If you believe your pet has ingested poisonous substances or has been exposed to toxins, emergency veterinary care is essential. Any products that are toxic to humans are generally also harmful to pets. That includes cleaning products, rat poisons and antifreeze. The symptoms of poisoning can vary significantly depending on the toxin the pet was exposed to, but some warning signs that a dog or cat has been poisoned include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Excessive drooling
- Weakness or sluggishness
- Pale gums
- Excessive thirst or urination
- Racing heart rate
Always keep the phone number of an emergency veterinary clinic or hospital somewhere that you can access if fast, like in your phone's contacts. It's also a smart idea to keep the numbers for a pet poison center handy so you can call quickly to get advice for immediate treatment that could save your pet's life.
Observe Your Pet
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, check their condition for the symptoms on the list above. Is the pet bleeding or behaving strangely? How responsive is he or she? Is the animal experiencing seizures or convulsions? Any of these could be signs of poisoning, and you should take your pet to the nearest animal emergency hospital.
If possible, take the package that contains the poison your pet ingested if you know what it is. If that's not feasible, at least write down the exact name of the substance. If your pet has vomited, place that in a sealable bag and bring it with you to the vet. Any information you can give to the veterinarian can be of help.
If you believe your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, seek veterinary help immediately. Don't wait for symptoms to develop. The faster your pet is treated, the less time the poison will have to be absorbed by your pet's body.
Avoid Home Remedies
Unless you have direct advice from your veterinarian or a poison control center, don't administer any home remedies to a pet you suspect has been poisoned. Giving the pet milk or food can make the problem worse.
When it comes to treating poisoning, time is of the essence, and the best course of action is to call an emergency veterinary hospital for immediate help and to let them know you're on your way. A poison control center can also provide valuable advice on what you may be able to do to help your pet during the time it takes to get them to the vet. Above all, stay calm so that you can make focused decisions that increase your pet's chances for a full recovery.