What to do if Your Dog Eats Something They Shouldn’t

Does your dog eat just about anything in sight?

Pica is a compulsive behavior disorder that causes dogs to eat things that aren’t edible. In our last blog, we went over several reasons why many dogs develop pica. But understanding why your dog is eating something they shouldn’t is just the first step; you also need to know what to do when your dog eats something that could obstruct their digestive system or something that could be toxic to them. That’s why your go-to animal hospital in Carroll Gardens has come up with this guide on what to do when your dog eats something they shouldn’t.

When Your Dog Ingests a Toxin

In 2016, the Animal Poison Control Center run by the ASPCA was called by more than 180,000 pet owners whose dog or cat ate something toxic, and that number doesn’t even include any of the other poison control centers or the many pets who are treated by local veterinarians. The fact of the matter is that there are many different things around your home that could be toxic to your pet, and before we get into what to do when your dog ingested a toxin, you need to know what they are.

Common Toxins Dog Owners Should Watch Out For

  • Human Medications – These include prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as natural supplements and herbs.
  • Table Scraps – Not all table scraps are toxic for dogs, but many are, including chocolate, onions, coffee, garlic, raisins and grapes.
  • Rodenticides and Pesticides – Never store or spray pesticides or rodenticides around your dog.
  • Pet Medications – Though these medications are safe when given according to your veterinarian’s instructions, they can be dangerous if your dog gets into the bottle and consumes too much.
  • Houseplants – There are many plants that can be dangerous to your pet, including chamomile, lillies and aloe vera.
  • Household Items – Keep household items, like paint, cleaning products and gardening products, well away from your dog.

Signs of Toxicity in Dogs

You may not always know when your dog has swallowed a toxin, and it’s important to be aware of the signs of toxicity in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bruising
  • Inability to urinate
  • Irregular heartbeat

Of course, the time it takes for these signs to show up, as well as the severity of these signs will depend on what and how much your dog consumed. Additionally, some dogs may not show any signs of toxicity at all, so make sure that you watch for other signs, like a spilled container, torn packaging or an empty wrapper. Regardless of whether your dog is actually showing symptoms, if you have reasons to believe they ate something toxic, don’t wait to take action.

What to Do if You Think Your Dog Ate Something Toxic

Get your dog someplace safe.

The very first thing you should do is get your dog away from the toxin in question so that they cannot consume any more. If you have other animals, keep them away from both the toxin and your dog.

Call your veterinarian right away.

Whether your pet has diarrhea or they are acting perfectly normal, you’ll want to make sure that you call your veterinarian as soon as possible if you think they ingested a toxin.

Don’t try to induce vomiting unless your veterinarian tells you to.

Many people go straight to inducing vomiting when their dog eats a toxin, but it’s important to know that, in some cases, this can actually make matters worse. For instance, if your dog ate something that is caustic, forcing them to vomit it back up could lead to severe esophageal irritation.

Prevent your dog from grooming themselves.

Don’t allow your dog to groom themselves, as the substance still could be on their paws or fur. If your dog needs a bath consult your veterinarian first as some chemicals can be absorbed by your dog’s skin.

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Other Objects

If your dogs eats any object that is inedible like socks, shoes, a tennis ball, sticks or bone fragments do not wait to contact your veterinarian. While these items may not be poisonous for dogs, they can cause other issues. Some things can get stuck in your dog’s digestive tract, leading to an obstruction, and sharp objects like sticks and bone fragments could puncture your dog’s intestines. In either case, surgery may be required to remove the object.

If you think your dog ate something they shouldn’t, don’t take a chance. Instead, contact our animal hospital in Carroll Gardens — The Vet Set — right away.

While there are luckily treatment options that can help your dog to recover from ingesting something they shouldn’t, it’s much easier to prevent it from happening in the first place. Learn how to prevent your dog from eating things they shouldn’t when you stay tuned for our next blog.

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To make an appointment, please call us at (917) 741-4737 or
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