he is least affected by them. Some of the long-term signs that affect your pet after toxic consumption are: 

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart Problems
  • Liver damage
  •  Loss of blood
  • Kidney failure
  • Neurological disorders such as tremors and seizures, as mentioned above.

What are the Common Household Things Toxic to Dogs?

Your home and garden are filled with tons of potentially toxic or poisonous items to your dog. That’s why it’s essential to know where your dog is at all times and to keep potentially harmful substances out of his reach.

Some of the most common household things that are poisonous to dogs are:

ChocolateLily
OnionIbuprofenWild mushroom
GarlicCarbon monoxideCrocus 
Marijuana Anti inflammatory drugsRhododendron
Antifreeze and ice-melt productsCigarDaffodil
Raw yeast doughGlueAloe vera
PotpourriHousehold cleanersAzalea
Blue cheeseBatteriesOleander
Moldy foodsFlea and tick productsPaint and linoleumAmaryllis bulbs
Spring bulbsRodenticidesAsparagus
Macadamia nutsFertilizersTulip
Xylitol (low-calorie sweetener)Isoniazid, a tuberculosis drugFoxglove
Raisins and grapesSnail, slug, or rodent poisonsHemlock
TobaccoAntidepressantsHyacinth
AlcoholFurniture polishSweet pea
ParacetomolGasolineUmbrella plant
Psoriasis creamDrain cleanersAcorns
Sugar/ Sweets (large amounts)Oven cleanerSago palms
Waterproofing spraysBleachYew trees
White spiritLaundry detergentFungi

How is Dog Poisoning Treated?

Your veterinarian will assess your dog’s condition before deciding on the path for treatment. Their priority will be to stabilize your dog before carrying out any diagnostic tests or procedures.

The 3 categories of swallowing dangers are:

  • Poisons – chocolate, human drugs, and raisins
  • Toxic and caustic substances – bleach
  • Foreign bodies – toys, bones, and sticks

Treatment for your dog can be diverse, ranging from endoscopy and removal, inducing sickness, or severe cases, surgery. There are also antidotes for some poisons, like adder venom, some rat poisons, and antifreeze, but not all. Your vet will treat your dog’s symptoms to ensure their organs aren’t severely affected in most cases.

How to Prevent Dog Poisoning?

Here are a few steps to prevent your dog from being poisoned. Though basic, these preventive methods can help your dog from facing accidents.

  • Keep toxic substances out of your dog’s reach.
  • Purchase pet-friendly lawn products.
  • Use dog-safe cleaners.
  • Allow your dog on the lead in unfamiliar areas to prevent him from eating poisonous plants.
  • Ensure you trash the wastes in dog-proof trash cans with locking lids.
  • Do not feed your dog with foods that are seasoned, oily, and contain toxic ingredients.

Pro tips

  • Contact your vet immediately if you suspect that your pet has been poisoned. Visit the nearest vet or contact the ASPCA Poison Control: (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline: (800) 213-6680 to avoid risking your pet’s life. 
  • Do not provide your dog with any first aid pills, medicines, or other home remedies, as each poisonous substance reacts differently to the treatment you give, and it can be lethal to your pet. Visit the vet or the nearest vet center immediately.
  • Provide the following details to the vet for quick treatment and medication:
    • Toxic substance consumed
    • Time of exposure
    • Quantity of the toxic substance ingested.
    • Sample of the ingested toxin.
    • Symptoms shown by your pet.
    • Video footage of your pet’s reaction to the toxic substance
  • Being aware of your dog’s weight, medical history, medications, and supplements he receives can assist the vet in subsiding the toxicity fastly.
  • Never induce vomiting, as certain toxins can leave deadly effects on your pets by doing so.

How to Know If Your Dog is Poisoned? Videos

Top Signs Your Dog Is Poisoned | Poisoning Symptoms In Dogs

Has My Dog Been Poisoned? (top poisoning symptoms in dogs)

Steps To Take When Your Dog is Poisoned | Treat a Dog That Has Been Poisoned

POISONED PETS!! ☠ 🐾 | Compilation | Bondi Vet

Final Thoughts

If your dog has been poisoned, do not panic. Instead, stay calm and call your vet immediately.

Ensure to get your dog away from the toxic substance. If your dog got into it once, he might head right back to it while you are busy with some other work. So, you should safely move the substance well out of his reach.

Don’t try to administer doggie first aid. Different toxic substances require different actions. For example, while some cases may call for inducing vomiting, in other instances inducing vomiting could make your dog even sicker. Instead, get your dog to the vet as quickly as possible and let your veterinary experts administer appropriate treatment.

Bring a sample of the poison safely to your vet’s office if you know what has poisoned your furry friend. The sample will help your vet to get a complete understanding of the situation and how best to treat your dog.

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