First Aid - Poisoning

CALL IMMEDIATELY FOR ADVICE IF YOUR PET HAS INGESTED ANYTHING POTENTIALLY HARMFUL as effects can vary from an upset stomach of short duration to potentially fatal illnesss.

The most common substances that are poisonous to pets include:

  • CHOCOLATE:
    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.  If any signs of gastrointestinal upset or worse are seen after a dog ingests chocolate is to SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE.
  • RAT POISON/RODENTICIDE:
    If it is clear that your pet has eaten some rodenticide then SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE IMMEDIATELY and if possible bring the label or container of the poison with you to the surgery. This can help us greatly, as 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.
  • LILLIES:
    It is our advice to NOT have lilies in houses containing cats as they may become poisoned after simply brushing past the flowers and then cleaning pollen off themselves.  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.
  • ANTIFREEZE:
    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. 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.
  • MEDICINES:
    If your pet has swallowed any drugs other than those prescribed for him please SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE immediately.  This includes common over the counter medicines such as paracetomol which is poisonous for pets.  In all cases we need to advise specifically based on the drug and the quantitiy swallowed. If in doubt please bring the medicine's packaging with you when you bring your pet to the surgery.

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