Symptoms of Poisoned Dog: How to Recognize and Respond Quickly

As dog owners, we all want to keep our furry friends healthy and safe. Unfortunately, dogs can be exposed to toxins in their environment that can lead to poisoning. Poisoning in dogs can be caused by a variety of substances, including household chemicals, medications, plants, and even some foods.

It is essential for pet owners to be aware of the common signs and symptoms of poisoning in dogs, as early detection and treatment can be crucial in saving their lives. Some of the most common symptoms of dog poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, seizures, and tremors. Additionally, dogs may experience drooling, foaming at the mouth, and irritation of the mouth after eating or chewing on something toxic.

If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Your veterinarian can perform tests to determine the cause of the poisoning and provide appropriate treatment. In this article, we will explore the common signs and symptoms of poisoning in dogs, as well as some of the substances that can be toxic to them.

Common Poisonous Substances

There are many substances that could be poisonous to dogs, and it is important for dog owners to be aware of them. Here are some of the most common poisonous substances:

  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which is toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and even death.
  • Xylitol: Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly found in sugar-free gum, candy, and other products. It can cause a rapid insulin release in dogs, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure.
  • Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Symptoms of grape or raisin poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased urine production.
  • Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Symptoms of onion or garlic poisoning include weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and pale gums.
  • Antifreeze: Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol which is highly toxic to dogs. It has a sweet taste which can attract dogs. Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, and kidney failure.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested any of these substances, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. Early treatment can make a big difference in the outcome of poisoning cases.

Symptoms of Poisoning

Dogs are curious animals, and they love to explore their environment with their nose and mouth. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to them ingesting substances that are toxic to them. Some common signs of poisoning in dogs include:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme salivation
  • Nausea or dry heaving
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away. Some toxins can be fatal if not treated promptly.

It’s also important to note that the symptoms of poisoning can vary depending on the type of toxin and the amount ingested. For example, some toxins may cause gastrointestinal irritation that leads to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dogs may first lose their appetites before other signs develop.

Other toxins may affect the nervous system, causing seizures, tremors, or difficulty breathing. Some toxins can even cause damage to the liver or kidneys, leading to organ failure.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxin, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Call your veterinarian or a pet poison control hotline right away for guidance on what to do next.

What to Do If You Suspect Poisoning

If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, it’s important to act quickly. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Call Your Vet: If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, call your veterinarian immediately. They will be able to provide guidance on what to do next and may ask you to bring your dog in for treatment.
  • Identify the Poison: If possible, try to identify the substance your dog has ingested. This will help your veterinarian determine the appropriate treatment.
  • Remove Your Dog from the Area: If you suspect that your dog has ingested something toxic, remove them from the area to prevent further exposure.
  • Don’t Induce Vomiting: Do not try to induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian. In some cases, inducing vomiting can make the situation worse.
  • Collect a Sample: If you are able to, collect a sample of the substance your dog has ingested. This can help your veterinarian identify the poison and determine the best course of treatment.
  • Monitor Your Dog: Keep a close eye on your dog’s symptoms and behavior. If their condition worsens, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Remember, time is of the essence when it comes to treating a poisoned dog. Don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care if you suspect that your dog has ingested something toxic.


Preventing poisoning in dogs is essential to keep them safe and healthy. Here are some tips to help you prevent poisoning:

  • Keep all medications, chemicals, and cleaning products out of reach of your dog. Store them in secure cabinets or high shelves.
  • Do not give your dog human medications without consulting with your veterinarian first. Some human medications can be toxic to dogs.
  • Keep your dog away from toxic plants. Some common toxic plants include lilies, azaleas, and daffodils. If you are unsure if a plant is toxic, consult with your veterinarian.
  • Do not leave food or drinks that are toxic to dogs within reach. Some common toxic foods include chocolate, grapes, and onions.
  • Make sure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations and parasite preventatives. Flea and tick medication poisoning can occur when pets receive high doses of preventatives.
  • Supervise your dog when they are outside. Dogs can easily ingest toxic substances, such as antifreeze, when they are outside unsupervised.

By following these tips, you can help prevent poisoning in your dog and keep them safe and healthy. If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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