Dogs and toxins from antifreeze to venom

Apart from other dogs, what is the one thing that all dogs love virtually all the time? You guessed it: food! Dogs are very much like people in that they eat out of necessity, boredom, interest, nutritional compulsions, and sometimes; by mistake. Even the most well-trained dog could be subject to accidental poisoning. Many poisons also taste fantastic, and are easily accessible around your home. The question is, are you prepared to assist your dog, should this ever occur? The following are some common sources of potentially fatal poisonings, including symptoms, and treatments.


Antifreeze is deadly to dogs, even in small amounts. Antifreeze contains compounds that destroy the liver and red blood cells once ingested. It is, in fact, a rather frequent killer of pets. The reason for this is that antifreeze tastes sweet; like a syrupy candy. Antifreeze must be wiped up immediately following a spill, and at all times it should be isolated from dogs, other pets, and children. If your dog does ingest antifreeze, you should look for the following signs:


Induce vomiting. Seek immediate emergency veterinary care.


If consumed, these products will impact your dog’s cardiovascular system. Chocolate and caffeine increase the heart rate in dogs, leading to heart problems, and breathing difficulties. If your dog ingests large amounts of caffeine, it can prove fatal. Here’s what to watch for:


Induce vomiting. Seek immediate veterinary care, to include gastric lavage, and activated charcoal treatments.

Raw Salmon:

Any raw meat, but particularly salmon, can contain a fluke-like parasite that is highly specialized. Once ingested, the fluke spawns and lives in the intestines, where it produces very toxic substances that infect the entire body, causing the dog to become very ill rather quickly. Symptoms are typically as follows:


Antibiotics are the only way to prevent your dog’s death. Dogs that survive this type of infection will then be immune to recurrences.

Raisins & Grapes:

Dogs who ingest large amounts of raisins or grapes may place their life in severe danger. Both of these foods contain toxins that attack the liver. Survival rates of this type of poisoning is only 50%, so it is vital to get your dog immediate attention should you suspect it has eaten large quantities of grapes or raisins. Symptoms will include:


Induce vomiting. Stomach lavage. Activated charcoal. Intravenous fluid therapy


Mushrooms can be deadly to dogs. In America, there are numerous types that will cause a very quick, painful death. For this reason, it is imperative to watch your dog closely outside, especially in the fall and other moist times of year where mushrooms are prolific. There are many different types of deadly mushrooms that attack different parts of the body, so the symptoms will vary greatly. You can expect the following:


Induce vomiting immediately. Activated charcoal. Treatment for liver disease.

Lead Poisoning:

Lead poisoning is much more prevalent in dogs than many would think. Dogs who ingest paint chips or painted wood, fishing sinkers, weights, or any other material containing lead are in grave danger. If you recognize the following symptoms, your dog need emergency veterinary treatment:


Blood testing. Extensive intravenous therapy.

Insecticides & Pesticides:

While there are simply too many of these to make an exhaustive list, insecticides and pesticides can prove fatal to your dog within minutes of ingestion. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that you store and use these items where your dog will not be exposed to them. If for some reason your dog ingests or inhales any type of the mentioned items, you should seek immediate veterinary care. Symptoms will vary greatly according to the type of item ingested:


Varies widely according to what was ingested. Contact a poison control center and seek immediate veterinary assistance.


A dog can sustain a venomous snake bite much more easily than a human. Dogs have very tough skin, and venom does not affect them as significantly as it does one of us. However, a snakebite can be fatal. If you observe an actual bite occur, or suspect that your dog has been bitten, first ensure that the snake (or other venomous creature is no longer in the area.) Remove your dog to a safe location and attempt to keep them still. You might notice the following symptoms:


Antibiotics sometimes help. Benadryl may be recommended by your vet if you are in the field. Anti-Venom. Do not suction wound site. Do not use tourniquets or make incisions at the bite site.

Your natural responsibility to your dog should mitigate most of these types of poisonings. However, we all know that dogs are indiscriminate eaters, and that they sometimes eat and expose themselves to toxic or even deadly items. Be observant, and be prepared, and you will greatly reduce the chance that your dog will become a casualty of toxins. For more information, and to report a suspected poisoning, contact the APCC at: 888-426-4435.