Dog watch: Has your dog been poisoned? Signs & symptoms to look out for


Jade Poole from I write words

Has your dog been poisoned

A dog owner’s biggest fear is that their little fur-baby has been poisoned. Nothing fills your body with more dread than seeing your doggo helpless and sick. Take a look at some of the ways you can tell if your dog has been poisoned and any signs and symptoms to look out for.

It’s a terrifying thought… “Has my dog been poisoned?” No one wants to go through that but unfortunately, accidents happen or in many cases in South Africa, dogs are poisoned by people hoping to invade and burglarise your home. This is why it’s vital to keep an eye out when your pup has been playing in the garden and it’s especially important to know what to do in the event that they have been poisoned. 

Here’s everything you need to know, let’s pounce right in!

Related: Pet injuries and accidents you didn’t see coming - here’s what to do

How can I tell if my dog has been poisoned?

Poisoning is not a difficult thing to see. Your dog will get sick very quickly right before your eyes. You’ll see your fur-baby go from perfectly healthy to very ill extremely fast and they’ll most likely present the following symptoms: 

  1. Weakness, lethargy or fatigue (your doggo may have difficulty standing)
  2. Muscle tremors
  3. Vomiting
  4. Excessive salivating
  5. Watery diarrhoea
  6. Tiny, pinpoint-sized pupils
  7. Seizures

These symptoms cannot be ignored in any way. Poisoning is exceptionally dangerous and your pup could pass away within a couple of hours after ingesting the poison. It is vital to get them to a vet immediately.

If your dog has had similar symptoms for a day or more then it is likely that they have not been poisoned but you should still get them checked out by a vet. 

Discover: 4 tail-wag worthy remedies for your doggo’s upset stomach

What should I do if I suspect my pet has been poisoned?

Most importantly, get your pooch to the vet as quickly as possible!

If you get your dog to the vet in time and treatment can start early, the prognosis for recovery is good. If you have only noticed that your dog has been poisoned later on though and your pupper is in the advanced stages of poisoning then the odds of them surviving decreases quite significantly.  

It’s important to note that all dogs are different and some will recover quickly with little to no side effects while other pups suffer side effects for a week or so after being poisoned. Depending on your dog’s recovery, a lengthy hospital stay may be on the cards.

Poisoning is very serious and it is in times like these that you need a reliable pet insurer on your side.

Explore: When should you take your pet to the vet? 6 basic warning signs to keep an eye out for

How is dog poisoning diagnosed?

Once you’ve taken your dog to the vet, they’re going to want to know what has been the most likely cause for your dog’s poisoning. Try your best to scan the area where your dog was for any semblance of packaging or anything leftover (be as safe as possible when handling the substance).

If you couldn’t bring anything or find anything, don’t panic, your vet will still do the best they can for your fur-baby. It’s not always possible to test for all types of toxins, your vet is still able to analyse your dog’s blood samples which should help determine the cause of their illness.

Read: What happens when you can’t afford the vet’s deposit for pet hospital admissions?

How does the vet treat poisoning?

This is largely dependent on your dog and how long the poison has been in their system. Your vet will assess your pup’s condition properly before deciding on a treatment plan. Your vet’s biggest priority from the start is to stabilise your pooch before any other tests or procedures take place.

Some of the most common types of poisoning are listed below.

Most common types of poisoning:

  1. Poisons, such as chocolate (or other toxic human food), human medication or
  2. Toxic and caustic substances, including bleach or rat poison
  3. Foreign bodies, such as toys, bones and sticks (this isn’t necessarily poisoning but can cause severe bodily harm)

Treatment can vary depending on what your dog has ingested and how severe their symptoms are. Often treatments range from endoscopy and removing what has been ingested or inducing vomiting or surgery. 

There are also antidotes for some poisons but not all. In most cases, your vet will also treat your doggo’s symptoms to ensure their organs aren’t badly affected. This also often includes controlling seizures, maintaining their breathing, treating shock, controlling heart problems and treating pain.

Be ready for an emergency

You never know when you may have a pet emergency so it’s a good idea to keep your dog’s medical records (including vaccination history, current medications, food and drug allergies, and identification (microchip info)) handy. You never know if you have to go to a new vet depending on where you are or what time you need to go. 

Make sure you have their leash close to the door or in a place you can find it quickly so you can rush out quickly but still keep them safe.

Discover: How often should you take your pet for preventative treatments?

You should always give your vet a call when you suspect your fur-baby might be ill, even if you don’t think they have been poisoned. Rather be safe than sorry.


Yours in quality pet insurance you could cuddle,


Related posts

Cover your family, and get Oneplan Health Insurance