Thursday, October 29, 2009

'What to Do If Your Pooch Eats Something Poisonous'

Originally published on October 29, 2009

Dogs seem to have a knack for sniffing out and sampling potentially dangerous substances. That's why it's important to get a gauge on which hazards may be lurking around your home and learn how to respond if your pooch takes a taste of any of them.
What to Watch For
Some substances, like insecticides, fertilizers, and household cleaning products, are pretty obvious dangers, but many others are less well-known. Citronella, fabric softeners, batteries, and certain sugar-free candies are a few that could cause problems for your pet. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) keeps an updated list of possible canine toxins at

What to Do
If you ever suspect your dog has eaten or swallowed something poisonous, call your veterinarian's office or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 right away.

You can call this center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It's staffed by veterinary toxicologists who'll be able to quickly advise you on what to do in your situation. Their phone consultations generally cost $60 and include a follow-up call.

What to Say
When you call, be ready to provide the following:
  • Basic info about your dog.
  • A description of any symptoms she's having.
  • Details on what your dog has ingested, including an approximation of how much was consumed, and when. Have the bottle or package of the substance on hand for reference, if possible.
If your dog is having a strong adverse reaction, seizures, trouble breathing, or is losing consciousness, skip the phone call and get her to the emergency vet clinic as quickly as possible.

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