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Poisoning your dog: how to react?

When a dog is a victim of poisoning, its owner must react urgently but with discernment because certain attitudes can aggravate the animal's state of health and even lead to its death. It is therefore better to know the various symptoms that may indicate poisoning in order to be able to deal with it properly. However, the cause of the poisoning must be identified because the same care should not be applied in all cases. Let's take stock of the situation.

Poisoning of the dog: the different causes

A dog can be poisoned by :
  • A toxic household or industrial product,
  • Plants such as lily of the valley, acacia, yucca, oleander, ficus, cyclamen, hydrangea, anemone and many others, some of them deadly,
  • A drug intended for human use,
  • A poison such as a rat poison for example,
  • Contaminated food,
  • A food of good quality but which he cannot digest because it is not intended for him.
About toxic foods, one of the best examples is dark chocolate which contains a little caffeine but is very rich in theobromine, an alkaloid. While it is excellent for humans, it is extremely toxic for dogs. Indeed, only 2 grams of dark chocolate per kilo can lead to fatal poisoning in dogs, i.e. 30 g for a 15 kg animal, for example. Only half of this can lead to the death of the dog if, in addition, he is allergic to one of the components of cocoa!

The owner of the poisoned animal can immediately see that his dog is not well at all, without knowing the reason. It is very important not to trivialize the animal's condition and to react as quickly as possible, but to keep a cool head in order to reassure his little companion.

Poisoning in dogs: the symptoms

Different manifestations can lead to the suspicion of dog poisoning. For example, we can see for example :

An increase in the dog's body temperature.

It should be noted that in normal times it is between 38.3 and 39.2°C. If in doubt, it is useful to take the rectal temperature of the animal with an appropriate thermometer. Although this is not a specific sign of poisoning, a high fever is already proof that something is wrong.

A pulse rate of more than 180 beats per minute.

This alone justifies an emergency consultation. To examine his dog's pulse, the owner can simply put his hand on the left side of his little companion's chest and count the beats of his heart for 20 seconds. By multiplying the result by 3, he obtains approximately the number of beats per minute (the pulse is not always ultra regular). It is also important to note if this pulse is perfectly regular or not in order to inform the veterinarian.

A change in the color of the dog's tongue and gums.

Everything is fine if they are pinkish. On the other hand, if the color of the tongue and gums turns purple, dark red or on the contrary white, there is really a reason to worry. Similarly, a pressure with the thumb on the gums of the dog, should not generate a bleaching that lasts more than 2 or 3 seconds.

The dog seems to be suffering.

Intoxication generally leads to more or less violent abdominal pain.

In addition to these manifestations, certain symptoms can confirm the poisoning of the dog, such as :
  • An important salivation,
  • Vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Tremors,
  • A refusal to eat,
  • A deep panting that lasts more than half an hour despite the animal's resting,
  • Unexplained excitement,
  • Breathing difficulties,
  • Heart problems,
  • Disorientation,
  • Muscle spasms,
  • Difficulty walking,
  • A loss of balance to the point that the animal can no longer stand on its feet,
  • Bleeding.
The poisoned dog does not experience all of these symptoms, but several of them, and the list varies depending on the poison he has ingested.

It is very important that the owner who suspects that his dog has been poisoned make a careful note of all the symptoms and signs that his little companion is showing in order to report them to the veterinarian. It is also necessary to note the hours and duration of these manifestations and their evolution. This can be very useful to the professional and allow him to diagnose the poisoning as quickly as possible.

If the poison is identified by the master, it is obviously essential to bring the packaging or the bottle during the consultation. In any case, it is necessary in any case to take note as soon as possible of the indications carried on the packaging such as the exact composition of the product but also the telephone number of the poison control center to be dialed without delay.

Of course, the dog may have been poisoned outdoors during one of his solo trips. The identification of the poison is in this case rather difficult.

How to react when your dog has been poisoned?

Even if the owner does not yet have confirmation that his dog is indeed a victim of poisoning, at the slightest doubt he must imperatively :
  • Go in emergency to the veterinary clinic of his area or to the office of his usual veterinarian.
  • Call a poison control center or the number indicated on the package of the suspected product.
Each poison control center specialized in animal health is reachable 24/7. Neither is subsidized. Only voluntary donations from the public and contributions from veterinarians enable them to function. The information and advice provided is of high quality as it is provided by researchers as well as veterinarians and students who are studying to become veterinarians.

Poisoned dog: what not to do

In order not to accelerate the circulation of the toxic substance in the animal's body, under no circumstances should the dog be given water or milk to drink or even try to make him eat.

Never try to make a dog vomit if poisoning is suspected, as vomiting can cause severe burning of the esophagus.

Dogs should not be given any type of medication.

The dog is a greedy animal well known for its gluttony. It is therefore particularly exposed to the risk of poisoning because it is capable of eating anything, even if it is perfectly fed by its owners. To protect your dog, try to teach him from an early age not to accept any food from a stranger and not to eat anything that has not been given to him by his master. Thus, if these fundamental principles are perfectly instilled in the animal, he will not get into the habit of eating whatever he finds during his escapades, whether in the city or in the country.