Home » Signs of Toxicity in Dogs: What to Do If Your Dog Is Poisoned

Signs of Toxicity in Dogs: What to Do If Your Dog Is Poisoned

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Dogs are curious and playful animals, but sometimes they can get into trouble by ingesting, inhaling, or touching something that is harmful to them. This can cause poisoning, which is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Toxicity in dogs is very commonly seen in all clinics across the country. 

In this article, we will explain the difference between poison and toxins, the different types of toxins and their effects on the body of a dog, and the different signs of toxicity seen in dogs. We will also provide some tips on what to do if you suspect your dog is poisoned and how to prevent poisoning in the first place.

What is the difference between poison and toxins?

Toxicity in dogs can be caused either by poison or toxins. Poisons are mostly organic or inorganic matter that can cause harm to one or more organs of a dog. Toxins are mostly organic matter such as proteins which can destroy cells/tissues. Examples of poisons include Thallium, and bleach. Examples of toxins include snake venom, bee venom, mushroom toxins.

Poison and toxins are both substances that can cause harm to living organisms, but they have some differences. Poison is a general term that refers to any substance that can cause damage or death to living cells or tissues when absorbed, inhaled, or ingested.

Poison can be natural or synthetic, organic or inorganic, solid, liquid, or gas. Some examples of poisons are rat poison, bleach, and chocolate.

Toxin is a specific type of poison that is produced by living cells or organisms, such as plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Toxin is usually a small molecule, peptide, or protein that can interfere with the normal functions of the cells or tissues, causing diseases or disorders.

Some examples of toxins are botulinum toxin, mushroom toxin, and bee venom.

What are the different types of toxins and their effects on the body of a dog?

There are many different types of toxins that can affect dogs, depending on the source, the route of exposure, and the dose. Some of the common types of toxins and their effects on the body of a dog are:

Toxins from plants: Some plants contain toxic substances that can cause gastrointestinal, neurological, or cardiovascular problems in dogs. Some of the common toxic plants for dogs are lilies, azaleas, oleander, sago palm, and rhododendron.

Toxins from animals: Some animals produce venom or other toxic substances that can cause pain, swelling, inflammation, or paralysis in dogs. Some of the common toxic animals for dogs are snakes, spiders, scorpions, bees, wasps, and frogs.

Toxins from bacteria: Some bacteria produce toxins that can cause infections, septicemia, or organ failure in dogs. Some of the common toxic bacteria for dogs are Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium tetani, and Clostridium perfringens.

Toxins from fungi: Some fungi produce toxins that can cause liver damage, kidney damage, or neurological problems in dogs. Some of the common toxic fungi for dogs are Amanita, Aspergillus, and Penicillium.

Toxins from human foods: Some human foods contain substances that can be toxic to dogs, such as caffeine, theobromine, xylitol, alcohol, grapes, raisins and onion. These substances can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, or coma in dogs.

Toxins from human drugs: Some human drugs can be toxic to dogs, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, and antidepressants. These drugs can cause ulcers, bleeding, liver damage, kidney damage, or neurological problems in dogs.

Toxins from household products: Some household products contain chemicals that can be toxic to dogs, such as bleach, detergent, and rat poison. These chemicals can cause irritation, burns, poisoning, or internal bleeding in dogs.

What are the different signs of toxicity in dogs? 

Signs of toxicity in dogs Vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive drooling or frothing at the mouth, increased thirst/urination, breathing trouble, seizures, lethargy, bleeding/bruising, abnormal temperature

The signs of toxicity seen in dogs can vary depending on the type and amount of toxin, the time of exposure, and the individual dog. However, some of the common signs of toxicity seen in dogs are:

Vomiting or diarrhoea: This is a sign that the dog has ingested something toxic and is trying to expel it from the body. It can also indicate irritation or damage to the gastrointestinal tract.

Drooling or foaming at the mouth: Toxicity in dogs often causes frothing or foaming at the mouth. This is a sign that the dog has ingested, inhaled, or touched something toxic that is causing salivation or irritation to the mouth or throat.

Lethargy or weakness: This is a sign that the dog is feeling unwell or is suffering from organ damage or failure due to the toxin.

Seizures or tremors: This is a sign that the dog is experiencing neurological problems due to the toxin. It can also indicate hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, or electrolyte imbalance.

Difficulty breathing or coughing: This is a sign that the dog has inhaled something toxic that is causing respiratory problems or damage to the lungs.

Increased thirst or urination: This is a sign that the dog is experiencing kidney problems or damage due to the toxin. It can also indicate diabetes or dehydration.

Abnormal behaviour or mood: This is a sign that the dog is experiencing psychological problems or changes due to the toxin. It can also indicate pain, stress, or fear.

Abnormal bleeding or bruising: Toxicity in dogs can cause abnormal bleeding or blood clotting under their skin. It is a sign that the dog is experiencing blood clotting problems or damage to the blood vessels due to the toxin. It can also indicate anaemia or infection.

What to do when you see these signs of toxicity in dogs?

If you notice any of these signs of toxicity in your dog, or if you suspect your dog has been exposed to something toxic, you should do the following:

Remove the source of the toxin: If possible, safely remove the toxin from your dog’s reach and prevent further exposure. If the toxin is on your dog’s skin or coat, wash it off with mild soap and water. If the toxin is in your dog’s mouth, rinse it with water but make sure your dog doesn’t drink that water.

Contact your veterinarian: Call your veterinarian immediately and explain the situation. Provide as much information as possible, such as the type and amount of toxin, the time and route of exposure, and the signs and symptoms of your dog. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and do not give your dog anything (food, water, or medication) unless advised by your veterinarian.

Collect the evidence: If possible, safely collect any remaining toxin or packaging and bring it to your veterinarian. If your dog has vomited or defecated, collect a sample and bring it to your veterinarian. This will help your veterinarian diagnose and treat your dog more effectively.

Transport your dog to the clinic: If your veterinarian advises you to bring your dog to the clinic, do so as soon as possible. Keep your dog calm and comfortable during the transport and avoid any unnecessary stress or movement.

Orally administered activated charcoal (in the correct dose) is used to treat toxicity in dogs if the said patient has ingested something toxic/poisonous. However, it should be used with caution since it can be ineffective or even dangerous for the dog if neural signs of toxicity such as seizures has set it.

How to prevent toxicity in dogs?

Ways to Prevent Toxicity in Dogs: Keep human meds and cleaning products locked away Make sure your houseplants are non-toxic to dogs Keep your kitchen cabinets locked Keep make-up items away from your dog’s reach Learn about human foods/household items that are toxins for dogs

The best way to prevent poisoning in dogs is to keep your dog away from any potential toxins and to supervise your dog at all times. Here are some tips on how to prevent poisoning in dogs:

Store all toxic substances in a safe and secure place: Keep all toxic substances, such as human foods, drugs, household products, plants, and pesticides, out of your dog’s reach and sight. Use child-proof locks, cabinets, or containers to store them and label them clearly. Dispose of any unused or expired substances properly and safely.

Educate yourself and others about the dangers of toxins: Learn about the common toxins that can harm your dog and the signs of toxicity in dogs. Teach your family members, friends, and visitors about the dangers of toxins and how to prevent poisoning in dogs. Do not share your food, drugs, or products with your dog and do not let others do so either.

Check your environment for any hazards: Inspect your home, yard, and neighbourhood for any potential toxins that your dog may encounter. Remove or avoid any toxic plants, animals, or substances that may pose a risk to your dog. Be aware of any seasonal or environmental changes that may introduce new toxins to your area.

Use caution when travelling with your dog: When travelling with your dog, be careful of any unfamiliar places or situations that may expose your dog to toxins. Bring your dog’s food, water, and medication with you and do not let your dog eat or drink anything from unknown sources. Keep your dog on a leash and under your control at all times and do not let your dog explore or wander off.

Have an emergency plan: Prepare for any possible toxicity in your dog by having your emergency veterinarian’s contact information handy. Have a first aid kit and a carrier ready for your dog. Know the location and hours of the nearest emergency clinic and how to get there. Have a copy of your dog’s medical records and any medications with you.

Poisoning is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition for dogs, but it can be prevented and treated with proper care and attention. By following these tips, you can protect your dog from toxins and keep your dog healthy and happy.

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