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Is Your Dog Experiencing Toxicity? Albuquerque Animal Hospital Veterinarians Tell You What to Do

Loving, caring, and protective, our dogs bring us great joy. Their inquisitive natures provoke them to seek and explore the world around them.

Sometimes, the things they find aren’t the safest items to ingest or play with. It’s frightening when we believe our dogs have eaten or been exposed to something poisonous.

At Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque, we understand how disturbing this scenario can be. We want to help you identify substances that are toxic to your dog. We also want to give you a list of symptoms dogs may experience when exposed to a toxin and what to do if you think your dog is suffering from an ingested or environmental toxicity.

Substances Toxic to Dogs

Here are some of the common types of substances that are toxic to dogs. These substances are harmful whether ingested, inhaled, or exposed to their skin.

Food (Ingestion)

  • Onions
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Ibuprofen
  • Most Human Medications
  • Marijuana

Other Substances (Exposure and/or ingestion)

  • Fertilizer
  • Antifreeze
  • Gasoline
  • Insecticides
  • Rodent Poison
  • Some Household Cleaners

Also, be aware that certain plants and flowers can be toxic to dogs.

This is a partial list of toxic substances. Always read the labels on products to ensure they are dog friendly, and store all potentially harmful substances out of your dog’s reach.

Symptoms of Dog Toxicity

When exposed to a toxin, your dog may show none, one, or a combination of symptoms. Symptoms may be immediate (e.g., marijuana toxicity) or take hours or days to develop (e.g., rodenticide or antifreeze exposure):

Digestive Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite

Internal Bleeding Symptoms

  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting or coughing up blood
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lethargy

Neurologic Symptoms

  • Seizures
  • Trembling
  • Stumbling
  • Collapsing
  • Vocalizing
  • Panting
  • Restlessness

Kidney Failure Symptoms

  • Increased urination
  • Decreased urination
  • Drinking more water than usual

Liver Failure Symptoms

  • Yellow gums
  • Black or tarry stools

What to Do If Your Dog Is Exposed to a Toxin

First, act quickly. 

You want to take action to alleviate the effects of an ingested toxin before it enters the GI tract and bloodstream. For skin or inhaled irritants, follow the instructions on the product label to flush or wash the product off your dog’s skin, fur, eyes, or mouth.

Do not try to induce vomiting unless your veterinarian or poison control specifically instructs you to do so.

Next, call your vet or an animal poison control hotline for further assistance. Poison control is for human poisoning, but they may be able to help. Animal Poison Control charges for their services.

Poison Control: (800) 222-1222 

Animal Poison Control: (888) 426-4435 

If your vet or poison control recommends it, or if your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above, take your dog to a veterinarian to be seen. You may need to seek emergency care at night or on the weekends. 

Bring any packaging or pharmacy label with you so the veterinarian will know the exact dosage of the toxin.

Keep in mind that not all symptoms show up immediately after exposure. For example, by the time rodenticide toxicity is causing internal bleeding or xylitol toxicity is causing liver failure, the prognosis for treatment may be very poor, and treatment may come too late to save your pet’s life.

How Veterinarians Treat Toxicity

Most dogs receive supportive care. 

IV fluids to make sure there’s plenty of hydration to help the kidneys flush the toxins out of the bloodstream. They may receive anti-nausea medications, either intravenously or orally. Veterinary charcoal may be given orally to help coat the GI tract and absorb the toxin.

Some toxins call for very specific medications to counteract the effects of the particular drug or substance.

If the dog arrives at the vet quickly enough after ingestion, there are safe medications your vet will use to induce vomiting. These limit the amount of the toxic substance in your dog’s system. Usually, they will still recommend supportive care and counteracting medications, even if your pet is able to vomit up most of the substance.

Looking for an Animal Hospital in Albuquerque?

At Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque, we can help you keep your dog’s safe and healthy. Whether you need to update your dog’s shots or are worried about your dog ingesting something unsafe, we’re here to help.

Contact us today to have your furry friend seen by our experienced and loving veterinarians.