How To Know If Your Dog Is Poisoned – Our beloved pets can get into all kinds of trouble. While we don’t want to think about them eating things they shouldn’t, accidental poisoning is more common than one might imagine. In fact, these are some of the most common cases we see in our hospitals. A bag might find a few leftover Easter eggs or get their paws on mouse food and make them seriously ill. You may not know it, but our homes and even our yards are filled with potentially toxic items for our pets, some surprisingly dangerous.
It is important to know what these toxins are and what to do if your pet comes into contact with or ingests them. This guide will provide you with information on the types of poisons your pet may encounter, signs and symptoms of common poisons, treatment and how to avoid accidental poisoning.
How To Know If Your Dog Is Poisoned
A poison or toxin can be a natural or synthetic substance, in gaseous, liquid or solid form. If these substances are inhaled, swallowed, absorbed through the skin or injected, they can cause serious injury and in some cases death. Typically, our pets get poisoned by ingesting something they shouldn’t. However, they do not need to eat or drink just one toxic substance to become poisoned. Even mere exposure to a toxin through contact can be enough to cause a severe case of poisoning. For example, accidentally applying dog tick and flea treatment to a cat’s skin is very dangerous.
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Poisoning occurs when a large enough dose enters the body, causing severe damage to cells, tissues and/or organs that can lead to death if treatment is not sought quickly. Depending on the substance, the dose may only be a very small amount. These side effects may include:
Our homes contain a number of everyday items that, although not dangerous to us, can be harmful to our pets. Since our pets are curious, quick, and sometimes sneaky, combined with an open cabinet door or a lid off a container, it can create a dangerous situation.
Most, if not all, of these toxic items fall into one of three categories: human food, environmental, or household items.
Many of us are probably guilty of feeding our pets from our plates. Although it can be hard to say no to those big sad eyes when they ask us for scraps, it’s important to remember that most human foods are not good for our pets. Even the most basic ingredients can actually be quite dangerous. The most common toxic feed for our animals is:
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For a complete list of foods to avoid feeding your pet, visit our A-Z Guide to Toxic Pet Food blog.
It is not only inside our homes where potential toxins can be found, but also outside – even in our gardens. You might be surprised to know what deadly poisons your pet can share their garden with.
Plants and flowers are often overlooked. While they certainly brighten up our homes and yards, unfortunately there are many types of indoor and outdoor plants and flowers that are dangerous to our pets. The list of poisonous plants and flowers is extremely long, but the most common are:
But fear not, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden or even bring the outdoors indoors—there are just as many non-toxic and beautiful plants that both you and your pets can enjoy. Visit our list of pet-friendly plants and flowers.
Of The Most Common Ways Dogs Are Accidentally Poisoned
It is not only inanimate objects that can be toxic to our pets. Other animals can poison our furry friends by releasing a toxin if they feel threatened. Australia, and Queensland in particular, is home to a number of animals that have this defensive ability. The most serious and common animal poisonings are:
Think about the things you use every day around the house – washing up liquid when washing up, a headache remedy, bait to get rid of a pesky snail or mouse problem. Often we forget how dangerous these everyday things can be for our pets and even ourselves if we were to ingest them. Sometimes it is not always clear to us what our pets are attracted to or trying to eat. Below are some of the common everyday household items we have seen pets eat.
It is common to see pets, especially cats, come across a stray tablet on the floor and end up eating it. Our pets digest and react to medicine differently than humans. It’s not just stray tablets to watch out for, dogs have been known to use asthma puffers as new chew toys and puncture the ventolin container.
Prescription medications aren’t the only type of medication that poses a threat to our pets. Our hospitals are seeing more and more pets that have ingested illegal drugs. Marijuana consumption is a poisoning we see regularly.
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It’s not just human medicine that needs to be kept away from our furry friends, but pet medicine as well. Pet medications are designed to taste good so our pets will eat them. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to throw away or keep any extra pet medication away from furry paws. If our pets take their own medicine or a fur sibling’s medicine, the consequences can be quite fatal, especially if they ingest a dose for a pet that is twice the size.
It is always important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions and label directions when giving medication. This is especially true for flea and tick treatments for cats. Most flea and tick treatments contain permethrin, which is highly toxic to cats.
Even common household cleaning products are potentially lethal to our pets. With our pets attention on us while we clean the house, it is important that the substances we use and keep them locked up safely when we are done. While some household cleaners may be labeled as “natural” or “eco-friendly,” that doesn’t mean they’re safe. These types of cleaning agents can still cause serious reactions if our pets come into contact with them. General cleaners such as glass and surface cleaners are usually harmless, but it’s still best to keep them out of your pet’s reach.
Signs and symptoms of poisoning will vary depending on what and how many toxic parts your pet has ingested. Signs and symptoms can vary from mild and general signs to more severe signs.
What To Do If Your Pet Is Poisoned?
Not all pets that have been poisoned will show these signs or symptoms, in fact some pets may not seem sick at all. This can be due to one of two reasons. Some reactions take longer than others to manifest, or your pet may not have ingested enough to become ill, as some substances are only toxic if ingested in large quantities. For these reasons, taking a “wait and see” approach is discouraged, as the result is generally organ failure within 72 hours.
The biggest sign that your pet may have ingested something toxic is if you find an open container, open packaging or an empty wrapper. If it is possible that your pet may have been the culprit, you should assume that it may be at risk of poisoning.
Recovery after poisoning depends on what was the toxic substance, the dose and how long before the start of treatment. The sooner treatment is sought for any type of poisoning, the greater the chances that both cats and dogs will survive. This is because the poison has little time to enter your pet’s system and damage their cells, tissues or organs. This also provides the best time to start treatment to reduce the effect of toxicity. However, your pet’s age, size and general health can play an important role in their recovery.
Depending on the toxin, cats may be less likely to recover from poisoning for several reasons, including:
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In general, any case of poisoning can have serious consequences. Typically, mild cases of poisoning have high cure rates. In cases of severe poisoning or in cases where treatment is delayed, the chance of recovery is extremely low. When pets recover from severe poisoning, there can also be long-term damage to their general health.
Most potentially toxic substances will only cause unpleasant side effects, but some can be fatal if left untreated, so it’s always important to err on the side of caution. If you believe your pet has been poisoned, immediately remove it from any toxins.
If your pet is already showing signs of poisoning, visit your vet immediately. If there are no signs or symptoms and your pet appears to be behaving normally, we recommend that you call your vet immediately. Your vet will be able to advise you on whether to bring your pet directly to him or on other steps to take.
Never try to induce vomiting. It is always possible that what your pet has swallowed is corrosive, which can cause severe inflammation and irritation of the esophagus if it vomits again.
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