Can Dogs Recover from Poisoning? What You Should Know


Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo


Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Vet, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.


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Finding out that your pet has been poisoned is one of the most frightening things to happen to a pet owner. Luckily dogs promptly treated by a veterinary professional tend to recover from cases of poisoning. While death will be unavoidable in some cases of poisoning, many cases can be treated by medical professionals. But time is of the essence. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested something poisonous. Delaying treatment could be a life-or-death situation for your dog.

divider-dog pawWhat Are the Symptoms of Poisoning in Dogs?

The symptoms of toxicity vary based on what toxin was ingested. However, there is a cluster of symptoms that are more often associated with poisoning in dogs.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Seizures
  • Neurological disturbances
  • Loss of blood via bruising, bloody stools, nosebleeds, or anemia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pale gums
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Balance issues
  • Skin rashes
  • Swollen tongue
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Tremors

If your dog displays any of these symptoms, get them medical attention immediately. These symptoms are not specific to poisoning and other illnesses can cause them, but it is still important to get your dog seen by a vet.

What Are the Treatments for Toxicity in Dogs?

veterinarian examines a dog teeth
Image Credit: Yavdat, Shutterstock

The first step for any dog parent who believes their dog has been poisoned is to call their vet, out of hours clinic or petpoisonhelpline. If necessary, your vet can help you administer first aid and direct you on your next steps to nursing your dog back to health. While you may consider inducing vomiting, it’s crucial that you only do so if a veterinarian recommends it.

Vomiting up a toxin can result in your dog’s health outcomes being negatively impacted in some cases. So, it’s crucial not to do so unless directed by a veterinarian.

If your veterinarian recommends that you induce vomiting they will advise you on what to do. It is more likely that they will recommend bringing your pet to them to induce vomiting.

You should also collect anything your dog vomits up (gross, we know, but do it!) and seal it in a plastic bag to bring to the vet. It may help to determine what your dog ate and treat the poisoning more effectively.

Have the following information prepared for your veterinarian to speed up diagnostics and treatment:

  • Breed
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Substance, your dog, ingested, if known
  • How your dog came in contact with the substance
  • How much of the substance your dog came in contact with
  • How long it’s been since your dog ingested the substance
  • Packaging of the substance where appropriate

For skin or eye contact, follow the instructions on the label for humans exposed to the product in a toxic way if your vet instructs you to do so. You may need to wash your dog’s skin or flush their eyes with a lot of water.

What to Do After Your Dog Has Been Treated

Once your dog has been treated by a veterinary professional, they enter the long road to recovery. How long it takes your dog to recover from poisoning will be determined by what poison they came in contact with.

Skin rashes, bites, or stings can generally be cared for using topical treatments and veterinarian-approved medications such as antihistamines. However, ingested poison is harder to recover from as the poisoning may affect the liver and the kidneys.

Your vet will be best placed to give you a prognosis for your pets poisoning and expect recovery times.  Your dog may need regular follow-up appointments during this time.

divider-dog pawFinal Thoughts

Poisoning is one of most pet parents’ nightmares but is thankfully not too common. Luckily, veterinary attention can often restore your pets’ health. Once again, you must contact your veterinarian as soon as you realize your dog has ingested something they weren’t supposed to. Doing so will give your dog the best chance of a speedy recovery!


Featured Image Credit: A-photographyy, Shutterstock



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