Poisoning in dogs - Symptoms and first aid

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If you have dogs or you plan to include one in the family, surely you will be interested in this AnimalWised article where we are going to discuss a very important topic that we must know in order to preserve the health of our dog and even save its life in the event of an accident. It is about poisoning, because it is easier than it may seem for our dog to come into contact with a substance that is toxic to him..

We know that canids in general are very curious, careless and some clumsy, especially puppies. That is why we must be careful, monitor them whenever we can and be informed about the Poisoning in Dogs, Its Symptoms and First Aid. We hope you never need to act as we are going to explain, but if so, keep calm to be effective and read carefully.

You may also be interested in: Poisoning in Cats - Symptoms and First Aid Index
  1. Main causes of poisoning in dogs and tips to prevent them
  2. General symptoms of poisoning in dogs
  3. First aid for poisoning in dogs

Main causes of poisoning in dogs and tips to prevent them

We can avoid situations in which our faithful friend may be hurt or poisoned by accident. We will do this by keeping potentially dangerous things safely out of reach on the high shelves of closets or in lockable cabinets, preventing you from ingesting anything in the street, not letting you drink water from the pool or bathe in it when It is freshly treated with products such as chlorine, if we use insecticides in the garden we will prevent our dog from licking them or coming into contact with the area until the products used are dry, among other preventive measures.

exist three shapes why a dog can get intoxicated:

  1. Cutaneous route: When the poison comes into contact with the skin of the animal and it absorbs it, introducing it into the body.
  2. Airway: When the toxic substance is inhaled by our dog and enters its body through absorption in the respiratory tract and lungs.
  3. Orally: When our dog ingests something inappropriate and causes intoxication.

Next, we expose the most common poisons and toxins, that is, the most frequent causes of poisoning:

  • Human foods (chocolate, xylitol gum, avocado, grapes, macadamia nuts, onion, garlic, etc.)
  • Medicines for humans (paracetamol, cough syrup, etc.)
  • Insecticides, pesticides, poisons, herbicides and fertilizers (carbamate, amitraz, pyrethrin, arsenic, warfarin, strictin, etc.)
  • Paints and car batteries (lead)
  • Poisonous mushrooms (different types of mushrooms)
  • Insects and other poisonous animals (cantharids, snakes, toads)
  • Poisonous plants (cyanide)
  • Cleaning products (solvents, bleach, chlorine, fabric softeners, detergents, etc.)
  • Antiparasitics (some products sprayed on our pets and their environment to scare away and eliminate external parasites)
  • Alcohol (in drinks or in other formats)
  • Tobacco (nicotine)

These products and substances, found in a wide variety of objects, animals, and plants, are chemicals and enzymes that are toxic to canids and other pets because their organisms they are not able to metabolize them.

General symptoms of poisoning in dogs

In case of poisoning, symptoms can appear quickly or take hours, and they are also very varied since they will depend on the substance that caused the poisoning and the amount. Some of the most common symptoms are as follows:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea even with blood
  • Severe pain with groaning (whining)
  • Depression and weakness
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors, involuntary muscle spasms, and seizures
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Muscular stiffness
  • Disorientation
  • Paralysis of any affected area or the entire body
  • Severe drowsiness or lethargy
  • Sudden excitability and hyperactivity
  • Collapse and unconsciousness
  • Weakness and fever
  • Excessive salivation
  • Bleeding from various orifices
  • Respiratory and heart problems
  • Limb coordination difficulties due to neurological problems (ataxia)
  • Apathy
  • Darkening of the mucous membranes in some cases
  • Excess thirst (polydipsia)
  • Very frequent urination (polyuria)
  • Gastric irritation
  • Inflammation, irritation, rash, and skin tags
  • Loss of appetite and anorexia

As soon as we detect some of these symptoms we must act quickly and call veterinary emergencies.

First aid for poisoning in dogs

When poisoning or intoxication occurs in our dog we must go or quickly call our vet of trust or to the veterinary emergencies. But, ¿Did you know that there are some things that we can do ourselves as first aid while the vet is on the way? Of course, we must do it only if the specialist does not contradict us and according to the origin of the poisoning. This quick action can save the life of our faithful companion.

As soon as we detect symptoms of those described above, if possible with the help of someone, we must, on the one hand, call the veterinarian and inform him of all the signs that we can observe, such as the state of the animal, the symptoms, the possible poison causing the problem. , its compounds, packaging, labels and everything possible. In addition, we must attend to the symptoms of our poisoned dog according to the origin of the poisoning and the rest of the signs. Must keep calm and act quickly thinking that in these cases time is money.

If your dog has been poisoned and you are wondering what to do, these are the most common steps to follow in a case of poisoning in dogs:

  1. In case our dog is very weak, almost fainted, unconscious or we know that the poisoning has occurred by inhalation, the first thing we must do is remove it to a open, ventilated and illuminated area. This way we can better observe any symptoms and offer fresh air to our dog. To lift it we must be careful and do it in such a way that we hold the whole body firmly. If we do not have an outdoor area, an area such as the bathroom or kitchen is usually well lit and has water on hand, which we most likely need.
  2. On the other hand, we must remove with care the poison that we see in sight to prevent other pets or people nearby from getting intoxicated as well. We will have to save a sample to help the veterinarian in his diagnosis.
  3. While we do the above, someone else can contact the vet. If we are alone, we will do it next after stabilizing the dog a little, removing the localized poison and saving a sample. The specialist will help us stay calm and focus. The sooner we call the vet, the more likely our dog will survive..
  4. If we have been able to identify the poison we must give the vet as much information as possible such as the name of the product, its active ingredient, the potency, the amount that more or less the animal has been able to ingest and the time that may have passed since it did so. The more indications, depending on the type of poison that caused the poisoning, the better chances of survival.
  5. The vet will tell us what first aid can we apply and what not, depending on the poison identified. For example, one of the first actions that we must do in case of ingestion of a poison is to induce vomiting, but we must know that we will never do it if the dog is unconscious or passed out or if the poison ingested is a corrosive. In case of doing it while the dog is unconscious, we can cause it to inhale the vomit and go to its respiratory system causing pneumonia. In addition, if the poison that has intoxicated it is a corrosive substance, the only thing that we will achieve if we make it vomit will be a second caustic burn in the digestive tract, pharynx and mouth of the animal, worsening its situation. If the poison has been ingested two hours or more ago, it will be quite useless for us to cause vomiting since digestion will be very advanced or finished. Therefore, we will only induce vomiting if the animal is not unconscious, if we know for sure that the substance is not a corrosive such as an acid or alkali and if the ingestion is less than two hours after it occurred..
  6. We should not give them water, food, milk, oils or any other home remedy until we know with certainty what poison he ingested and how to proceed, so it will be better to wait for our veterinarian to indicate it while we provide him with as much information as possible. This is because if we do not know well what we are dealing with, any of these home remedies could produce an effect contrary to what we expect and worsen the state of our faithful companion..
  7. If it is decided that due to circumstances we must make the poisoned animal vomit we must follow appropriate guidelines for inducing vomiting and thus avoid unnecessary damage during the process. We will discuss these guidelines later in another article called "How to treat a poisoned dog ".
  8. Once the vomiting has been provoked, we will have managed to expel part of the poison from our dog's body, but even so, a part of the poison will have been absorbed by the intestine and that is why we must try to slow the progress of this absorption of the toxic. This can be achieved with activated carbon, which we will talk about in the article mentioned in the previous point and we will explain how to administer.
  9. If the contamination has not occurred by ingestion, but has occurred topically or cutaneously, an intoxication with dust or oily substance that has adhered to the coat of our dog, we must shake the dust with an intense brushing and take a bath with abundant warm water using a soap that removes the oily substances well. If we still cannot remove the poison from the coat, we will have to cut that piece of hair, since it is better to eliminate it so regret that our dog gets worse or becomes contaminated again.
  10. If poisoning occurs for contact with mucous membranes, skin and eyes We must bathe the affected area with plenty of water to remove as much of the harmful substance as possible.
  11. In case the affected dog is already awake and somewhat less stunned, and the vet does not tell us otherwise, it will be good to give him fresh water to drink Since many poisons that dogs tend to ingest by accident affect the kidneys and liver. Giving them water will reduce the impact on these organs a little. If they do not drink it themselves, we can administer it with a syringe slowly in their mouth..

This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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