Dogs can easily be poisoned by ingesting any of a number of toxic chemicals in your home. Chemical poisoning most commonly occurs when dogs:
- Drink a tainted substance
- Clean a toxic substance from their fur
- Eat a poisoned pest
- Eat a toxic substance
Types of poisons:
Most of our homes contain dozens of chemicals, many of which could cause dog poisoning.
Most Dangerous Caustic Chemicals
- Lighter fluid
- Drain cleaner
- Floor, shoe and furniture polish
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Paint thinner
- Paint remover
- Oven cleaner
- Wood preservatives (creosote)
- Dishwasher soap
- Battery acid
- Phenol based substances (disinfectants, fungicides, photographic developers)
- Chlorine Bleach
- Etching solutions
Symptoms of Poisoning from Caustic Chemicals
- Ulcerated or inflamed tongue
- Grayish yellow burns on lips, mouth or tongue
- Bloody vomit
- Abdominal pains
- Inability to eat because of sore mouth
- Bad smell emanating from mouth because of dying tissue
- Excessive salivation
Other Common Toxic Chemicals
- Aerosol sprays
- Phosphorus (non safety kitchen matches)
- Naphthalene (mothballs)
- Boric Acid (shaving lotion)
- Carbon tetrachloride (fire extinguisher, liquid)
- Borax compound (fire extinguisher, powder)
- Fabric softener
- Pine oil
Symptoms of Poisoning from These Chemicals
- Abdominal pain
- Trembling limbs and trouble walking
If you suspect your dog has been poisoned:
Try to determine what substance is responsible. Read the product's label for the list of ingredients and for any instructions on accidental ingestion. Immediately call your vet, the nearest animal-emergency clinic, or the National Animal Poison Control Center at (888)4-Ani-Help (264-4357).
Observe your dog's symptoms. If he's vomiting or has diarrhea, you may want to take samples to the vet to help with diagnosis. The treatment will vary according to the poison, and whether it has been ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Be prepared by having a good dog emergency handbook, the number to the National Animal Control Center and the number to your nearest vet emergency clinic on hand. Plus, stock your medicine cabinet or pantry with these items:
– Liquid antacid
– Vegetable oil (to coat the intestines or remove substances on fur)
– Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting, if indicated)
– Diluted vinegar or lemon juice (to help neutralize an alkali)
Also know how much your dog weighs, as treatments are often measured out in proportion to the animal's weight.
Preventing chemical poisoning:
- Remove any harmful products from cupboards, closets or storage areas.
- Lock products in cabinets or behind child-proof locks.
- Read the labels on all cleaners and household products. If you wouldn't want a child to play with it, keep it away from your dog.
- When cleaning indoors, close doors if you must leave any cleaners standing in sinks or toilets, and to prevent your dog from licking spilled products
- When painting or varnishing, or spraying herbicides or insecticides, keep your dog out of the area for at least 24 hours or until after the substance dries
- Dog-proof your garage or shed by making sure the lids of all chemical products are tightly closed. Dogs are not careful of the objects they brush up against and the areas they walk into. Chemical poisoning usually happens if a dog drinks a tainted substance (water on top of a paint can, for example.)
- Put gasoline, kerosene and turpentine in a locked cabinet or storeroom.
- Stash antifreeze out of reach; with a sweet taste from ethylene glycol, it's one of the most common agents of animal poisoning.
- Clean any leaking fluid from the garage floor or driveway.
- Dog-proof your garden. Snail bait and other ground chemicals can be deadly to dogs. Rodent poison, and poisoned rodents, are another potential source of trouble. And watch what you spray on your plants; your dog can become very sick from nibbling on a leaf sprayed with pesticides. Check your local nursery for harmless, organic alternatives.