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Can a Dog Recover From Poisoning?

Golden retriever on exam table being checked by vet

Important! If you’re dog is exhibiting poisoning symptoms or if you suspect your dog has consumed something poisonous contact your vet immediately or call the ASPCA pet poisoning hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Dogs are naturally instinctive to get into anything and everything that they could find. This is a massive problem for dog parents because many everyday things can be harmful to canines. For instance, chocolate and household cleaning products account for many cases of dog poisoning.

For this reason, it is essential to keep your pup away from toxic products and circumstances. Simultaneously, you must know the signs of poisoning in dogs to react promptly, in case of a calamity. Keep reading to familiarize yourself with the measures that can help a dog to recover from poisoning.   

Common Substances that are Toxic to Dogs

There are all kinds of things within an average house that can be harmful to dogs. This is the reason why the vast majority of dog poisoning cases are unintentional. Therefore, you should always try to keep the potentially dangerous things beyond your pup’s reach. The following is a list of common household items that are poisonous to dogs. 

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Anti-depressants
  • Paracetamol
  • Yew Trees
  • Fungi
  • Acorns
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Bleach
  • Oven Cleaner

NOTE: This list is NOT exhaustive, but it is good enough to give you an idea about substances that are toxic to dogs.

Symptoms of Poisoning in Dogs

Black and white dog on yellow background

If you have seen your pup eating a toxic substance, you should contact your vet immediately. NEVER wait for the symptoms to show up because it can be extremely dangerous for your pet.

On the other hand, if the dog has been exposed in your absence, you will have to recognize the symptoms. The most common signs of dog poisoning are as follows:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Muscle Twitching and Tremors
  • Seizures

NOTE: Always remember that immediate response is necessary to give your dog a chance to recover from poisoning.

What to Do if Your Dog Has Been Poisoned?

Man with hands up to face as in panic

It is really important to stay calm in this critical situation. Panic will do more harm than good, and the situation can go from bad to worse. Keep in mind that the first few actions that you take will determine your dog’s chances of recovery.

Move Your Dog Away from the Poison

Jack Russell Terrier laying on foor next to half eaten chocolate

Although it is quite obvious, the element of stress can make you forget simple things. Alternatively, you can get the dangerous substance away from your canine, if that seems more convenient. Just make sure that the toxic material is completely removed from the scene.

If you haven’t caught your dog red-handed, try to find the source of poisoning. Search around the place for some evidence (bottles, wrappers, containers, etc.) and confiscate it. Later on, this will help your vet in analyzing the severity of the situation.

Seek Professional Help

Human hands holding stethoscope to dachshund's chest

If your pup has consumed a poisonous substance, you should immediately contact your vet or Pet Poison Helpline. It is extremely important to realize that this is NOT the situation to experiment with your veterinary knowledge.

This is because there is no universal formula to treat dog poisoning. A treatment that works well for one type of poison can be useless (or even damaging) in case of another toxin. For example, if you induce vomiting in a dog who has ingested a cleaning product, it can cause acute pneumonia. Therefore, you should NEVER treat your dog for poisoning unless you have professional directions.

Common Veterinary Questions for Dog Poisoning

When you ask your vet for his/her help about dog poisoning, be prepared to answer the following questions.

  • What is the breed and sex of your dog?
  • What is the age and weight of your dog?
  • Which toxic substance has your pup consumed?
  • What quantity of the poisonous item was ingested, and when?
  • Which symptoms are evident and what is their severity?

The accuracy of the vet’s advice is highly dependent on the information you provide. Therefore, try to gather as much data as possible before calling your veterinarian.

Don’t Waste Any Time

Red wind up style alarm clock on a wooden table on with a blue/ green wall

Early diagnosis is crucial if you want your dog to recover from poisoning. If you have a suspicion that your canine has been exposed to something harmful, call the vet right away. NEVER adopt the “wait and see” strategy because the longer you wait, the more will be the damage. Even if the dog is not showing any symptoms, consider it an emergency and react accordingly.

After Care for Poisoned Dogs

hound dog wrapped in blanket laying on bed.

It can take your dog quite a long while to recover from poisoning. Even if the immediate threat is gone, you need to be very careful and patient with the recovery process. The effects of skin poisoning are easier to treat than the ingestion of poison. Usually, these problems (like skin rashes and stings) can be treated with vet-approved antihistamines.

On the other hand, it is trickier to recover after consuming toxic items, because it affects two vital organs (liver and kidneys). In these circumstances, your pup will have to eat a very bland diet for a long duration. It is important to give the kidneys and liver some rest so that they could heal themselves.

Similarly, you need to be extremely careful that there are no fats and protein in your pet’s meal. This is because these two organs are responsible for assimilating these nutrients. In extreme cases, the vet may also prescribe antioxidant vitamins and minerals (or nutritional supplements) to assist your dog’s recovery.  

Prevention is the Best Cure

There is no doubt that prevention is the best medicine for dog poisoning. For this reason, it is highly recommended to make your home as dog-proof as possible. Try to keep all harmful things, such as cleaning products and toxic plants, beyond the reach of your canine.

Likewise, stay vigilant and be careful about what is lying around when you take your pet out for a walk. If your dog still manages to expose himself/herself to a poisonous item, contact your vet immediately to minimize the damage.

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