If your pet has been poisoned, it is important that you act quickly and responsibly.
- Have the phone numbers of your vet nearby, and the RSPCA 24 hour emergency line.
- If the animal has, or appears to have, been poisoned, or if the animal is behaving abnormally or appears ill, call your veterinarian immediately for advice.
- Have the name of the active ingredient on hand, and if possible, a rough idea of the amount ingested, inhaled or absorbed as well as the time the poisoning occurred.
Avoiding the problem
Often, tragic cases of poisoning can be avoided by simply being careful. Ensuring that all toxic substances are locked away when not being used is important Immediately cleaning up any spilt toxic substances is also vital. Simply reducing the amount of toxic substances used is another way of reducing the chances of your pet being accidentally poisoned.
Dogs with their keen sense of smell cannot resist the pheromones in slug bait. They will find it, eat it, suffer injury or death. Snails and slugs are attracted to fermented liquids. Bury jar lids or small containers level to the ground. Pour in some beer, and they’ll drown in their own drink.
Common Poisons Harmful to Pets
Phenol – is commonly used as a wood preservative or as a disinfectant. Examples of some products containing phenol are: creosote, carbolic acid, lysol, and pine tar.
Phenoxy herbicides – are often used as weed killers. Dogs are particularly sensitive to this group.
Metaldehyde – is often used in snail and slug bait. This bait should be placed in areas which cannot be accessed by dogs, cats or other animals. Because of the dangerous nature of this substance, other less hazardous methods of snail and slug control should be used (see above).
Organophosphates and carbamates -are two large groups of insecticides.
Ethylene glycol – is commonly found in coolant and brake fluid. Animals are attracted to this toxic substance due to its sweet taste. If ingested, it causes severe and often irreparable kidney damage. For this reason it is important that substances containing ethylene glycol be locked away in a storage cabinet, and any that are spilt should be thoroughly and immediately cleaned up.
Kerosene and other petroleum distillates – are used in charcoal ligher fluid, paint thinner, ether, fuel and lubricating oil, naphtha, lacquer thinner, as well as rubber solvents. Fuel, solvents and cleaning agents are common vehicles for garden sprays and insecticides.
Rat poisons – are commonly arsenic, warfarin, red squill and ANTU. As with the snail and slug bait, placement of rat poison is very important. Ensure that animals, other than rats, cannot get near these poisons. Poisoned rats must be immediately and properly disposed of to ensure that other animals do not come into contact with them. Secondary poisoning is a common problem associated with using toxic substances to control problems involving rodents and insects. For this reason, try to deal with these problems without using dangerous substances.
Due to the large number of potentially toxic substances, there can be any number of symptoms present. If you suspect that your pet ingested, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled toxic material, you may see one or more of the following signs:
- vomiting, diarrhoea
- staggering, incoordination
- breathing difficulties
- collapse, death
If your dog is showing any signs of illness, please contact your vet immediately.