Be Prepared

June 11, 2008 at 5:58 am Leave a comment

We arrived home this afternoon from the IACP conference.  More on that later.  I need a bit of time to decompress and process — and today was a mad rush of mowing, weeding, transplanting, laundry, unpacking and more before the rains hit tomorrow.  So please be patient.

Today our friends over at the Regal Vizsla posted about Jozsi ‘s toxic poop adventure.  While we process the information (and hundreds of photos!) from the conference, I’d like to shift gears and write a quick post about dogs and poisoning.

The old saying may be “curiosity killed the cat” but statistics (and personal experience) clearly demonstrate that it is dogs, not cats, whose oral inquisitiveness most often results in unfortunate toxic consequences.  A dog’s motto could be “if it smells interesting, taste it” — and to a dog, a lot of very nasty things smell interesting.

So what should you do?  Take a cue from the Scouts and Be Prepared!


Pay attention to where your dog is and make yourself familiar with the kinds of potentially dangerous things he might ingest there.  Andrew was familiar with the park where Jozsi ate the mystery poop that made him sick and that knowledge helped him get Jozsi the right kind of treatment.  This may have saved Jozsi’s life.

The world is filled with plants, animals, chemicals, fungi, feces, rotting stuff and human foods that are both fascinating and potentially toxic to your dog.  Invest a bit of time to familiarize yourself with the hazards that exist where you live.

If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, quickly collect as much information as you can about: what he ingested, how he ingested it (ate it, breathed it, drank it, took it in through his skin), how much he ingested, when he ingested it – and then, if possible — safely collect a sample of the toxin to take with you to the vet clinic.


Get the number for the Animal Poison Control Center — ( 888 ) 426-4435) and your local emergency vet clinic AND KEEP THEM IN A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN FIND THEM WHEN YOU ARE IN A PANIC.  You don’t want to have to search the yellow pages, google – or any other source – when your dog has a potentially life-threatening condition.

You should also familiarize yourself with the location and easiest routes to the emergency clinic.  Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to find it for the first time when you are in a panic and your dog may be dying.


Take a pet first aid course so you know how to properly administer rescue breathing and CPR if necessary.  The course should also give you information on poison prevention and treatment.


Have a good pet first aid kit on hand.  You should put the kit together yourself and it should contain some basic poison treatment items like:

  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting)
  • Salt (to induce vomiting)
  • Activated charcoal (to absorb toxins)
  • An appropriately sized, graduated oral syringe to administer liquids like peroxide
  • Clean water and/or saline solution for diluting or rinsing as directed
  • Milk of Magnesia, vinegar and Kaolin Pectin (NOT Kaopectate or Pepto Bismol as they contain salicylates that can cause gastro-intestinal bleeding) to USE AS DIRECTED to neutralize specific poisons.

NEVER muzzle a dog that you believe may have been poisoned. 

NEVER give a dog that may have been poisoned any food or water (unless it is at the direction of a veterinarian). 

And NEVER administer any treatment or induce vomiting until you have talked to staff at the emergency vet’s office or animal poison control center! 

If you induce vomiting of a caustic or acidic toxin you will cause additional injuries to your dog.  If you administer the wrong treatment for a poison, you can make a bad situation worse. 


Keep your cool.  Your dog looks up to you.  If you stay cool, calm and collected it will help him remain calm.  A calm dog has a slower pulse and heart rate and poisons move more slowly through his body.  Keep your dog quiet.  Don’t let him pace or move around any more than necessary.  Restrain him calmly and gently.  Talk softly and touch him gently.  Fake it if you have to.

Entry filed under: dog, dogs, first aid, health, pet, pets, safety. Tags: .

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