What Should I Do If My Dog Gets Into Poison?

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All dog owners should know what kinds of substances are poisonous to dogs. Some are obvious, like chemicals that are dangerous to humans as well, but some are not, such as walnuts or garlic. While keeping dangerous items and garbage out of reach can help you avoid a bad situation, sometimes it’s unavoidable and your dog will get into a harmful substance anyway. Think about the rat poison in the corner you think they’ll never find.

It’s important to know what steps should be taken after realizing your dog has been poisoned. Whether that means finding empty chocolate wrappers or your dog actually showing physical signs of illness, the most crucial step is acting quickly.

Acting quickly could save your dog’s life and will keep him/her healthier in the long run. Watch for lethargy, poor appetite, trouble breathing, and more serious signs like seizures or collapsing. Immediately after realizing your dog may have been poisoned you want to begin the following steps:

1.    Identify the poison. If you can, you want to know if the poison was eaten, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin and if it was a plant, harmful food or chemical. You should also attempt to determine how much was taken in. Do not wait for your dog to start showing physical signs of poisoning, as this could be too late. Let the veterinary medical professional know everything you can so they can assist you in the best way.

2.    Sometimes getting to vet just isn’t possible, for a litany of reasons.  You might not be able to get ahold of them in time. One of the ways you can help is to induce vomiting. Hydrogen Peroxide is a good way to induce vomiting, be sure to follow the instructions for the amount and frequency of hydrogen peroxide doses.
**Be very careful with inducing vomiting in your dog. Sometimes, vomiting causes very severe consequences. Always follow the instructions given to you by a veterinary professional.

3.    Even if your dog is acting normal, call for veterinary medical advice as soon as possible. Best case, call your family veterinarian but if the poisoning occurs after normal hours, call a nearby emergency veterinary clinic. Always talk with a medical professional before trying any at home or store bought treatments.

4.    Listen to the veterinarian. They know how poisons work and which are more serious than others. You might be advised to rush the dog to the nearest open veterinary clinic, induce vomiting at home, bathe the dog (if absorbed through skin), or call animal poison control.

Make sure you keep your dog’s medical records and other important items in a safe place and know where they are so you can grab them in hurry. Some signs of toxicity may not show up for hours or even days, so it’s important to be aware of what you dog can get into.

Keep these numbers handy too, just in case:
ASPCA Poison Control: (888) 426-4435
Pet Poison Hotline: (800) 213-6690