Poisoning is always a hazard with dogs, especially if the dogs are roaming loose. Dogs are scavengers and like to root in garbage cans, dumps and other areas that may be treated with rodent or other vermin poisons. There is also the possibility of dogs being maliciously poisoned or picking up poisons around the house. Insecticides, plant sprays and paints should be kept locked up out of the reach o£ dogs and children.

There are many kinds of poisons and antidotes. Toxicology is beyond the scope of this chapter. But you should know the symptoms of poisoning and the standard treatments.

Symptoms of poisoning

These vary with the type of poison, but the general symptoms are convulsions, burned mouth (alkalies and acids) and unconsciousness.

First Aid

Get to work quickly, you may not have much time. Have someone call a veterinarian and describe the dog's symptoms.

If you know what kind of poison your dog ate, read the label on the bottle or can and follow directions as to antidotes.

If you don't know what kind of poison your dog ate, proceed as follows:

If his mouth is burned, don't make him vomit. If it isn't, then make him vomit. You can cause him to vomit by giving him a solution of soap and water, equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water, two teaspoonfuls of table salt in a cup of water, or a regular emetic, such as ipecac, if you have it. Follow directions on label if you use a prepared emetic. Otherwise, put the other solution, whichever one you use, in a bottle and pour into a pouch in the side of the dog's mouth.

After the dog vomits, give him milk or slightly beaten egg whites. Put the milk or egg whites in a small bottle and pour into a mouth pouch.

Follow this by giving the dog a teaspoonful of Epsom salts in a little warm water. Get the dog to the veterinarian as soon as you can.

Lead poisoning

Dogs can get lead poisoning from eating paint.


A dog suffering from lead poisoning will show most of the symptoms of rabies, plus a painful stiffened gait. If you are sure the dog has not been exposed to rabies, treat for poison. Otherwise, handle him as for rabies.

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