First Aid - Poisoning

This happens frequently and signs can vary from an upset stomach of short duration to potentially fatal illnesss, so our advice in cases of accidental ingestion of anything potentially harmful is to call immediately for advice.

Chocolate poisoning:
This is most common in dogs and can vary from mild to extremely serious and the effects depend on how much the dog has eaten and how much 'theobromine' and caffeine the chocolate contains. As a general rule dark high quality chocolate contains the most and white chocolate contains the least, meaning that dogs can get away with eating more of the white chocolate, though to be safe no chocolate at all should be given to pets. Fatalities have been seen in dogs eating as little as 60g milk chocolate per kilo bodyweight.

Our advice if any signs of gastrointestinal upset or worse are seen after a dog ingests chocolate is to SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE

Rodenticides/Rat Poison:
We see this commonly in dogs and occasionally in cats which live in areas where rodents such as mice and rats may be a problem and therefore poison has been laid down. If it is clear that your pet has eaten some rodenticide then SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE immediately and if possible bring with you into the surgery the label or container from the poison. This can help us greatly, as these days many different variations of chemicals are used which need different treatments. Some modern anticoagulant poisons may necessitate supplementing your dog with for example vitamin K for several weeks.

Lily toxicity:
This is mostly seen in cats living in houses where there are lilies in vases. It is our advice to NOT have lilies in houses containing pets as a cat may become poisoned after simply brushing past the flowers and then cleaning pollen off itself.

The poison in lilies acts very quickly and is frequently fatal. If your cat is unwell and has been exposed to lilies please SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE immediately and inform the attending veterinary surgeon or nurse of possible lily toxicity.

Drug Toxicity:
This can occasionally happen and can involve both illegal drugs or human or animal prescription medicines. If your pet has swallowed any drugs other than those prescribed for him please SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE immediately.


In all cases we need to advise specifically for any drug ingested so please let us know as soon as possible how much of a specific drug has been ingested. If in doubt bring your pet in with the packaging or pot containing the prescription if available.

NB Some drugs can have a delayed effect and so it is important that we act before any clinical signs of ingestion are apparent.

Antifreeze Toxicity:
This is a common problem where dogs and cats lick up spilt antifreeze (ethylene glycol) when cars' radiators leak or coolant has been changed on driveways etc. Glycol is extremely harmful to the kidneys and unfortunately is often sweet tasting which can lead to pets swallowing more of it.
In all cases of antifreeze ingestion speed is of the essence and rapid aggressive treatment may be necessary to avoid potentially fatal problems so please SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE immediately.