(By Saad Imran)

While everyday household items like chocolate, raisins and Xylitol are safe for humans, they can prove to be dangerous to your pet’s health, if ingested. Data by the poison control helpline shows more than 68,000 reported cases of animal poison exposure in 2019 alone. 

Here is a helpful list of the ten most common pet toxins in 2020. Some of these toxins are over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, food, chocolate and household products.

The main symptoms of dog poisoning are nausea, vomiting, agitation and lack of appetite.

If you think ingesting, inhaling or being in contact with any toxic substance has gotten your dog poisoned, immediately call the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680 or the ASPCA Poison Control at (888) 426-4435. The ASPCA may charge you a $75 fee for the consultation. 

While on the call with ASPCA, you’ll be asked to provide information about your pet’s health. They’ll also ask you about the type of toxin your dog has inhaled, ingested or gotten in contact with. Then, you’ll be provided with a plan for home or vet care of your dog. 

First Aid for Your Poisoned Dog  

If you have no idea what to do if your dog has been poisoned, you can take the following steps.

  • Make sure your dog is behaving okay and breathing normally. If your dog appears to be semi-conscious or unconscious, it’s an emergency and you need to rush him to the veterinary hospital immediately.

However, if he is behaving normally, you need to remove the toxin from him to keep him from ingesting it again. If he has inhaled any toxic fumes, remove him from the area and get some fresh air. 

Do not try to induce vomiting! If the poison is present on their skin, remove it by wearing protective gloves and clean the skin with paper towels. 

  • Collect information about the poison. Try to identify the poison and determine the quantity of which your dog has inhaled or ingested. This information can be crucial in their treatment. 

Your dog can also be poisoned by eating natural things, like plants, food or animals, such as toads, or even by inhaling harmful gases. If it’s possible, try to bring a sample of the toxin or its original packaging with you if you visit the vet, as it can help your vet determine the best possible treatment. 

  • Call your vet or the national pet poison hotlines. Contact your vet or call the national pet poison hotline immediately, as they are your best resources in that situation and can provide you with the best guidance about the future course of action.

If your vet advises you to bathe your dog, you can do so by using a strong pet shampoo or soap and wash his fur with lukewarm water to avoid lowering his body temperature. 

You can get your dog to vomit by giving hydrogen peroxide through the mouth. Your vet will let you know how much hydrogen peroxide to use. Do not induce vomiting without your vet’s advice! 

To help your dog recover better from poisoning, you may need to consult a pet nutritionist

How to Prevent Dog Poisoning

The following tips can be pretty helpful for you if you want to avoid getting your dog poisoned.

  • Get informed on unknown poisons. Many everyday household items are safe for humans but can get your pet poisoned if ingested by them. Read up and get informed on such things so you can be cautious while using them around your dog.

Common items like Alcohol, mosquito repellant, coffee beans, yeast dough, raisins and grapes can be harmful to your pet’s health. 

  • Remove poisonous plants from your garden. Get to know which plants may be toxic for your dog and avoid planting them in your garden. Remove any potentially toxic plants before your dog chews on them.

Some of the toxic plants are castor bean, cyclamen, dumbcane and hemlock. The complete list of poisonous plants can be found here

  • Lock your household products. Keep all of your house cleaning products and chemicals locked up and out of reach of your dog. While using a potentially toxic cleaning product in the house, restrict your dog to one room.

As any veterinary procedure for your poisoned dog can be pretty expensive, you may want to consider getting pet insurance