Poisoning in dogsDogs are naturally curious. They sniff and taste almost anything. And some of us make honest mistakes with what we put down our dog's throats or on their dog's coats. The inevitable consequence is that poisoning is surprisingly common.
Often it is relatively minor, such as stomach irritation and vomiting caused by pain control medicines meant for us, not our dogs. These and other poisons can cause a variety of clinical signs including:
- hyperactivity and high heart rate
- tremors, disorientation, seizures
- lethargy, dullness, stumbling, incoordination
- drooling, nausea, vomiting
- diarrhoea, abdominal pain
- internal bleeding
Poisons can be swallowed, absorbed through or licked off the coat or inhaled.
SOME CAUSES OF POISONING INCLUDE:
Over-the-counter pain relief medicines such as aspirin, paracetemol and ibuprofen
Rodenticides especially those that cause bleeding
Household insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, cleaners and petroleum-based products
Xylitol, a sugar substitute
SWALLOWED POISONS ARE MOST COMMON
At one time or another we have treated dogs that have eaten pantyhose, packets of birth control pills, a ten inch rubber Donald Duck (whole), tennis balls, lead curtain weights, plastic bread bags, cat litter, tampons, tulip bulbs, socks, conkers, bottles of aspirin, bars of soap, bars of chocolate, underwear, fruit stones and the sugar substitute xylitol. Some of these are simply foreign bodies but others, such as lead, medicines and chocolate - dark chocolate - are poisons. Xylitol triggers a massive release of insulin and this can result in a lethal drop in blood sugar. (For more information visit the NEWS story, 'Xylitol'.)
It is usually best to immediately induce vomiting for some but not all poisons. Inducing vomiting after a dog has swallowed acid, alkali or petroleum products will trigger even more damage.
If you know what your dog has swallowed telephone us (020 7723 2068) or our emergency service (020 7730 9102) immediately.
Your first objective is to save life.
Don't panic. If shock has developed or your dog is unconscious keep the airway open, maintain breathing and circulation and get to us or your nearest vet quickly.
If convulsions have developed, prevent your dog from damaging itself or from biting you or others.
If poison has been swallowed in the last two hours BUT NOT ACID, ALKALI OR PETROLEUM BASED SUBSTANCES, induce vomiting by giving 3% hydrogen peroxide or a crystal of washing soda. Only try to induce vomiting if the dog is alert.
DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING IF YOUR DOG HAS SWALLOWED ANY OF THESE. VOMITING WILL ONLY CAUSE MORE DAMAGE.
CARBOLIC ACID (PHENOL)
CHLORINE FOR POOLS
PAINT STRIPPER AND REMOVER
PHENOL (carbolic acid)
PINE OIL CLEANERS
POLISHES - (furniture or floor)
SALT FOR ROADS / PAVEMENT
IF YOUR DOG HAS SWALLOWED ACID OR ALKALI
If the poison is acid give egg white, bicarbonate of soda, charcoal powder or olive oil by mouth.
Apply a paste of bicarbonate of soda to any burns in the mouth.
. If the skin has been burned flush it for at least 15 minutes with clean running water.
If the poison is alkali give egg white or small amounts of citrus fruit juice or dilute vinegar. Apply dilute vinegar on skin and mouth burns. Ear wash such as Epiotic is excellent for treating alkali skin burns.
Then see us immediately.
The more information we have the better the treatment. We would like to know as much as possible including:
-Product trade name
-Fine print listing the ingredients in the product
-Method of exposure - skin contact, air contact, swallowed
-Duration of exposure
-Time since exposure
-How is your dog behaving - clinical signs
-Have you done anything yet?