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Poisoning ruins dog’s well-being How to provide proper first aid?

author Lucy Byrne | Health and diet

Your furry friend might get poisoned in a minute, only a few seconds of carelessness or a slow reaction is enough, especially if your dog is similar to mine and “eats everything he finds on the way”. Fortunately, my dog hasn’t been poisoned yet but I’m not willing to risk anything and want to be ready for such situation.

There is quite a wide range of things your dog might be poisoned with. Plants, blue algae or pesticides are the most common ones. If you have a garden and particularly if your dog is there without a constant supervision, I recommend you to find out which plants are toxic for dogs and not to grow them in your garden. The same applies to indoor plants. And it is not definitely a bad idea to go through wild plants to know which of them you should avoid when walking in the woods or in the meadows. You can find lists with them easily on the Internet. Also, be careful with mushrooms. They are not all toxic for dogs but it is better not to get into contact with them at all.

Your dog can also get slightly poisoned by the pesticides I have already mentioned and you might not even know about it. It’s enough to go for a walk to the field which was treated with pesticides a while ago or your dog strayed to your neighbour's treated grass. For some pesticides, a dog doesn’t have to swallow them, it is enough to breath them or to get into contact with them on skin to get poisoned. I probably do not have to add that you should pick preparations that are safe for your pets to treat your garden. You should find this information on the packaging.

Dogs are also often poisoned by blue algae. It can happen during enjoying water in natural swimming ponds or by drinking water from a puddle. Do not let your companions drink from green puddles and always take your own water in a travel bottle when you go for a walk. Besides blue algae from natural water resources, your dog can also get poisoned from the already mentioned pesticides if it is close to a treated field. Also watch out for toads when you are close to water.

One of other common causes of poisoning is poisoning from food. I already wrote articles Which food and plants are harmful for cats and Which food is dangerous for dogs on food dangerous for your pets. Not mentioning the recent problem of spreading poisoned baits, for example sausages, in parks.

Fast reaction is a must

Each poisoning might show off different symptoms. Some poisons have effects on the nervous system, others harm kidneys or liver. The most common first symptoms of poisoning can be summarized as following: discomfort, increased salivation, vomiting, impaired motor skills, apathy, loss of appetite, more frequent urinating, rapid heartbeat and muscle cramps. Depending on the type of toxin and its amount, the reaction might occur in the range from several minutes up to several hours.

Now, when we know how our companion might get poisoned and how to recognize it, it is time to tell how to best provide first aid. If the contact was made through skin, wash your dog several times and use shampoo. For any other type of poisoning, it is desirable to induce vomiting. You can achieve that best using a 3% hydrogen peroxide. Some recommend using it undiluted, some recommend diluting for 50% concentrate. To administer it easier, you can inject it into a mouth using an injection without a needle at its end.

Peroxide foams inside the stomach which induces vomiting. But it has to be administered within 4 hours from poisoning. Then, it is good to give your dog activated carbon for several days as it binds toxins and helps your dog excrete the remains of the poison and purify the organism. And of course, contact your vet as soon as possible and consult the subsequent procedure with him/her and if administering infusion is necessary as it helps to excrete toxins from the body, administer substances to suppress spasms, etc.

Have you already been unlucky and have to handle a situation with poisoning? I hope that if you have, it ended up well and the animal made it and is well now.