Vergiftung beim Hund

Poisoning in dogs: recognising symptoms & acting correctly

What a lovely walk with your pelt-nose! Once again, you went for a long walk along the edge of the forest between the fields. Your four-legged friend really let off steam, explored bushes, rummaged through piles of leaves and sniffed extensively. But a short time later, you get a rude awakening at home: Your dog is salivating, gagging, vomiting and obviously in a lot of pain, with cramps in his stomach. What has happened? Just a moment ago he was fine!

Could it be poisoning?

Unfortunately, this scene can become reality all too quickly! For you as a dog owner, it is therefore essential to know how to recognise poisoning in dogs, how poison ingestion can occur and what to do in an emergency.

Symptoms of poisoning in dogs: Act quickly now!

Symptoms of poisoning show up in very different ways in dogs, so it is all the more important to take even the smallest signs seriously and immediately initiate first aid measures and consult a vet or drive to the veterinary clinic for treatment! In an emergency, less than an hour can make the difference between life and death!

Symptoms of poisoning

The following symptoms may indicate poisoning in dogs:

  • Muscle tremors
  • Colic, cramps
  • Increased salivation
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Breathing problems up to paralysis of breathing
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Disorientation
  • Restlessness
  • Circulatory problems
  • Weakness
  • Apathy, unconsciousness
  • Discoloured urine
  • Pale mucous membranes

Every organism reacts differently to a toxic substance - sometimes even a small amount of the toxic substance per kilogram of body weight is enough to cause dangerous poisoning! Therefore, first of all, all these symptoms of poisoning should be taken seriously as an indication of poisoning and appropriate measures should be taken.

What to do in case of poisoning symptoms?

If you directly observe your dog ingesting a supposedly toxic substance, you should immediately try to reverse the ingestion. As long as the toxic substance has not yet reached the oesophagus or the gastrointestinal tract, it will at best not yet have an effect on the circulation.

Important: Vomiting should not be induced! This costs unnecessary time and could lead to complications.

First aid: Poisoning in dogs

Even if it is difficult: try to stay calm and take these important measures:

  1. Give charcoal tablets: Give your dog charcoal tablets immediately (!) in the appropriate dosage. The following applies: You should give your dog one gram of charcoal per kilogram of body weight. The activated charcoal can bind the toxin in the stomach and intestines of your dog and thus prevent the toxin from entering the circulation.
  2. Prone position in case of unconsciousness: If your dog is unconscious or fainting, place him in the prone position to keep the airway open in case of swelling or vomiting.
  3. Go to the vet or animal hospital - as quickly as possible! If possible, bring the alleged poison with you to the treatment.

Causes of dog poisoning

The triggers of poisoning in dogs are very versatile - even supposedly harmless things in the household can become a serious danger. However, fear is notoriously a bad advisor, so knowledge of the sources of danger is still the best way to prevent it.

Chantal from the We love HUNTER team:

"Floki my greedy Labrador is really super-curious! Whenever we were out and about, he stuck his nose in everywhere, sniffing and digging for all he was worth! Then I heard from friends how quickly dogs can get poisoned. But it was just too exhausting for me to have to chase him all the time and check him meticulously. Anti-poison bait training was just the right thing: Floki now always shows me when he has found something exciting and doesn't touch it immediately.

In this overview you will find some examples of toxic substances that can cause poisoning in dogs:

  • Medication: Tablets such as aspirin with the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid or medications such as ibuprofen, which are actually intended for the human organism, are very dangerous for our four-legged friends. Ibuprofen, for example, can cause internal bleeding and kidney failure; paracetamol poisoning can show up in discoloured urine or pale mucous membranes.
  • Poisonous plants: Whether it's the angel's trumpet outside on the terrace or the poinsettia on the windowsill - a number of poisonous plants can be dangerous for your dog.
  • Luxury foods: Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Alcohol and the nicotine contained in cigarettes can also cause poisoning.
  • Food: Caution is advised even with normal food; besides chocolate, grapes and sultanas are also not for your dog. Stone fruit seeds can also be dangerous, as they may contain prussic acid.
  • Pesticides such as herbicides or insecticides (e.g. slug pellets due to the toxin metaldehyde), fertilisers or other plant protection products should be avoided with your dog. Especially in spring, fertilisers and pesticides are also used extensively in agriculture - vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness and cramps can be the consequences.
  • Rat poison is particularly dangerous because the toxin has a delayed effect - it is therefore a gradual poisoning in dogs. The signs of poisoning often only become apparent after days!
  • Detergents and cleaning agents: Pet owners should close cleaning agents and detergents securely. These products can irritate the mucous membranes.
  • Antifreeze tends to taste sweet and might therefore arouse your dog's curiosity, but it is highly toxic
  • Poisoned bait: Every now and then, the media report on sneakily placed poisoned baits, where, for example, attractive food for dogs is spiked with sharp objects or rat poison - so be careful!

Prevent poisoning in dogs: 7 tips for dog owners

Of course, as a dog owner you want to protect your pet from poisoning! However, this is not easy at home or during daily walks - these 7 tips can help:

  1. Eliminate sources of danger in the house: Whether the poinsettia on the windowsill, medicines, cleaning agents or certain foods - all substances that are dangerous for dogs should be out of reach.
  2. Eliminate sources of danger in the garden: Rhododendrons in the garden, pesticides or fertilisers - try to minimise the risks for your four-legged friend and decide against poisonous garden plants and chemical agents in the garden.
  3. Muzzle: Annoying, but if it can protect your four-legged friend's life, it might be bearable? A muzzle prevents your pet from eating something that is not good for him.
  4. Do not leave your dog unattended: Even if it seems idyllic when your pet is allowed to romp through the orchard - he may be safer here with a leash and always at your side, because this way you can keep an eye on what arouses his interest and whether it could be dangerous for him.
  5. Avoid puddles and freshly fertilised fields: Chemicals from agriculture can accumulate in stagnant water; young, fresh grain plants may encourage nibbling. So it's best not to let your dog roam the fields at fertiliser time. And ideally, you should always have enough liquid for your dog so that you don't have to rely on other sources of water when you are out and about.
  6. Prepare for an emergency: One gram of activated charcoal per kilogram of your dog's body weight is necessary to provide effective first aid in case of poisoning. You should therefore always have the right dose for your dog in stock and ready to hand.
  7. Join local social media groups: As incomprehensible as it may seem to us dog lovers, it happens again and again that dog haters place nasty poison baits in the neighbourhood to specifically harm animals. The quickest way to get information about this is often via social media, for example in local groups where such discoveries are announced.

Conclusion: Even if caution is advised - both at home and out and about - you now have a good overview of which substances could be dangerous for your four-legged friend. You also know how to react in an emergency. This knowledge is the best protection so that your pet is not exposed to any danger. How do you deal with the risks? We look forward to your comments!

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