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Poisoning in dogs (types, tips & symptoms)

Poisoning in dogs is an extensive topic because of the many different toxins and their effects. Today we'll show you what your dog can get poisoned with, common symptoms, and what to do in an emergency. In addition, we have for this article Advice from veterinarian Emin Jasarevic obtained. Note: This article is written for the german country.

dog poisoning
Table of Contents

Remember: If possible, existing poison samples, vomit or settled feces should be taken to the veterinarian. This will allow the doctor to identify the poison and treat it properly.

Where can my dog get poisoned?

What can my dog get poisoned with and where can it happen? Here you can find out which things in your household and outdoors are toxic for your pet.

Make sure he doesn't get the poisons to snap.

At home:

  • Medications (Some are more toxic and some less, generally speaking, but all medications should be kept out of your dog's reach!)
  • Drugs
  • Household chemicals (cleaning agents, detergents, solvents, paints, etc.)
  • Cigarettes, cigarette butts, tobacco, tobacco products
  • Nicotine acts as a neurotoxin!
  • Especially in puppies, nicotine can lead to circulatory collapse.
  • Poisonous plants, poisonous houseplants
  • Antifreeze
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Salt
  • Stone fruit
  • raw pork
  • raw potatoes
  • Onions
  • Grapes

In the garden:

when going for a walk:

  • also here poison bait, rat poison or slug pellets
  • Fertilizers, blue grain, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, pesticides - often particularly highly concentrated in puddles at the edge of the field
  • Poisonous plants
  • Carrion
  • poisoned mice, rats, moles, shrews, grasshoppers, insects, etc.
  • Waste for which the composition is unknown
  • If your dog has severe swelling and blue-black skin discoloration after a walk, it could be a snake bite.
  • Some dogs ingest the feces of other animals, this feces can be highly dangerous for the dog if the feces are contaminated with pharmaceuticals or even pathogens.
  • When walking, insects such as hornets and wasps can become a danger because the proteins contained in their venom can cause anaphylactic shock.

Emergency first aid

If your four-legged friend has really poisoned himself, the most important thing is to remain calm. Panic is no help, because a cool head and thoughtful action are now required.

Try to have a calming effect on your furry nose and on all other people.

If your pet is unconscious, place him in the recovery position and keep checking his pulse and breathing.

Has your protégé fainted or vomited? Then make sure his airways are clear.

In no case you may use a muzzle or a muzzle in case of poisoning! If your pet vomits now, there is a risk of suffocation.

Likewise, you should not force vomiting in any case, this will probably worsen the condition and in addition valuable time will be lost.

In the event of poisoning, a veterinarian must always be consulted immediately. He knows what to do and will arrange everything else.

Helpful articles on the subject of poisoning

Not only should you know the individual types of poison. Because knowledge about toxic and harmful foods are also important. Here are more articles on this topic.

Symptoms From poisoning

To recognize poisoning as soon as possible, you should know the possible symptoms. 

Here is a list of the symptoms of poisoning. They are very diverse and can occur to varying degrees in individual cases.

  • Unrest
  • vomiting, the vomit, with possibly foamy consistency
  • Diarrhea
  • irregular heartbeat, therefore monitor the heartbeat by taking the pulse
  • pale gums
  • unusual pupil size, either strongly constricted or also dilated
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in stool
  • Cramps
  • constant or recurrent cat hump or prayer position as the most severe abdominal pain symptoms
  • Muscle tremor
  • Paralysis symptoms
  • decreasing body temperature, monitor temperature!
  • Apathy
  • Unconsciousness

What helps in an emergency?

If you have observed poison ingestion, you can use charcoal tablets made from medicinal charcoal as a remedy.

The activated charcoal binds the toxins in the gastrointestinal tract so that the toxins cannot enter the bloodstream.

Thereby applies: The faster the activated charcoal comes into contact with the poison in the stomach and intestinal tract, the higher the effectiveness.

What are charcoal tablets?

Charcoal tablets consist of medicinal charcoal obtained from plant parts such as wood, peat or coconut shells. The plant parts are charred in such a way that only the skeletal structure with the plant cells is left at the end.

This activated carbon is highly porous like a sponge, thus the fabric has a surface area of up to 300 m² per gram. The total surface area of four grams of activated carbon is thus about the size of a soccer field.

Due to this structure, activated carbon is able to bind chemical substances such as toxins to itself and thus render them harmless to the body. Once the toxic substances are bound to the charcoal, they are excreted with the feces through the intestines. The feces are black in color. This is due to the color of the charcoal and is completely harmless.

Therefore, every dog owner should have an emergency ration of charcoal tablets for his protégé at home!

Keep your dog warm...

Please note that due to the onset of toxins, the circulation can be very weakened and the body temperature will drop. Therefore, you should cover your four-legged friend and keep him warm until you arrive at the vet.

Pad the area around your pet with a blanket or pillow. This will prevent him from hurting himself during seizures.

Check with your vet before you head out to make sure the practice or clinic is open.

If possible, look for a helper. Especially with large four-legged friends, help will be needed.

Important Tip:

To be prepared as well as possible and to act quickly. Poisoning in dogs is not an easy subject and must be taken seriously. This is a first guide, but the veterinarian should always be your first port of call.

In any case, for safety and first aid, we recommend that you always have a pack of charcoal tablets at home.

This is what the vet should know

To save valuable time, help the vet by telling him what he needs to know:

  • What poison did the dog eat?
  • Is there a sample of the poison?
  • When did your dog eat the poison?
  • What behavioral problems and symptoms could you observe?
  • How much poison did the dog eat?

If possible, bring the doctor some of the poison your charge ate. Preferably with the packaging and ingredients.

If your pet has already vomited or defecated, take a sample of that as well.

The faster the doctor has all the necessary information, the faster and more targeted your furry nose can be helped.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are very many different symptoms that a poisoned dog can have. They range from Vomiting, Trembling and Diarrhea until unconsciousness. Read our article carefully to learn all the possible symptoms.

First, you need to keep a calm head. Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. You can give him a Activated charcoal tablet administer, if possible, take the poison, stool or vomit from your dog to the vet.

At the top of the article you will find a list of poisons for your dog. Try to keep these things out of your dog's reach at all times. Also, you can try to ban some poisons from your household altogether.

There are many different things in your household or outdoors that your dog can get poisoned by. Obvious poisons like chemical cleaners are among them, but so are more unexpected ones like onions. You can find a list of these poisons at the top of our article.

It all depends on the poison, the dose and your dog. Not every poisoning is fatal, but it is always an emergency. The chances for your protégé are higher, the faster he is treated by a veterinarian.

Recommendation from the vet

Poisoning is one of the most dangerous emergencies for your four-legged friend. That is exactly why it is so important for us to prepare you for these cases.

(Of course, a guidebook is a good source of information on this subject, but you should always consult your trusted veterinarian in case of emergency or doubt).

Here, little by little, come our comprehensive guides to problematic poisons for dogs and what you should know about them. 

Veterinarian Emin Jasarevic
Veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion, and it is my personal goal to create medically accurate articles and videos to educate pet owners as much as possible.

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