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Every year, thousands of dogs needlessly suffer - and sometimes die - from accidental poisoning. Because of their natural curiosity, dogs can stumble across poisons inside and outside the house, even in places you thought they'd never look.

So to look after your best friend, it's incredibly important you learn how to make your home safe and know the potential signs of poisoning.

Common Signs of Dog Poisoning

Poisoning can have many different effects on your dog. Some of the most common symptom include:

  • nervousness
  • overexcited mood
  • excessive drooling
  • muscle tremors
  • panting
  • fever
  • seizures
  • diarrhea
  • fast heart rate
  • respiratory failure
  • rigidity
  • vomiting
  • skin irritations
  • weakness
  • lossof balance
  • increased thirst

If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, see your veterinarian immediately.

What Are The Most Common Causes of Poisoning?

Rodent and insect baits

People often forget that baits are tasty. That's why snails, rats, rabbits and other pests eat them. Unfortunately dogs also find baits alluring enough to eat, and often gobble them down in large quantities. Be sure to keep your bait stored well out of reach of hungry hounds and children.

Household chemicals and toxins

Toxins you keep around the house can be very dangerous to your dog if eaten by accident. These might include:

  • compost
  • fertilizers (especially blood & bone fertilizers)
  • pesticides
  • herbicides (especially paraquat)
  • antifreeze (often tastes sweet and dogs will happily drink it)
  • and many others

The list of potential toxins is huge and each one works differently:

  • Some work immediately (e.g. some snail baits depending on the amount ingested)
  • Some have a delayed effect (e.g. rat bait, antifreeze)

Don't wait for your dog to show delayed signs of poisoning before taking them to your veterinarian or it may be too late to reverse the damage and poisoning. In some cases, dogs die despite all veterinary efforts.

1080 Poisoning

Sodium monofluoroacetate (Compound 1080) is a widely used pesticide used for control of feral animals such as foxes. Dogs are particularly susceptible to this toxin. Despite strict regulations on use, accidental poisoning of domestic animals happens every year.

Food intolerances

Certain foods are very dangerous for dogs to eat, such as onions, chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins and grapes. The result can be severe illness or even death. Learn more about these foods your dog should avoid.

Treatment for Baits and Poisons

If your dog has been poisoned, you must take them straight to an emergency veterinary clinic. All baits and poisons work differently, so take the packet, bottle or a sample as this will help your veterinarian know:

  • what brand your dog has eaten or drunk and
  • how much the name of the actual active compound or toxin
  • how much they have ingested

How Do I Prevent my Dog from Being Poisoned?

Prevention is, once again, the best approach to toxins. Some of the simple things you can do include:

  • never allowing baits to come within reach of your dog
  • not placing bait under the house or in accessible locations around the house
  • restricting access to garden areas where you have put snail bait until it's all gone
  • storing all poisons in a high place and/or a locked cupboard
  • not leaving poisons lying around in your garage or shed

Additional Information

The Merck Veterinary Manual
Veterinary Partner

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