First Aid Treatment For Your Poisoned Dog

By Jeff Clare

There are a lot of rumors and urban legends as to what is poisonous to dogs. Most of it is nonsense, but in the interest of fairness, there is a large range of substances capable of sickening or killing a dog. Often, these substances are so ordinary we humans take for granted that we shouldn't ingest them and that our dog will know the same.

The easiest way to handle poisoning is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Keeping threatening substances away from your dog is the best way, but dogs are inquisitive creatures, especially when they're young, so prevention can be easier said than done. Punishing a dog that gets too close to an off-limits substance is a good (though not 100% reliable) way to reinforce your policy of prevention. Being careful of what plants you keep in your home is another way to prevent poisonings. A little research will usually reveal whether the plant is dangerous or not. Should a poisoning occur, knowing what substances the dog has ingested will be vital to your dog's survival.

If a dog does ingest a poisonous substance, your first priority under most (but definitely not all) circumstances is to induce vomiting. The best way to induce vomiting is to give the dog one to two teaspoons' worth of hydrogen peroxide and wait for five to ten minutes for the dog to throw up. However, dogs do have a limit for how much hydrogen peroxide their systems can stand; give no more than one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per five pounds of the dog's weight. A single millimeter of ipecac syrup will do the same job, though it does take longer to produce results, so use ipecac syrup only when you're out of hydrogen peroxide.

Two situations where you should not, under any circumstances, use hydrogen peroxide are when a dog ingests either corrosives (such as household cleaners, drain cleaners, bleach, lye, and solvents) or petroleum-based substances, such as gasoline and turpentine (we told you that knowing what the dog ingested would be important).

Corrosives should be treated with activated charcoal or milk of magnesia (or Pepto-Bismol or a similar drug). Alkalies should be treated with 1:4 diluted vinegar with water (meaning one unit of vinegar for every four units; there's no set unit for this, but whatever unit you decide to use, make sure you're giving generous portions of the mixture to your dog).

Petroleum products aren't so easy to treat and demand artificial respiration. In all cases, veterinary care should be sought out immediately. If ever you're uncertain about precisely what remedies you should give to your dog, be cautious and call a veterinarian for advice.

Other than identifying the poison and remembering a way to keep it from killing your dog, dog owners also have to contend with the fact that few dogs willingly take any form of medicine provided to them. Since most emergency poison remedies are in liquid form, shoving the medicine down a dog's throat is relatively easy, though a large syringe without a needle can also be used to squirt the chemicals into your dog's mouth.

Though the dog's blind trust and good-natured acceptance of even the leanest of conditions has won them the affections of humankind, those same traits make dogs especially vulnerable to poisoning themselves without even trying. As unpleasant as this can be for dog owners, it's a reality that owners must face, but a little information and common sense will ensure that they don't face poisoning unprepared.

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About the Author:

Jeff Clare runs Dog Training News where you can read many more articles on dog control. For more general advice on dog kennels go to Dogs And Dog News