How to Handle a Puppy Emergency When You Suspect Poisoning

Maltese sitting behind bowls of grapes, chocolate, raisins, onions, garlic and avocado.

It’s every pet parent’s nightmare – a pup poisoning!

They find their pup in distress and realize that dear Pup got into something poisonous.

IMPORTANT! If you suspect your dog has consumed something poisonous call your vet immediately or call the animal poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Maybe it was that cleaner you set down for just a second.

Or maybe your child dropped a grape.

Or maybe, your dog is better at breaking into cabinet than you realized and found your chocolate stash!

Whatever happened, your dog could be in trouble.

Depending on their weight and how much of the toxin they ate, they may be mildly ill or far worse.

So, it’s critical that you know what to do in case of a poisoning emergency.

You need to be able to stay calm.  You need to be able to act quickly and think rationally.

Knowing what to do in advance can give you the confidence you need to handle that emergency.

You could save your Precious Pup’s life!

 1- Know the signs of pet poisoning

lethargic jack russell terrier being soothed by human hands

A dog who managed to eat something toxic is likely to be acting lethargic and groggy.

They may be too tired to lift their head or tail.

A dog whose eaten something poisonous might be vomiting or coping with diarrhea.

They could be shaking with a seizure.

Your dog may show one or all of these issues at once.

2 – Know the toxin your dog ingested

overhead view on jack russell terrier's head with half eaten chocolate on the floor

First, see if there is anything left to what your dog was eating.  You want to take it along to show the vet.

They may want to test the samples for levels of toxic compounds.  This can help them to diagnose the problem and know how aggressively to treat your pup’s condition.

Why wouldn’t they treat all cases aggressively?

Well, it’s possible that your dog only managed to get a little of the toxin.  In that case, the treatment would actually be harder on your dog than the toxin.

Or, the pup may not have managed to ingest ANY at all – and you certainly don’t want to treat a dog who’s just scared that Mommy or Daddy is going to yell.

If your dog is vomiting or suffering from diarrhea, you should also take a sample of these with you to the vet.

Do you know these household toxins for dogs? Check out our post 6 Common (and Dangerous) Household Toxins for Dogs to learn more.

3 – Know who to call in a pet emergency

Cell phone screen with human finger dialing numbers

Keep your vet’s phone number by the phone.  Program it into your cell phone on speed dial.

You should also keep the numbers for any 24-hour vet in your area.

These emergencies rarely happen during office hours.  And you don’t want to be trying to find a number while your dog is in jeopardy.

Save the address for the 24-hour vet in your phone, too.  That way if they want you to bring your dog in, you won’t have to try to find directions.

Another number to have on hand is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

This number is (888) 426-4435.  Trained experts man this phone number at all times.

Now, they do charge a fee to help fund their operations.  At the time of this post, it’s $60.

You might also want to look up animal poison control numbers for your area.  You might find one that is no-charge or a lower charge.

Whatever you choose, you want to do this research ahead of time.  You do not want to be trying to remember where the numbers are or find a new number during an emergency.

4 – Know what to do in a pet emergency

yellow lab laying on blue towel with it's head being held by human hands

Try to keep your dog calm through all this.

Now, I’m not referring to panic (though they may do that, too).  You want your dog to remain as inactive as possible while you figure this out.

Activity makes the blood pump faster.

So, if your dog has eaten something toxic, activity will speed the toxin through their system.  This just makes them sicker faster!!

Calmly restrain your dog, don’t fight with them.

You can hold them in a hug or similar.  But the key is to lower their excitement if your dog is jumping around.

Your vet is more than likely going to want to see your dog right away.

So, do everything possible to keep your dog calm during the car ride.

Dogs who love to go “byes” might be super excited about getting into the car.  You’ll want to either crate them during the drive or use a harness and seat belt solution to keep them from moving around too much.

The same applies to dogs who don’t like the car – like mine.  If possible, bring someone along who can help keep your dog calm.  Or, have them drive so YOU can keep your dog as calm as possible.

5 – Listen to the vet!!

Vet smiling at camera with golden retriever on exam table and holding a cat in an exam room setting.

I had a friend who thought she knew more than the vet about how to care for her dog after a poisoning incident.

The vet prescribed an anti-nausea drug to help the dog stop vomiting.

Since vomiting itself isn’t really life-threatening, she decided that the dog didn’t need the medication.

The problem is that the anti-nausea medication was to help the dog from becoming dehydrated!

After any trauma, the body needs to conserve water to help the healing process.

Since her dog continued to vomit, it put a strain on the poor pup’s organs, and he became severely dehydrated.

She ended up having to take her dog BACK to the vet.  Luckily, the vet was able to help the dog with intravenous fluids.  And the dog’s organs weren’t damaged in the process.

But the vet made sure that my friend knew that she could have lost her dog because of the nausea and vomiting.

So, be sure to follow your vet’s instructions – to the Letter!!!

Schedule the follow-up appointments, too.  Your vet just wants to make 100% sure that your dog recovers properly.

And you’ll feel much better once your Beloved Fur-Baby is feeling better, too!!

Click here for information health & safety, read The 6 Most Common Household Toxins for Your Dog or Pup Finance – Be Prepared for Emergencies.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.