What Do You Do If Your Animal Has Been Poisoned?


Quick Answer

If you suspect your pet has ingested poison, remove the pet and any other pets or children from the area immediately. Check the pet's breathing and general condition, but do not administer any antidote or induce vomiting until you've spoken to a veterinarian or poison control center, says Pet Poison Helpline.

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Full Answer

If you know what the pet has ingested, save a sample of the material along with any packaging. With the package in hand, call your veterinarian or poison control hotline at once. Don't wait to see if the pet gets sick; its chances of survival are greater if it receives prompt emergency care. The doctor or poison control agent can instruct you on what measures to take based on the poison involved, Pet Poison Helpline explains.

In 2014, the most frequently reported cause of poisoning in dogs was chocolate, states Pet Poison Helpline. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which cause severe toxicity in some dogs and cats. Dark chocolates are the most toxic; 1 ounce of baker's chocolate can cause severe symptoms in a 50-pound dog, VCA Animal Hospitals explains. Rat and mouse poisons were next in line, followed by over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, insecticides and xylitol, an ingredient in many dental products, medicines and sugar-free foods, Pet Poison Helpline reports.

Cats typically are less curious than dogs, but they still account for a fair number of animal poisonings. Over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin and acetaminophen, or Tylenol, are particularly dangerous. Two doses of regular-strength Tylenol within 24 hours can be fatal in some cats, Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences states.

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