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Preventing Toxicity in Dogs | Toxic Food & Ingredients

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While it may often seem tempting to feed your dog a little of what you’re enjoying at dinner time, certain foods should be avoided at all costs as they can cause stomach pain, digestive problems and – in extreme cases – may even prove fatal to your pet.

Our pets really do have a habit themselves of eating potentially dangerous objects and substances, both at home and outside. Young pets in particular, who are naturally more inquisitive and like to explore items with their mouths, are most at risk. Puppies and young adult dogs are often presented to the vet with vomiting caused by swallowing foreign materials – toys, wood, corn cobs, peach stones and bones are fairly common, but anything is possible! Quite often these items can pass through the digestive tract with supportive care provided by the vet, others will require surgical removal if they are causing an obstruction.

Poisonings are also common; fortunately the majority are accidental rather than malicious.  Poisonings in dogs include chocolate, slug baits, rat baits, human prescription medicines, car anti-freeze and, more recently, grapes or raisins. Chocolate poisoning is most frequently seen by vets around Easter time when families hide chocolate eggs in the garden for the children – please be sure that they recover them all!!!

Other common household and garden products are also poisonous to dogs and should be kept safely out of their reach at all times.

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Which food is poisonous for dogs?

You should never feed your dog:

Ensure you keep all of these foods and ingredients safely out of your dog’s reach. If you suspect they have ingested any of these toxic foods or ingredients – even just a small amount – you should seek medical advice from your vet immediately.

What other substances are poisonous to dogs?

Alongside food which is toxic to dogs, many other common household substances are also poisonous to your pet:

What are the symptoms of poisoning in dogs?

Different poisonous substances will affect your dog in different ways, due to a number of factors including their breed, age and weight.

You should keep a close eye on symptoms which may indicate they have ingested a toxic or poisonous substance,including:

What should you do if you suspect your dog has been poisoned?

While it’s essential to act quickly, do not panic. Always try to remain calm if you suspect your dog has been poisoned, as your pet is likely to become more distressed if they sense you are agitated.

  1. If possible, try to collect any of the suspected substance involved, plus any stools or vomit, as this may help your vet to identify the cause of the problem

  1. You can call Animal PoisonLine  which is the only 24-hour specialised emergency telephone service in the UK dedicated to helping pet owners who are worried their pet may have been exposed to something harmful

  1. Do not induce vomiting, or give your dog any home antidotes

  1. Your vet will need to know the age, breed, gender and weight of your dog, plus any symptoms and information you can provide around the incident. They will then advise you on the necessary steps to treat your dog

  2. If your dog has a seizure, loses consciousness or is struggling to breathe, take them to your vet or emergency animal clinic immediately. A delay could prove fatal, so the sooner your dog is treated, the more likely they are to recover fully.

Treatment of poisoning by vets often includes induction of vomiting to remove toxin from the body, binding of remaining toxins with activated charcoal, and supportive care.  In certain cases, a specific antidote can be administered.  The best advice we can give to owners is to avoid having in the home or garden, any substances, which could be a potential risk to their pet.  If that is not possible then safe and secure storage is mandatory!

Download a useful guide produced by the British Veterinary Association on pet poisons (opens as a PDF).

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