When to Call Poison Control for Dogs

When you suspect your dog might have ingested something poisonous, there’s no time to waste in seeking help. Pet poison control was established to offer a fast, direct option for assistance in evaluating your dog and figuring out how to respond in a potential poisoning situation.

For dogs, poisoning can take many forms. In addition to cleaners and toxins found in your house, dogs can get poisoned by consuming leaves, berries from certain indoor and outdoor plants and even compost piles. Several common human foods, including chocolate, grapes, onions and alcohol, are poisonous and potentially fatal for dogs.

The faster you seek medical guidance for a possible dog poisoning, the more likely you will get your dog appropriate medical care before the full effects of this poisoning take hold. Here’s a quick guide to identifying the symptoms of a poisoning and getting connected to a poison control center for dogs in your area.

Common Dog Poisoning Symptoms

The signs of dog poisoning can take many forms, depending on the cause and severity. While vomiting and diarrhea are common symptoms in dogs, other possible symptoms include:

  • Bloody stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lethargy
  • Nosebleeds
  • Inability to urinate
  • Seizures

These symptoms can identify potential poisonings when you haven’t directly observed your dog ingesting a poisonous substance. If you see poison consumption first-hand, though, don’t wait for symptoms to develop, as this is a sign that the poison is already in your dog’s bloodstream. Take action before symptoms develop by contacting poison control for dogs and providing all the information you have about your dog’s likely poisoning.

How Do I Find a Poison Control for Dogs Near Me?

If you have an established relationship with a local veterinary office, they may have a 24/7 poison hotline you can call to get professional guidance on how to care for your dog. That hotline can help direct you to services that can address your dog’s poisoning and stave off the worst effects of this medical emergency.

You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Keep in mind this hotline charges a $75 service fee in exchange for rapid access to veterinarians and vet health assistants to guide you through the next steps in caring for your dog.

What to Expect When Calling Animal Poison Control

When you first contact a poison control center hotline, the agent will want to gather essential information to help them assess the state of the emergency and provide the best guidance and remote support as you care for your dog. This information will likely include your dog’s breed, age, weight and sex. In addition, the agent will likely want to know if your dog is exhibiting any symptoms and will want to know any details you can offer about the poisoning, including the type of poison ingested, the amount and when the poisoning occurred.

If your dog is already experiencing severe symptoms, such as seizures or a loss of consciousness, don’t call poison control. Take your dog immediately to an emergency vet clinic to receive medical care.

Tips to Prepare for a Poison Emergency

While no dog owner wants to envision a scenario where their beloved pet is poisoned, it’s possible that your dog will ingest something poisonous at some point in their life. Rather than hope such a situation never occurs, take the following steps to be prepared if an accidental poisoning does occur:

  • Keep a poison control hotline, and contact info for local emergency vet services, in an accessible location in your home. This information should be accessible to family members, dog sitters, close neighbors and anyone else who will be caring for your dog.
  • Stock up on emergency supplies. Your home’s pet emergency kit should include common supplies for home treatment of poisonings, including hydrogen peroxide, saline eye solution, artificial tear gel and soap to clean out open wounds.
  • Identify potential sources of poisoning and keep them away from your dog. If you have small children, educate them on the risks dogs face when ingesting chocolate, raisins or other foods containing harmful toxins, or consider controlling when your children have access to these food items.

Poisonings can be terrifying for dogs and their owners, but a fast, prepared response is the best thing you can do to care for your dog and minimize the risks of a poisoning event. When dogs ingest harmful toxins, every minute counts—and your ability to quickly connect with emergency medical services could make a life-saving difference.

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