How do I prevent my dog from being poisoned?
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
What are the common dog poisons?
Metaldehyde is a common ingredient of slug/snail baits or pellets. However, not all slug baits contain metaldehyde; it is important to check which type has been ingested. Metaldehyde poisoning is extremely serious and is usually fatal without urgent treatment. Metaldehyde is the most common known cause of dog deaths in cases referred to the VPIS.
Dogs may initially appear unsteady on their feet and twitchy, but may rapidly deteriorate and suffer continuous convulsions and possibly respiratory failure.
Chocolate poisoning is the most commonly reported type of dog poisoning reported to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS). Chocolate contains the stimulant theobromine. Dark chocolate, cocoa mulch and cocoa contain high levels of theobromine.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, hyperactivity, high temperature and blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm and tremors.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
E.g. ibuprofen naproxen and many others. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gut, stomach ulceration and kidney failure.
This refers to anticoagulant rodenticides, such as warfarin, which prevent blood clotting. Not all rodenticides are anticoagulants. It's important to check which one has been ingested.
Poisoning may cause life-threatening bleeding; effects may not appear for several days. Bleeding may be internal and isn't always visible.
Grapes, Raisins, Sultanas & Currants
Any quantity of these can be toxic. Cooking or baking doesn't reduce the risk of poisoning.
Poisoning may initially result in vomiting and diarrhoea and subsequently in kidney failure (which may occur a few days after the initial effects).
Other poisons include drugs such as Paracetamol and oral contraceptives, blue-green algae, fungi, conkers, acorns, rock salt.
How do I prevent poisoning?
Keep an eye on your dog.Keep houseplants where dogs cannot reach them. Collect dropped leaves/petals.Keep pesticides , e.g. rat baits, away from areas dogs can access.If treating pets with insecticides, separate them from other pets.
Ensure housing and exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants.Ensure dogs water supplies cannot become contaminated, and change regularly.
What do I do If I think my dog has been poisoned?
Stay calm. Remove dogs from the source of poison. Contact your vet immediately; inform them when, where and how poisoning occurred. If appropriate, take the packaging, plant or substance to the vet. Don't expose yourself to any harm. Follow your vet's advice.
Never attempt to treat/medicate dogs yourself. Some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to dogs. Never attempt to make dogs vomit. Do not use salt water as it's extremely dangerous. If skin/fur is contaminated, wash with mild shampoo and water, rinse well and dry. Keep dogs away from other animals to avoid cross-contamination.
Never watch and wait. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, contact a vet immediately.
For more information visit the RSPCA website: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/poisoning