Suspect Your Dog Has Been Poisoned? Now What?

Have you ever suspected that your dog was poisoned? If yes, then this is the article you need to read…

We’re going to cover some symptoms of poisoning in dogs, and when to call your vet for assistance, types of treatment, tips for prevention, and we’ll also answer several of your most frequently asked questions along the way. (Please feel free to scroll ahead if you feel the need.)

Dog poisoning is a common problem in the United States. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), dogs are the number one target for animal poisonings. In 2017 alone, there were over 11,000 reported incidents of dog poisoning.

But before you start panicking, you first need to know what the signs are that your dog has been poisoned, which leads nicely onto our first section.

Suspect Your Dog Has Been Poisoned Now What

Symptoms Of Poisoning In Dogs

There are several signs that your dog has been poisoned. Let’s go through each one by one:

(These symptoms aren’t listed in any particular order.)

  1. Vomiting or Diarrhea – This may be an early sign of poisoning. The first thing you should do is take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. This is one of the most common signs, but symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea could also be indicators of other problems such as anxiety and stress.
  2. Lethargy – Your dog may appear lethargic, which can be a sign of poisoning.
  3. Seizures – A seizure is a convulsion caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It is usually accompanied by muscle stiffness and jerking movements.
  4. Difficulty Breathing – If your dog starts having trouble breathing, it could be due to respiratory paralysis caused by the ingestion of poisonous substances.
  5. Bleeding from Gums or Nose – If your dog starts bleeding from his gums or nose, he may have ingested something toxic.
  6. Excessive Salivation – Excessive salivation is also a common symptom of poisoning.
  7. Sudden Weight Loss – If your dog suddenly loses weight, you might want to consider whether or not he has been poisoned.
  8. Coma – A coma is a state of unconsciousness where the dog cannot rouse himself/herself awake. This is the most serious symptom on the list, and if your dog appears to have this symptom, you should stop everything you are doing and call your local veterinarian with immediate effect. This is how best to help your dog.

However, please note that spotting a symptom is insufficient to make an accurate diagnosis of the situation. For an accurate diagnosis to establish the most effective treatment, you will need to consult your local veterinarian.

Here’s what to do when you spot any one of the 8 symptoms mentioned above…

Call Your Veterinarian

If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, you should immediately take action and not wait until it gets worse. 

The sooner you act, the better chance you have at saving your pet. Call your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will then be able to help determine if your dog has ingested something toxic.

Veterinarians are highly trained professionals who often have many years of training and experience behind them. They are very well-placed to assess the situation and make the right diagnosis. 

Sometimes, in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian may need to test the dog’s blood. Taking a sample of blood may cause the animal a scratch of pain, but this will be very quick and will not last.

And once a diagnosis has been reached, the veterinarian can then put into place a plan of action to treat the poisoning.

Treatments For Dog Poisoning

The treatment for dog poisoning depends on the type of toxin involved, how much was ingested, and the severity of the poisoning. Some of the more common types of treatments include:


Antidotes are medications that counteract the effects of toxins. These antidotes are typically administered intravenously.

Gastric Lavage

This procedure involves inserting a tube down the throat of your dog and flushing out the stomach contents.

IV Fluids

Intravenous fluids are given to replace lost fluids.

Average Cost Of Treatment

The average cost of treating a dog poisoned by a household substance ranges between $250-$400 per day.

What If My Dog Hasn’t Eaten Anything Recently?

If your dog does not appear to have eaten anything recently, this may indicate that he/she has been poisoned by another source. 

For example, someone could have left a poisonous substance on a countertop, table, or shelf where your dog might be able to eat from.

Another possibility is that your dog ate some food that contained a toxin. It is important to note that the amount of toxin needed to cause harm is actually quite small. Even a very small amount can result in death.

What If My Dog Has Eaten Something Poisonous, But Does Not Appear To Be Sick?

If your dog appears to have eaten something poisonous, but does not seem sick, you need to make sure that you do not leave him/her unattended for too long. 

You also need to watch your dog closely for any symptoms of illness. If your dog vomits, has diarrhea, or begins to shake uncontrollably, contact your veterinarian right away.

How To Prevent Dog Poisoning In The Future

The ASPCA offers these top tips to prevent your dog from being poisoned:

  1. Keep all poisonous substances and medicines locked up and out of reach of children and pets.
  2. Never use flea products containing chemicals such as DEET on your dog.
  3. Always keep poisonous plants out of bounds for your dog
  4. Use caution with cleaning supplies.
  5. Avoid using toxic cleaners and solvents indoors.
  6. Do not let your dog lick his paws after coming in from outside.
  7. Make sure that your pet’s water bowl is clean and free of harmful bacteria.
  8. Be careful when giving your pet treats. Regular chocolate for example can be dangerous to dogs.
  9. Keep your garbage cans covered so that they are inaccessible to your dog.
  10. Watch your dog carefully for signs of poisoning.

What To Do If You Think Your Dog Was Deliberately Poisoned

If you suspect that your dog has been intentionally poisoned, call your local animal control agency immediately. They will be able to provide assistance and help find an expert who can assist you in determining the nature of the poison.

You should also contact your local police department, who may be able to identify the person responsible for the crime.

What’s more, when you call your veterinarian, they may be able to determine whether the poison used was one that is commonly found at home, or whether it was more exotic. This information will help them narrow down their search for the perpetrator.

Wrap Up

So, now you have all the information you need if you suspect that your dog was poisoned. Our main piece of advice in this regard, is to keep your veterinarian’s number on your phone and call them straight away when you notice something is definitely not right with your dog.

Remember, even if your dog did not show any outward signs of illness, there is still a chance that he/she ingested enough of a toxin to become ill. So please do not hesitate to get your veterinarian involved!

However tempting it may be, please do not try to handle the situation alone. Google isn’t great for diagnosis of illnesses, and you should leave treatments to the professionals.

Megan Turner