Monday, October 3, 2011

10 Ways to Tackle Poisoning

This afternoon, my dog, Shark, was brought to the vet because he was very weak. His symptoms included coughing blood, heaving and immobility. Currently, he is under the care of the vet and we're hoping to hear some good news before the night ends.

Praying it wasn't parvovirus or heartworms like what my previous dogs died of, the vet had said that because his symptoms were almost immediate, the most possible cause of Shark's sickness is poisoning.

This is the main reason I'd like to tackle more about pet poisoning in this article. Poisoning is considered one of the reasons why pets die. They aren't exactly capable of reading the labels which is why there's always a large possibility for them to ingest something lethal. If your dog is having the same symptoms as mine (or is drooling more often than he used too), then you should consider poisoning. If you feel your pet's been poisoned, always keep in mind that every second counts. There is no questions asked, GET PROFESSIONAL HELP!

Poisoned Pet Symptoms:

1. Heaving, Difficulty in Breathing or Gasping
2. Change in Behaviour including Lethargy, Shivering, Staggering, Lurching, Weakening and Lose of Consciousness

3. Bleeding in some Body Openings (Shark was coughing out blood and had bloody diarrhea)

Some foods are also poisonous to pets so it's important for pet owners to be aware of these. Here's a link for a comprehensive list with detailed explanations and treatments for each of it.
Poisonous Food to Dogs

In the mean time, here are some things that are important to do or note about pet poisoning.

1. Before calling the vet, try to IDENTIFY THE POISON. Although it's sometimes inevitable to not be able to determine this, you should at least be able to tell the doctor what your pooch last ate, where he may have gone and what he may have had ingested based on the surroundings he was at.

2. If your dog was vomiting, as gross as it may sound, get a clean plastic bag or container and take the sample with you when you bring him to the vet.

3. If you're sure already that your pet was poisoned and hasn't yet vomited, purge it out of him by using household hydrogen peroxide (3% solution), 1 tablespoon/10 pounds of pet. Use a dropper or a syringe (without the needle, of course!), tip your pet's head back a little and squirt the liquid at the back of his tongue. Most likely, after 5 minutes, your dog will surely vomit. If he doesn't do so, try a second dose after 10 minutes. You cannot give him a third dose. And DO NOT USE IPECAC as this is toxic to dogs. (Vomiting should not be induced if he'd taken in anything caustic such as bleach, kerosene, or drain cleaner.)

4. If your dog had taken something caustic, instead of making him vomit it, try to neutralize it instead.

For something alkali in nature such as drain cleaner, give him 3 tablespoons of vinegar or lime juice diluted in the same amount of water.

For something of acidic nature (bleach or batteries), a tablespoon of Milk of Magnesia per 5 pounds weight of pet is the usual recommended dosage. Use a syringe or turkey blaster to squirt it at the back of his mouth.

5. Is your doggy still alert? Give him milk! Milk coats his tummy and mouth. It also dilutes the poison. However, never attempt to give him anything if he starts becoming dreary or losing consciousness.

6. As a first aid step, activated charcoal in tablet form or charcoal powder mixed in water will help absorb the toxins quickly from your pooch's tummy. Don't forget that it is still important to go to the vet as soon as possible.

7. Petproof everything in the house. Do not allow your pets access to medicines, chocolates, insecticides and antifreeze especially!

8. Plants you might not want. Some plants are also capable of giving pets upset stomachs such as philodendron, deiffenbachia, yew and Jerusalem fern. Others dangerous to pets include caladium, mistletoe, rhododendron, foxglove, poinsettia, cyclamen, azalea and holly.

Pretty as poison. Dog owners should avoid having rhododendrons in their gardens to avoid poisoning Fido.

Here's a longer list of plants that can be poisonous to dogs. Dog Poison

9. For poisons passing through the skin, the best first aid is to rinse it off. There's a reason why parasitic soaps and dips are never allowed on puppies. If your dog gets poisoned topically, immediately give him a bath or rinse the affected area for 10 minutes.

10. No Overdosing. You think because people usually do double doses, it's possible to do so with pets. This is a big no no. We are not doctors in the first place, so it is always important to remember to follow the given instructions of each medicine. A missed scheduled med intake is no excuse to give doggy twice the dose.

These are just some precautionary measures and remedies I'd like to share. Still, the best way to tackle this pet problem is to not panic and bring him to the vet as soon as possible.

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