The potential for poisoning in dogs, while uncommon, is still something you should be aware of and know how to react to. Puppies, in particular, are naturally curious and should be watched carefully in foreign environments or where there is the potential for poison ingestion.
Dogs Can Get Poisoned in More Than One Way
Your dog could eat or drink something that is directly or indirectly poison. An example of direct poisoning would be eating antifreeze. An example of indirect poisoning through ingestion would be eating an animal that has been poisoned (a poisoned mouse would be a perfect example). A dog could also be poisoned by being externally contaminated – for example by falling in some creosote. A pet could also inhale toxic fumes and have the poison absorbed into his bloodstream through his lungs.
If you do catch your dog eating something potentially toxic, restrain the animal, remove the object from its mouth and identify the poison. If its something in a package that has an ingredients list, secure that and call your veterinarian or poison center for advice on what to do next.
Help Your Vet Identify the Poison
Identifying what poison your dog has ingested is key to determining the treatment for the dog, so be sure to take a sample of the substance with you to the veterinarian and its container if possible, too. Most rat poisons are color-coded to tell you (or the vet) what category of poison the active ingredient is in.
If you can, bringing in samples of your pet’s recent vomit or feces could be helpful as well. If your dog is externally contaminated with a poison (such as creosote), do not let him lick his fur. Also, do not try and treat your dog on your own, bring them to your nearest vet or emergency animal clinic as quickly as possible.
Get Your Poisoned Dog to the Vet Immediately
Poisoned pets can have their conditions degrade quickly, so it is imperative that you take them to the vet right away. The vet will initially make sure your pet’s condition is stable and will then seek to make sure the dog isn’t contaminated further. Your vet may need to induce vomiting with an emetic or to flush his throat and mouth with a stomach tube. If the poison has been identified, a specific antidote may be an option (for example, atropine for insecticide contamination or vitamin K to help in the blood if there has been Warfarin poisoning).
Specific treatments aren’t often available, so most of the time veterinarians just try to support the dog and keep his condition stable after they have stopped further contamination. They may have to give your dog sedatives if he is having fits or to maintain his body temperature. They may have to treat circulatory damage, give your vet intravenous fluids to help get toxins out of his body, treat shock, or make sure his renal function stays stable.
Poisoning is a tough situation to handle with your pet and it is often very hard to identify the poison ingested. Be sure to bring any urine, blood, vomit or feces samples you may have. In the sad case that your pet passes away due to suspected poisoning, a post mortem may show certain organ damage, but it will require a lot of examination and is often costly, not to mention the heart-break of losing your furry friend.