How to Treat a Poisoned Dog


If your pup has ingested or rubbed up against something toxic, you'll need to get him to the vet as soon as possible. A variety of substances, from plants to chemicals and even some foods are toxic to your canine companion. Bring a sample of the poison along with your pup so that your vet can create a specific treatment plan. Your vet can stabilize your pooch after he's been poisoned and treat any side effects caused by the toxins in his system.

Signs of Poisoning

Depending on what your dog has eaten and the amount of the poison he has ingested, your dog may experience a range of gastrointestinal and behavioral symptoms.

  • Your dog may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • He may cough up blood or have blood in his stool.
  • A loss of appetite may indicate that your dog has been poisoned.
  • The pup may become dizzy, drool and may even collapse.
  • He may drink much more or less than usual and possibly have trouble eliminating.
  • Your dog may have pale gums, seizures or black, tarry stools.
  • He may sleep more than usual, have trouble walking or become unconscious.
  • If your pup has rubbed up against something poisonous, his skin might be red, irritated or bloody.


  • Any of these symptoms could indicate poisoning or an illness, so get your dog to the vet right away.

Visiting the Vet

When you bring your dog to the vet, tell her what you believe your dog ingested. If you can, collect some of it and some of your dog's vomit or feces for testing in a sealed plastic bag. This will allow the vet to determine what caused the poisoning. Another option is to take a picture of whatever your dog ingested with your cellphone.

Your vet likely will induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage to expel the toxic substance from his system if she knows definitively what it is. Sometimes, inducing vomiting can do more damage to the dog's esophagus and throat, depending on the toxin, especially if it's something caustic.

Veterinary Treatment

A common treatment for poisoning is activated charcoal to help lessen the effects of the toxin by absorbing it. Your pooch may need to be hospitalized and administered intravenous fluids to keep him hydrated and help remove the toxins from his system.

If your vet knows what the toxin is, she may administer an antidote if it's available. She will administer muscle relaxants or anti-convulsants if your pooch is experiencing muscle spasms or seizures. Your vet may have to regulate your dog's temperature if the toxin causes any spikes in fever or hypothermia.

Treatment Tips

Time is of the essence if your dog has eaten something poisonous because the sooner he gets veterinary treatment, the better his prognosis. The longer toxins linger in his system, the more damage they can do.

If your dog is not convulsing, having trouble breathing or unconscious, you can call the ASPCA Poison Control Center or the Pet Poison Helpline for advice about treating your dog and about whether what he's eaten was toxic. Depending on what he's ingested, they may be able to help you determine what course of action to take at home or advise you to go to your local veterinarian.

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