Pet Poisoning Dos and Don’ts

Kitchen pilferersYou just spent the entire morning baking a German chocolate cake from scratch for your Aunt Mildred’s 80th birthday. You admire your work and glance at your watch. You just have time to sneak in a quick shower before the party.

When you come back into the kitchen, though, something is wrong. Your cake is nowhere to be seen, and your dog is sheepishly wagging his tail in the corner, chocolate crumbs stuck in his fur. Your first thought is Aunt Millie’s birthday… what are you going to do? But then something else occurs to you. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, isn’t it?? A wave of panic sets in. Do you know what you would do?

The Key to Treating Pet Poisonings

In the above situation, and with virtually all other pet poisoning situations, one simple truth makes all the difference in the world: Time is of the essence. When your pet has been exposed to or ingested something poisonous, acting quickly can mean the difference between life and death.

It is tempting to hem and haw, do a Google search, and Facebook your cousin’s friend who is a vet to get some advice. It is important, though, to act quickly. The sooner a toxicity is addressed, the better chance we have to help your pet.

Important Things to Remember

If you think your pet may have been poisoned, take a deep breath, and review our list of things all pet owners should know about toxicities:

  • When in doubt, call us or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center to get more information about any potential problems.
  • Whenever possible, have any packaging or information about the possible toxin available. There is a big difference, for instance, between types of rodenticides.
  • Be prepared to tell us your pet’s approximate weight, when he or she was exposed to the potential poison, how much was ingested, what symptoms (if any) are occurring, and if your pet is taking any other medications or supplements.
  • Don’t trust the Internet to give you all the answers. There is some great information out there, but there is also some very wrong information.
  • Don’t induce vomiting before speaking with us or Poison Control. Vomiting can cause more harm than good with some toxins.
  • Do not give anything unless instructed to do so by a veterinary professional. Many home remedies can take up valuable time or even cause direct harm.
  • Be sure to seek medical attention even if your pet seems fine. Some toxins do not show their effects right away.

Potential pet poisons are everywhere, and it is helpful for pet owners to make themselves familiar with which things are dangerous for their animals. It is also vital for pet parents to recognize the importance of acting quickly in a potential poisoning situation. Don’t forget that Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services is here to help you, no matter the hour or day.