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Pets And Poison: What Dog Owners Need To Know

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Even the most careful dog owners can face a situations where their pet has eaten something toxic. Some things are poisonous for dogs that aren't poisonous for humans, and other things are poisonous to most mammals. Whatever the case, you need to be vigilant in keeping your pet out of harm's way, but you also need to know common poisons. Quick medical action can sometimes save your dog's life.

Common Poison Sources

The first step to preventing accidental poison is to know the most toxic and likely sources of poison; you can then work to keep them away from your dog. Some substances are actually poisons, where they cause cell death and system failure. Others cause other health problems can can be fatal.

Typical poisoning cases include:

  • nuts. Dogs love nuts, but most nuts are not good for dogs. Walnuts, especially, are troublesome, as some can contain a toxin that cause seizures. Pecans, almonds, pistachios, and hickory nuts are also bad for dogs. Many nuts cause stomach upset, blockages, and pancreatitis. 
  • geraniums and other plants. Some dogs don't eat plants, but others who love frolicking through long grass or gardens may eat plants accidentally. Some plants, like geraniums, are extremely toxic, where even tiny portion of leaf or flower can lead to death. Other flowers to avoid include buttercups, lily of the valley, mistletoe, and daffodils. 
  • rodent poison. Unfortunately, mouse poison can be accidentally eaten by dogs, and even a tiny portion should be taken very seriously. Different poisons act in different ways, so you need to make sure you are aware of which poison was ingested. This is an emergency and your vet will need to take swift action to save your pet, even if you see no symptoms.
  • chocolate. Chocolate is a more commonly-known poison for dogs. Dark chocolate is especially dangerous. 

First Response

Your first response should be to call your vet as soon as you notice your dog has eaten something harmful. Some pet owners will wait until they see symptoms, but sometimes the effects of the poisons go on unseen inside the body before you notice anything is wrong. By the time you do notice, it can be too late.

You vet will instruct you on what to do. Common responses include inducing vomiting or giving IV fluids. In rare cases surgery may be needed. 

For more information on pet poisoning, contact a local animal hospital