Dog Poisoning

Posted by Eddie Salama on

Dog poisoning is one of the biggest fears of a dog parent. That is why it is important for us, dog parents, to always make sure the safety of the foods that we serve to our buddies.

However, our dogs doesn’t always remain at our sides. They visit the neighbors, have fun outside our homes and mingle with other dogs. Through interaction with the environment, they may consume something unfavorable. A poisonous substance is an example.  That is also why we should always be on the look for our buddies. They’re safety is our responsibility.


dog poisoning


As dog parents, we don’t need to be anxious every time. What’s important is to be knowledgeable on these things. And to achieve that, let’s look at these symptoms of dog poisoning from love to know:

1.    Loss of Appetite

A change in a dog's eating habits is usually the first signal for many illnesses. Your dog may not be interested in eating his regular kibble or even his favorite snack. If your dog skips one meal and is not showing other symptoms, this is generally not a cause for concern. If your dog skips multiple meals and/or has other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

2.    Drooling

Drooling is typically a sign of nausea. You may notice your dog drooling excessively if he is experiencing poisoning. Following the excessive drooling, your dog may begin foaming at the mouth.

3.    Vomiting

This can occur with or without the presence of blood since some toxins such as the rat poison Warfarin produce internal bleeding. If your dog does vomit, be sure to take a sample to give your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may be able to determine what your dog ingested with the sample you bring into the office.

Many pet parents feel if their dog hasn't vomited the poison, they should induce vomiting immediately. This is not correct. You should never induce vomiting without your veterinarian's approval. Inducing vomiting can result in more harm to your dog depending on what is poisoning him.

4.    Diarrhea

This can occur with or without bleeding as sometimes the bleeding is internal. You may notice the stool is black, green or yellow. The diarrhea is often caused by an excess amount of water attempting to flush out the toxins.

5.    Rash or irritation at the Contact Site

This typically occurs when a toxin has entered the bloodstream via the skin. For example, if your dog has been in contact with poison ivy, he may develop a rash where his body touched the plant. You may notice:

  • Red, irritated skin
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Swelling in the rash
  • Continuous itching

6.    Lethargy

Lethargic behavior can be due to the general ill-effects of the toxin, but it might also be a sign that the toxin is affecting the heart muscle. If your dog is feeling lethargic, he may not feel like going for his daily walk or even getting up. You will notice an extreme lack of energy. If this continues for over 24 hours, without other symptoms, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog appears to be lethargic and the lethargy is accompanied by vomiting and/or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately.

7.    Loss of Coordination

This symptom is typically an indication that the brain has been affected by an ingested toxin. Your dog may bump into objects around the home, fall down or have a hard time walking. Essentially, he will appear dizzy if he has lost his sense of coordination. Xylitol (found in peanut butter), for example, can cause lack of coordination within 10 minutes after ingestion.

8.    Tremors or Seizures

Tremors or seizures can be further sign of the brain's involvement with the toxin. During a seizure, your dog may:

  • Lose all consciousness
  • Convulse
  • Urinate involuntarily
  • Defecate involuntarily
  • Drool excessively

9.    Labored Breathing

Slowed heart function can cause a buildup of fluid in the lungs that leads to breathing difficulty. If your dog is experiencing labored breathing, he will not be able to get a full breath in. If your dog has labored breathing, you will notice:

  • The chest cavity moving more than normal
  • Flared nostrils
  • Extended head and neck
  • Loud breaths

10. Sensitivity to Light

Some poisons can make a dog photosensitive. Your dog will search for a dark area to rest if she is experiencing sensitivity to light. Poisons which affect the nervous system may cause a sensitivity to light. In addition to being sensitive to light, she may be sensitive to touch and sound as well.

11. Onset of Organ Failure

Kidneys, liver, heart and other organs may begin to shut down as the toxin takes full effect.

12. Loss of Consciousness

This is a fairly severe sign. Your dog will not respond to you if she loses consciousness. If you notice she loses consciousness:

  • Put your hands over her heart and ensure you feel a heartbeat (do this with nonresponsive behavior and coma also)
  • Take a video to show your veterinarian
  • Contact your veterinarian immediately

13. Nonresponsive Behavior

The dog may remain conscious, yet not appear to see or hear anything going on around him. She may not know who or where you are. This stage is also known as 'stupor.' This can be extremely scary but try your best to remain calm. Your dog will need your comfort throughout this difficult time.

14. Coma

This is a most serious sign that could signal death is imminent. If your dog is comatose, he will appear as if he is sleeping but will not wake up. Do not give up if your dog is at this point. The veterinarian may still be able to help even if your dog has reached the coma state (of course we don't want it to get this far, though). The veterinarian will run multiple tests to determine the best method to help your dog.

15. Death

Death is the final stage of poisoning. If you do not contact a veterinarian immediately, your dog may wind up dying. This is why it is so important to gather as much information as possible regarding your dog's symptoms, gather a stool/vomit sample and determine what he may have been into.


dog poisoning


If something familiar happens to your dog, it is important to take actions immediately. Here are 5 steps to remember on treating a poisoned dog from Canine Journal:

1. Do Not Panic

It is easy to panic when a loved one is in trouble, but this is the time when you need to take charge of the situation and act with purpose and speed.

2. Dog Poison Symptoms

Is your dog acting lethargic, or more hyper than normal? Are there signs that he got into something he shouldn’t have that might be toxic? Then you need to start by figuring out exactly what your pet’s poison is and how much was consumed. If it’s food related, you may have a little more time to act and treat than you would with chemical poisons. But, do not assume this. Take notes of what the poison is and your pet’s symptoms so you do not forget once you are in panic mode and talking to someone who can help. You may even want to take a quick video with your smartphone of strange behavior.

3.  Call the Vet

If you have a pet, you should always have your vet’s phone number programmed into your cell phone and in a place in the home where you can always find it. This way it is easy to find when you need it most. It’s also a good idea to have the contact details for the 24/7 emergency vet that is closest to your home in case something goes wrong on the weekend or late at night.

So, since you know right where the number is, do not delay. Call your vet right away to explain the situation and ask advice for next steps. If they are closed, call the emergency vet. Be sure to have your notes in hand and be prepared to jump in the car to head for help immediately.

4. Pet Poison Hotline

If you cannot reach a local vet, you can call the Pet Poison Helpline. They can be reached at 855-213-6680.

5. Do Not Search for Answers on the Internet

If you are reading this, it is probably too late to warn you against this but remember, that you need to act quickly. A local vet or poison expert is better suited to do this than your computer. And, they can help you treat your specific situation while keeping you focused on your dog versus all the random horror stories you will find online. So, step away from the computer right now and CALL THE VET. Do not administer home treatment unless directed by a professional as you may cause more pain than assistance


dog poisoning


We are held accountable for the safety of our dogs. Hence, we must know them as much as we know ourselves. In that way, we can be more confident on raising them.  

If we become more responsible dog parents we can make a world that is more animal-friendly and reliable. Cheers to progress!

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