Feb 06 2017

Help! My dog ate “________”!

My dog ate “_____”, what should I do?


Would you know what to do, if your dog got into your prescription medications? The Halloween candy? The cuttings from the neighbors palm tree? Your sisters violin rosin? (It happened to me, so it CAN happen) You’re a great owner; you bring your pet into the vet every year for vaccines and anytime that he sneezes, or sleeps in too late on a Sunday.  But, like with children, even the best (pet) parent can face the dreaded and unforeseen poisoning.  Commit these steps (and consider printing a copy for the fridge) to memory, and be ready for the unexpected.
  1. Gather the evidence. You’ll need to collect the bottles, wrappers, labels and any other information on what your pet ingested.

  2. Call a professional.  There’s a choice to make here. You can (and should) call your veterinarian for advise, but here’s the catch: MOST of the newer prescription medications, supplements, homeopathic remedies, etc., are not in their books, and they may not have the resources to look them up (especially if they’re not FDA approved). Even if they can find them, and the recommended treatment, it can take precious time (receptionist to tech to doctor to resource, then back to you), and in the event of a poisoning , time is not your friend. Your other option is to call Animal Poison Control directly; but please note that this is not a free call. They will charge $45-$65 to a credit card to begin a consultation, BUT you will be given a reference number to give to your veterinarian, if treatment is recommended. Personally, this is my first choice.  If the substance isn’t toxic, well, you’re only out $65; but if it IS a medical emergency, they will let you know whether or not to induce vomiting, and then send you straight to your veterinarian, who can then  consult with them for the recommended treatment  in the most time efficient manner.

  3. Start driving.  I cannot stress enough, how time sensitive toxicities can be. Even if your pet is not immediately showing symptoms of illness, you only get a small window of opportunity for the best recovery. (ex. Anti-freeze toxicity can take hours to days to show symptoms; by which time, survival chances have rapidly declined) Here’s my suggestion: Use your blue tooth or speaker phone (or a second person) to get started with the poison control call, while loading up your pet (don’t forget the packaging, wrappers, etc!) into the car. Begin your route to your veterinarian (or an emergency or after-hours clinic) immediately. The best thing that can happen is Poison Control tells you not to worry, and you head back home.  On the chance that you’ve got a real emergency on your hands, Poison control will direct you to your vet  (you’re already on your way so that was easy) and give you a case number OR (I’ve had this happen only once, so don’t rely on it) call your vet FOR you while your en route. If you’re given a case number, write it down, hang up and call your veterinarian to let you know that you’re on your way.

  4. Be honest.  Listen, this can be a tough one if the medication or substance that your pet ingested isn’t legal. It happens; and the owners who are upfront about it, give their pets a better chance at survival.  I’ve seen it on multiple occasions over the past 18yrs, and you know what? Your veterinarian doesn’t care what you do in your personal time; they just want to know WHAT they’re treating to make sure that your pet gets the appropriate care! Recreational drugs (even the “mild”ones) may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people; but dogs (and cats) aren’t people, and ingestion can be LETHAL. Don’t put off telling the truth.

  5. Be ready.  Keep medications out of reach from your pet. Keep the numbers for your vet, emergency or after-hours vet, and poison control, accessible. I have them programed into my cell phone. Consider a pet savings account, pet insurance or a “care credit” card, to be ready for any unforeseen problems. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Animal Poison Control ($65) 888-426-4435 (best resources available)


Pet Poison Helpline ($45) 800-213-6680 For the app, visit petposisonhelpline.com

Cape Coral Pet Vet | Practice

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