Poisoning – Rhodes 2 Safety

Poisoning – Rhodes 2 Safety

Poisoning is scary and it’s serious.  There are five entry routes by which a poison can enter your dog’s system:

* Ingested (swallowed)
It might be that the poison is physically eaten by the dog or perhaps it was on his coat and he has licked himself to clean it off and swallowed it in the process.

* Inhaled
This would be the case with noxious fumes or smoke from a house fire

Pervasion (Absorption through the skin)
This would usually be if the dog has walked through a substance eg antifreeze

* Puncture wound
For example if the dog stood on a sharp object such as a dirty nail or needle

* Eyes
Any poison/chemical that comes into contact with the dogs eye will absorb into the blood stream very quickly – this is more likely for products applied with a brush if the bristles “flick” the fluid off

With corrosive substances:

1)         Wash the affected area thoroughly (at least 20 minutes)

2)         Prevent the dog from licking the area

3)         Collect a sample of the poison

4)         Ring ahead and go directly to the vet

5)         Monitor for Signs of Shock & perform CPR as required


With non-corrosive substances:

1)         Induce vomiting within 30 minutes if possible

(using washing soda crystals – for large breeds use a piece @ the size of a walnut and scale down accordingly)


(salt/mustard – 1 tablespoon diluted in ¼ cup of warm water)

* nb – some opinions suggest the use of hydrogen peroxide 3% in a 5 ml dose via syringe but this is a very serious step and NOT something I would advocate.


2)         Wash area to prevent secondary poisoning

3)         Collect a sample of the poison

4)         Ring ahead and go directly to the vet

5)         Monitor for Signs of Shock & perform CPR as required


I’ve been looking for an advice line you can call if your dog swallows a poison.  To be honest, its proved a little tricky finding a dedicated number just for this service although I did manage to find the following information (although strictly speaking it’s for veterinary professionals).  The general rule seems to be that you should call your vet for advice in such cases but I have to say that if an advice line exists for vets to tell them what to do with regard to poisoning, Im a bit worried that us mere members of the public have to ask a vet who will then have to ask these guys!

Anyway, the information for the Veterinary Poisons Information Service is:-
Mary Sheridan House, Guy’s Hospital, London SE1 9RT
Tel: 020 7188 0200
Fax: 020 7188 0700

This article by the Dogs Trust is certainly worth a read through too http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/factsheetsanddownloads/factsheetpoisonoussubstances09.pdf

List of common potentially poisonous household and garden substances –as supplied by the VPIS (Veterinary Poisons Information Service)
Anticoagulant rodenticides

 difenacoum

 bromadiolone

 brodadiolone

 coumatetralyl


 Nurofen

 Advil


 Slug bait

Human oral contraceptives

(very low toxicity)

Chocolate / theobromine


Diclofenac sodium

(a similar drug to Ibuprofen)


 Ventalin inhalers

Alphachloralose rodenticides




Wallpaper paste

(very low toxicity)

Borax / Boric acid ant killer gels




Glyphosate based herbicides









 powder ant killers

White spirit / barbecue lighter fluid





anti-diarrhoea drugs



Pyrethrin-based insecticides







Below is a table illustrating a selection of possible poisons, the effect they have and the actions you should take in a first aid capacity.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it should give you good direction that you can also apply to other substances:

Possible substances that could be found in various locations throughout the home that could be poisonous to a dog:


Location: Poisonous Substance:
Kitchen BleachSurface Cleaner/DegreaserChocolateKettle De-scaler

Oven Cleaner

Drain Unblocker

Lounge Plants (Poinsettia)Macadamia NutsFire LightersScented Candles/Burners
Bedroom with en suitebathroom BleachToilet CleanerShampooConditioner

Shower BodyWash

Shower Cleaner

Contraceptive Pill

Pain Killers

Garage AntifreezeCar ShampoosWindscreen Washer FluidWine/Beer/Spirits

Paint Thinner

Garden Shed


PesticidesLawn FeedPlant FoodFertilizer

Weed Killer

Path Clearer


Slug Pellets






Rhubarb LeavesFrogs/ToadsAzaleaCocoa Husks/Mulch

Daffodil Bulb



Slug Pellets

Below is the first aid action recommended for a selection of substances, one from each area of the home as listed above:

Substance Suspected First Aid Action Taken
Surface Cleaner/Degreaser













If the poison is on the dog’s coat or paws (perhaps through walking through it), apart from the risk of absorption through the skin, there is also the risk of secondary poisoning due to ingestion of the chemical as the dog tries to lick his coat clean.  Signs resulting from poisoning with this type of product include inflamed skin, vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions and ulcers on the tongue.- Do not make the dog vomit.- Ensure the dog discontinues lickingASAP

– Wear gloves when cleansing the

contaminant away

– Clean in/around the mouth with water

– Do not allow the dog to swallow the

cleaning water

– Clean the fur thoroughly with


– Contact the vet immediately

– Take bottle to vet for information

– Monitor A, B, C’s and be ready to step

in and perform CPR or artificial

respiration as required.


Macadamia Nuts









Ingestion may result in macadamia nut toxicosis.  The signs of this are weakness, hind limb paralysis with the inability to stand, occurring within 12 hours of ingestion.  Depending on the quantity ingested and size of the dog, symptoms may also include muscle tremors, joint pain and severe abdominal pain.- Administer an emetic ASAP.(Either with a crystal of washing soda or rock salt)

– Make a note of the time ingested.

– Contact the vet immediately

– Monitor A, B, C’s and be ready to   perform CPR or artificial respiration as   required.














Accidental poisoning can arise if such medications are not kept safely locked away for puppies, playful adults or bored dogs.  Poisonings with medications such as Aspirin can also result if the owner administers the medication incorrectly as a pain-killing medium.  Ingestion of Aspirin can result in loss of appetite, depression and vomiting either with or without blood apparent.If the dog is conscious:

– Administer an emetic ASAP – if

possible within half an hour but

certainly within 2 hours.  (Either with a crystal of washing soda or rock salt)


Regardless if conscious or not:-

– Contact the vet immediately

– Make a note of the time it occurred

– Estimate how much the dog has had

– Monitor A, B, C’s and be ready to step   in and perform CPR or artificial    respiration as required.




















Antifreeze can be dangerous in three ways either by absorption through the skin should the dog walk through it, say from a dripping car radiator, from secondary ingestion should the animal try to lick his coat clean, and by primary ingestion if the dog should come across the antifreeze itself and lick it (apparently, they just love the taste of it!)  Antifreeze can cause convulsions, collapse, coma and may even be fatal so swift action is required.- Administer an emetic ASAP

(Either with a crystal of washing soda or rock salt)

– Ensure the dog discontinues licking   ASAP

– Wear gloves when cleansing the   contaminant away

– Clean in/around the mouth with water

– Ensure the dog does not swallow the cleaning water

– Clean the fur thoroughly with  soap/water

– Contact the vet and transport  Immediately

– Make a note of the time it occurred

– Monitor A, B, C’s and be ready to step  in and perform CPR or artificial    respiration as required.

Consideration should also be given to the use of VODKA as a possible aid to treatment.  Ideally this should be administered intravenously (IV) by your vet but a measure of vodka to drink as a non-prescription treatment to get things underway certainly wont do any harm.

Please make sure you know how much you have given the dog so you can tell the vet when you arrive as it may alter his dosage and treatment of your pet.  Also, please take a bottle of vodka with you if you have it, just in case the vet does not have any on site when you arrive and would like to use this method to help your dog.


Slug Pellets
















Unfortunately, slug pellets are another thing that often tastes good to dogs.  This encourages them to eat them should they come across them in the garden or shed.Signs resulting from ingestion of slug pellets and snail bail include tremors, salivation, convulsions and coma.  Slug pellets can, in extreme cases, be fatal to the dog.- Administer an emetic ASAP

(Either with a crystal of washing soda or rock salt)

– Ensure the dog discontinues licking  ASAP

– Wear gloves when dealing cleansing

– Clean in/around the mouth with water

– Clean the fur thoroughly with  soap/water

– Contact the vet and transport   Immediately

– Make a note of the time it occurred

– Monitor A, B, C’s and be ready to step   in and perform CPR or artificial   respiration as required.





































Some species of toad and a few frogs are covered with a toxic secretion on the skin.  When the dog goes to play with the toad, it inevitably ingests some of the toxins or, on some occasions, the toxins may enter the body through the eye of the dog.A similar reaction can result if the dog comes across a caterpillar.  Some species can also cause terrible reactions in dogs should they try to play with them.The resulting symptoms depend greatly on the toxicity of the species of toad and can prove fatal.

Possible symptoms include:
profuse salivation
pawing at the mouth due to pain
red/inflamed gums
cardiac arrest.


There may also be an allergic reaction to the toad venom resulting in welling of:


– Use a jet of water to remove the toxin

– Do not let him swallow any water

– Rub the teeth/gums with soft rag &   toothpaste

– Call your vet for immediate advice

– If your vet has already told you what   antihistamine he can take, administer   this ASAP as per the dosage instructions   you were given previously.

– If not, give high doses of Vit-C and Nettle drops as it works as a natural antihistamine.  At least 2000-3000 mg vit c every 4 hours as it is water based and 30-40 drops Nettle drops

– If the dog is convulsing, keep him safe  from any obstacles during the fit and   ensure he is cool and not over-heating   due to the energy he is expending while  the fit is taking place.

– Make a note of the time the fit began.

– Transport to vet as quickly and quietly  as possible.

– Remember that he may be confused and disorientated during the fit, so take care not to get bitten.  If his teeth come into contact with anything during the fit, it is likely that he may bite down and clamp his teeth together firmly.