Many people think that a dog needs to consume or digest a product in order for it to be poisoned. Poisoning can occur by ingestion, inhalation, injection and absorption any of these methods is a pet emergency.

The general rule of thumb is that any products that are harmful for people are equally harmful for pets.

Take cleaning products, rodent poisons and antifreeze as examples. Logically, we can read, so a quick glance at a label tells us the contents of a container is hazardous, assuming of course it is still in its original packaging. Items that are stored in sheds are often decanted into coke bottles and jars but not re-labelled.

A scenario would be a drain cleaner in a plastic drinks bottle, the dog thinks it is a new Kong type toy and pierces it, oozing out the poison. By this time the dog has been in contact with the poison, snout and inside the mouth, possibly throat and lungs as well as paws, even before the dog had chance to sniff and back off.

If the dog’s skin or eyes are exposed to a toxic product (such as in that scenario), and there is no label, you cannot check for safety instructions addressed at people who are exposed to the product.

If it is in its original container the label might instruct you to wash your hands with soap and water when exposed to the product, in that case wash your pet’s skin with soap and water. Avoid getting any into the dog’s eyes, mouth or nose. If the label says flush the skin or eyes with water, do so for your pet as soon as possible.

Think about your own safety, wear gloves and apron if available. Whilst doing this, have someone call a vet.

If the dog has consumed the product do not induce vomiting unless advised by the vet.

You may need to have the following information available:

  • Species, breed, age, sex and weight. Possibly the number of other animals involved
  • Symptoms: (diarrhoea and vomiting, fits, seizures, collapse etc)
  • Name/description of the substance; the amount the dog was exposed to; and the length of time of the exposure.
  • Ensure you have the product container/packaging available for reference

Collect any material your pet may have vomited or chewed, (wear gloves) and place it in a plastic sealable bag to take with you.