Pet Poison Prevention Week March 19th – 25th aims to raise awareness to all pet owners of the dangers that may cause harm from poisons that lurk in the home and outdoors, that maybe we aren’t fully aware of. Finchley Dog Walker aims to help to raise this awareness by creating a series of articles covering the dangers of pet poisoning in various areas of our homes.
Help – My dog has been poisoned!
Pet poisoning is one of the most frequent cases that our Vets see each day, with 9 out of 10 of these cases occurring in our own homes.
Dog’s own defence system
We hear of most cases of animal poisoning being caused by them eating contaminated objects, although poisons are also absorbed through the skin or nose. The dog’s digestive system will reject many poisons because of their usually vile taste or expelling them from the body by causing vomiting and diarrhoea. The dog’s thick hair and skin will act as an external barrier and the mucus and hair in the dog’s nose acts as a natural filter. Despite these natural, protective mechanisms, there are many probable dangers that lurk in our homes, gardens and garages, and understanding how to avoid these and to treat any poisoning episodes can save the life of your dog.
Problems that poison can cause
Some poisons damage particular body organs or cells, or cause haemorrhage, others can seriously affect the nervous system while some are caustic and cause internal burns. The most common poisons that cause harm to dogs are ant and slug killers and rodent bait, especially as dogs find slug pellets so tasty and edible. These groups of poisons can quickly cause internal bleeding and death.
Symptoms to look out for
Contact Poisons – Plants or chemicals that come in direct contact with your dog’s skin may result in an irritation. Look out for pain, swelling, excessive licking or scratching, agitation or discomfort.
Inhaled Poisons – Difficulty breathing, drooling or coughing which may result in coma or unconsciousness.
Swallowed Poisons – Look out for dilated pupils, mouth ulcers, twitching, loss of appetite, lethargy, convulsions, staggering, restlessness, diarrhoea, vomiting, heart palpitations and coma.
What to do if you think your dog has been poisoned
- Remove your dog from the source of the poison. Stay calm.
- Immediately contact your Vet, and tell them how, where and when the incident has occurred. If you take your dog to the Vet’s surgery, take any substance, plant or packaging along too, but of course don’t expose yourself to any toxic harm too.
- Follow any advice given by the Vet.
- If the dog’s fur/skin has been contaminated, wash with water and mild shampoo, then rinse and dry.
- Don’t attempt to make the dog vomit and don’t use salt water which in itself can be very dangerous.
- Keep the dog away from other animals
- Don’t attempt to medicate or treat the dog yourself – immediate emergency action is needed and medicines intended for humans could be poisonous to your dog.
The sooner dog poisoning is identified, the safer and easier it is to treat your pet. Never just “wait and see”- if you suspect poisoning, contact your Vet immediately!