Being a pet owner brings lots of benefits, yet it is a full-time job at the same time. Your dog becomes a member of your family and needs to be treated accordingly. Unfortunately, dogs are exposed to a variety of dangers, from parasites that can affect the pets both internally and externally to toxic substances they can enter in contact with.
Even if cases of dog poisoning are not that much of a common issue, there are many opportunities for a pet to be exposed to toxins. However, when such unfortunate events occur, an accurate assessment and an immediate effective treatment are mandatory in order to prevent fatalities.
Being able to identify the symptoms of dog poisoning is actually one of the most important steps to take in order to save your pet’s life. Monitoring your pet’s behavior thus gains great importance. Still, sometimes it might be quite difficult to recognize the signs of poisoning since symptoms can vary from one dog to another and from poison to poison.
Toxins and substances that can poison your dog
Before learning more about the signs of poisoning in dogs, a pet owner must know more about the products that can cause such health issues. Keeping such products away from the dog is the first step to take in order to prevent poisoning.
There is a great variety of indoor and outdoor products that can harm a dog and they include beauty care products, laundry powders, medicines, detergents and household products such as bleach, and even foods. These items should not be left within reach of your pet.
Plus, poisoning does not occur only when such substances and toxins are ingested but also when some of them enter your dog’s system through his/her skin. Other toxins are delivered through the sting of an insect or the bite of an animal. Slug and rat baits are known for causing various health issues.
Natural remedies to soothe your dog’s itchy skin will only help you reduce some symptoms but will not eliminate the cause. Pay attention to the products your dog is exposed to. Read the labels carefully even when it comes to flea products for dogs or the tick sprays you use.
Symptoms of poisoning
While symptoms of dog poisoning vary in nature and intensity based on the type of toxin your dog has entered in contact with and how much of this substance entered your pet’s system, there are a few common signs of poisoning that can be easily identified. Even so, utmost attention should be paid to any change in the dog’s behavior since early signs of poisoning might be too mild to be considered alarming.
Sometimes, you might think your dog is just a bit under the weather but if those blues tend to become recurrent, you might want to check it with your vet. As far as obvious signs of poisoning are concerned, the most common ones include a combination of the following.
The loss of appetite is usually the first symptom of many illnesses and health problems including poisoning. If your dog refuses to eat his/her kibbles once and you don’t notice other symptoms, in most cases, it should not be a reason to worry. If that happens several times, though, and other symptoms are also present, you should contact your veterinarian right away.
Other common symptoms that will tell you something is wrong with your dog include diarrhea and vomiting that may contain blood. Excessive drooling is also a sign that should concern you. If your dog has been poisoned, foaming may follow the excessive drooling.
In case the toxin has entered your dog’s bloodstream through his/her skin, then the pet may have a red, irritated, or itchy skin, and even fluid-filled blisters. When poisoned, the dog can also be lethargic, which means the toxin has affected the heart muscle.
Severe signs of poisoning
Besides the above-mentioned symptoms which are part of the most common ones, there are cases of severe poisoning and that requires immediate professional help. If the toxin affects the brain, you will notice loss of coordination and other signs such as convulsion, loss of consciousness, involuntary urination and defecation.
The dog may also breathe with difficulty when the toxin affects the heart and the lungs. Then, some toxins affect the nervous system, which can lead to sensitivity to light. If your pet prefers a darker area and is also sensitive to touch and sound, you might want to let your veterinarian know about it.
As the toxin reaches its full effect, some organs including the kidneys, the heart, and the liver may shut down. As we’ve said earlier, loss of consciousness is a severe sign of poisoning and should be treated accordingly. Acting fast could save your pet’s life.
What to do when your dog has been poisoned
The steps you take once you notice any symptom of poisoning are crucial. That’s why it is highly important to learn more about the signs of poisoning. We have mentioned earlier some of the common toxins a dog can enter in contact with, toxins that are usually found in one’s house. Knowing more about the toxin that affected your dog means being more successful in administering the right treatment.
Therefore, try to identify the toxin that has affected your dog. This will save your veterinarian a lot of time in formulating the appropriate treatment plan. Call your vet and describe the exact symptoms. Depending on your particular situation, the vet may tell you to induce vomiting or refrain from doing so.
Sometimes, you may have to feed your pet activated charcoal to absorb the toxin. Do so only if your vet advises you take this step. In the unfortunate event that your vet is unavailable, call the Animal Poison Control Center for help. Do not delay as a few minutes can make a huge difference in such situations.