What To Do If Your Pet Is Poisoned

Pet Poisoning

Unfortunately many pets experience poisoning or toxicity every year. Most cases are accidental because dogs will put almost anything in their mouth. Many household substances, pesticides, medications, foods and plants are toxic to pets. Toxins can affect many body systems including gastrointestinal damage, internal bleeding, liver damage, kidney damage, neurologic damage, and even death.

Here are just some of the common pet poisons:

  • Human medications including tylenol, ibuprofen, and many others
  • Human foods including chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, grapes/raisins, alcohol, and many others
  • Gums and other foods containing the artificial sweetener xylitol
  • Rat poison
  • Household substances including bleach, antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaner, and many others
  • Yard treatment including pesticides and fertilizers
  • Houseplants and yard plants including sago palm, lilies, poinsettia, oleander, and many others
  • For a complete list of all possible poisons, visit Pet Poison Helpline

Here are some symptoms to watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Inappetence
  • Nausea
  • Coughing of blood
  • Vomiting blood
  • Pale gums
  • A racing heart rate
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Absence or decreased urination
  • Jaundice/icterus/yellow discoloration to the gums
  • Black-tarry stool

What do do if your pet may be poisoned:

Call us immediately! Different toxins require different treatment and it is important that you speak with a veterinarian for the proper advice. Sometimes depending on the toxin it is appropriate to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. You should keep unexpired hydrogen peroxide on hand for this reason. Never administer hydrogen peroxide without consulting a veterinarian first because some toxins are actually made worse by this. The Pet Poison Helpline also has a 24/7 veterinarian on call to speak with. Your pet will need to be seen by a veterinarian for treatment so call us immediately. Poisoning that occurs after hours will need to be seen by an emergency pet center. When possible identify the poison that your pet ingested and bring the container to us when you bring in your pet so we can confirm the active ingredients.

Prevention is key!

It is best to do everything you can to prevent poisoning. Never administer any medications or food to your pet without consulting us first! Treat your pets like a young inquisitive child and pet proof your house. Make sure all dangerous substances are stored in secured cabinets or closets, out of reach of paws and noses. Crate train your dog for when you are out of the house. Keep medications stored away from your pet’s reach. Investigate the plants in your house and yard to make sure they are safe for pets.

We want your pets to stay happy and healthy!
Call us if you have any questions 830-438-7800
Megan Hughes, DVM