Friday, 20 April 2012


Symptoms or dog and cat poisoning, and treatments
In This Article:
  1. Introduction
  2. Symptoms of Poisoning
  3. Treatments to Mitigate the Effects of Poisoning 
  4. If you Think Your Dog or Cat is Suffering from Poisoning
  5. Poison Control Helplines

Dogs and cats can suffer from poisoning for many reasons - some foods are toxic to dogs, if you do not know what foods can harm your cat and dog you may end-up accidentally poisoning your dog. Some times dogs are accidentally exposed to chemicals (e.g., household cleaning products), or toxins such as anti-freeze. Dogs and cats can suffer poisoning from snake bites, , poisonous toads and caterpillars, ingesting poisonous plants or rodent poison, eating grass that fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides have been applied to, ingesting and/or surface contact with road salt (de-icer), surfaces treated with chemical-based household cleaners, etc. Some dogs and cats are intentionally poisoned by unhappy neighbours. 

Dogs and cats can inhale or ingest a poisonous substance. For example a dog may absorb poison by inhaling tiny air-borne particles. Toxins may enter there blood stream via surface contact with  the pads of their paws. They may directly ingest a toxic substance or may inadvertently ingest it by brushing against/walking or lying on a toxic substance and then licking/grooming themselves.

It is always better to be pro-active, accidents happen, and so too, intentional cruelty by others - by familiarizing yourself with the symptoms and treatments of poisoning you can save your cat and dog’s life.

Symptoms of Poisoning

Absorbed, ingested and/or absorbed poisonous/toxic substances can cause a wide range of reactions such as:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Bleeding from various parts of the body
  • Chemical burns
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Elevated temperature
  • Hallucination resulting in over-reaction to sound or light
  • Heart and organ failure
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of balance - staggering
  • Lethargy
  • Mouth irritation
  • Muscle tremor and rigidity
  • Seizure
  • Skin rash
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
Some toxic substances result in immediate signs of poisoning, typically signs of poisoning are apparent within 3 days after contact with the substance. However, some poisons/toxins can be insidious - toxic load may take weeks, months or years to build-up before symptoms surface.

The earlier you notice symptoms and the quicker your dog receives treatment the lesser the chance of permanent damage or death. But there are some poisons for which there is no cure.

Treatments to Mitigate the Affects of Poisoning

The following provides a list of some of the interventions that your veterinarian may ask you to do, they may also request that you bring your dog in ASAP.

To Induce Vomiting:
Give your pet 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (1 tablespoon per 15 pounds of body weight) with an eye dropper, syringe, or turkey baster by dribbling the liquid onto the back of your animal's tongue or into his cheek pocket until swallowed. Collect any vomit and take it, along with the poison container or other substance that you think you dog may have ingested and take it to the veterinarian. Do not induce vomiting unless you've been asked to do so.

To Dilute Caustic Poisons such as pine oils, detergents, bleaches, and swimming pool chemicals:
Give your dog or cat water, cow or goat milk, or egg whites. 
Activated charcoal is helpful to help absorb herbicides, pesticides, overdose of multivitamins, conventional drugs and other substances. Activated charcoal must be administered within 60 minutes of poisoning, and prior to onset of symptoms. Activated charcoal should not be used if your dog or cat is: exhibiting symptoms of poisoning, has ingested a corrosive substance.

To Remove Absorbed Poisons:
Absorbed poisons are substances that get on your pet’s paws and coat and are absorbed through the skin. 
Road salt is one of the most common of such substances and can cause serious damage to health.
Remember your dog walks on, lies on, and licks the floor, Don't use chemical based cleaners to clean floors, other horizontal or vertical surfaces that your dog comes into contact with. Use dog and cat-friendly, natural household cleaning products, examples in this article.
Absorbed poisoning can happen through ingestion when the animal grooms himself. 
For oil-based toxins (petroleum products) use a gentle natural soap and herbal rinse. Examples in this article.
Carefully vacuum powdery poisons away because water can activate certain toxins. 
If the poison is in your dog or cat’s eye, carefully flush the eye with water or a sterile saline solution. A simple saline solution eye flush recipe is provided in this article.
To remove toxins from a dog or cat's paws you can use a natural paw soak recipe.  Simple, natural paw soak recipes are provided in this article.
Herbs such as milk thistle help support the liver and aid in detoxing the body.

Inhaled poisons include aerosol sprays, carbon monoxide, gases, and other fumes inhaled by your pet that you may not consider poison to dogs or cats because you use them safely on a regular basis. Quickly get your dog and cat to fresh air and administer Rescue Breathing if necessary.

Carry your dog or cat if at all possible, to prevent increased circulation of venom throughout his body via walking. Get him to an animal emergency centre ASAP.

Insect Bites

Grapes and Raisins
If your dog has eaten grapes or raisins go to this article to learn about:
  • Symptoms of toxicity
  • Risk factors for toxicity
  • Treatments

Other Foods That Can Cause Toxicity
To learn about other foods that can cause toxicity go to this article.

If You Think Your Dog or Cat Is Suffering From Poisoning
(e.g. food poisoning, chemical poisoning, insect or snake bite toxins)

If you think your dog or cat is suffering from symptoms related to poisoning from food, plants , chemicals, snake bite, etc., call your emergency clinic or contact a pet poison control centre right away. 
Poison Control Centre Helplines
Canada, USA, Caribbean
  • Pet Poison Helpline: call 855-764-7661
  • ASPCA Poison Help Line: call 888-426-443
There are errors on the ASPCA's list of dangerous and poisonous items. For example - aloe vera juice, fresh lemon, select dairy products, garlic, chamomile, other specific herbs and herbal teas such as decaffeinated green tea and rooibos tea are actually not poisonous for your dog. You can read my articles on those items to learn more.
  • PDSA Animal Poison Line (APL): call 01202 509000

Holistic Support

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 


  1. I just wanted to say thank you so very much for having this article. I just lost a small dog and have a large dog sick and was not sure what they may have gotten into. it was too late for my lil guy but this article just helped give my big girl a fighting chance. Thanks again!

    1. Hi McKenzie - I hope you girl is able to pull through.

  2. Very informative and I see that I am not the only one who suspects a neighbor is poisoning our dog. I thought I was being paranoid but it seems to be food poisoning, diarhea and vomiting for a week. I will hose down the fence next to the neighbor in question and see to it that our dog stays far away.

  3. I will appreciate any suggestions, recommendations, opinions on what else it could be if a little dog has diarrhea and vomiting for a month, and veterinarians do not know what that is. Thank you.

    1. Many commercial dry dog foods are full of toxins and carcinogens that can cause great upset to a dog's GI tract. Chemical-based dewormers, veterinarian prescribed insect deterrents and vaccinations are another source of such of such upset. To comment further I would need to know more about your dog - what food you are using, what kind of health products and regimen you are following including oral health and other grooming products, what kind of cleaners you use in your home, what you are suing in your yard, and more - you would require a consultation.

  4. how i wish, i seen and read this article few days earlier from now, maybe we can still save our loving dog... :( we tried to revived him but didnt work... "dodo" was not just a dog for us but a family member... :(

    1. im sorry to hear about Dodo. My dog Marley is very ill he chewed the cap off of ant poison. im so worried about him not making it i cant ven tend him my husband has to. He is a pitt/lab mix and was a gift to me from my sons and i love him but i have a fear of death and sickness i cant handle tending him. thank God for my husband cause its gonna break my heart if he dont make it

  5. my friends dog has come in contact with a toxin that has caused him to have seizures and difficulty walking. They have taken him to the Univ. of Florida for treatment. At this time, he is still having some seizures. 14lb shih tzo. It also has effected his pancreas. Is there something else they can do besides giving him distilled water to detox his system?

    1. For this a consultation is required -

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  6. Hi Karen! Due to severe allergies i have switched my dog's food todick van patten's Natural balance limited ingredients diet potato & kangaroo,can you please tell me if this is a good choice.My dog is pretty much allergic to everything and i have been trying different things to help with his ear infections but no luck.please help


Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Practitioner – Dogs and Cats
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer