Pet Parent Tip: What to do if my dog ate rat poison or over the counter medication.
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What to Know When You Have a Curiously Hungry Canine Friend.

Every year, countless dog parents find themselves in a terrifying situation: they either suspect or know their dog has ingested a toxic substance. This alone is enough to send any pet parent into a frenzy of worry.

In some cases, it may be a common toxin, such as rat poison, which is quite common in our New York City streets. It could even be something a little less common, such as an over the counter or OTC medication (Advil, caffeinated pills, etc.). The dangers can be much worse if then substances are not known.

As pet parents, we are all very vigilant and protective of our furry family members, but no matter how much attention we pay to them and what they pick up on the street or how hard we try to “pet-proof” our house, accidents do happen.

I call my lab puppy a street cleaner because he tries to pick up and taste everything! Although we have avoided the worst, I have observed many dog owners in an emergency room with their pooches who have ingested something far more serious and toxic.

What do you do when you suspect your dog has ingested something he or she shouldn’t have?

First and foremost – identify what was ingested. Taking a picture is the best. For example, if it was rat poison, we can figure out the ingredients it contains. This step of identifying the poison is very important because that will determine how fast the RIGHT medication will be administered to counteract the toxins.

Another important element is trying to see how much was ingested. This will determine how serious the situation is and how long your pooch will remain under a vet’s supervision.  After the type and volume of the poison have been noted, call animal poison control at 888-426-4435 to get direction on whether you’ll need to check in with your vet the next day, or immediately head to the emergency clinic.

Please note that you don’t have to wait until you are certain your pup has ingested something. If you are noticing symptoms of poisoning (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy) and suspect he or she got into something, go ahead and call the emergency clinic or the animal poison control center. They’ll be able to ask you specific questions that may help you decide the best next action to take.

Present all information given by animal poison control as well as your findings when visiting the clinic or veterinarian.

While this can be an incredibly stressful situation, by keeping calm and following the appropriate steps you can have your pup back healthy with a wagging tail again in no time.

Identifying Types of Rodenticides and How Your Dog’s Reaction

Rat Poison TypeWhat is it?Time Before Reaction Occurs?Symptoms
Anticoagulants (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, or warfarin).The number one type of rat poison consumed by dogs. It prevents the body’s ability to recycle vitamin K, preventing blood from clotting, leading to internal bleeding and can eventually kill your dog.Typically It can take between 2 and 7 days for symptoms to surface.Bleeding from ears, eyes, and nose. White or pale-colored gums, urine/feces with blood present. Weakness, sluggishness, loss of appetite.
BromethalinThis neurotoxin increases sodium buildup in cells, meaning that when water is consumed, the cells swell beyond limits and die. The poison disturbs the central nervous system (brain, spine, and nerves) of the body.In cases of small consumption, symptoms appear over 1 to 2 weeks. However, when large amounts are eaten, symptoms occur within 2 to 24 hours and will become quickly lethal.Decrease in appetite and drinking, circling clumsy behavior appearing impaired in movement. Some hind leg paralysis can occur along with tremors and seizures.
Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)Consumption of this poison will increase calcium levels in the body to a lethal level. When this poison is ingested, there are significantly increased chances of acute renal failure (kidney failure) and other cardiac concerns.Acute kidney failure happens within 3 to 4 days after consumption. 1 to 2 days may pass before signs are evident.Blood in stool, diarrhea, dehydration, excessive drooling, increased or decreased drinking and urinating, lethargy, pungent breath, stomach pains, seizures, and tremors.
Zinc Phosphide and StrychnineThis poison can only be found available to professional pest removal contractors and companies. Upon consumption, phosphine, a toxic gas forms inside the canine’s stomach.Signs of symptoms appear within less than an hour if your dog has recently eaten food or up to 12 hours if they have nothing on their stomachs.Convulsions, diarrhea, incoordination, loss of appetite, nausea, paralysis, and/or shortness of breath.


Anastasia Kvyatkovskaya

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