How to Deal with Dog Poisoning Emergencies Over Christmas

How to Deal with Dog Poisoning Emergencies Over Christmas

Health & Safety

With Christmas literally just around the corner, it can be an exciting time in households all over the country as preparations for the big day are under way. However, there are things you need to be prepared for which are not that nice to have to deal with during the festive season, and one of them is coping with an accidental poisoning in your dog.

There will be many dogs in lots of homes competing for a little titbit from people and a lot of the time it's something they are not allowed to eat or don't normally eat. The trouble is that with all the excitement, dogs have a bad habit of not even tasting what guests might quite innocently give them which means they swallow it up in one gulp – more than likely because they know they are not allowed to beg for food!

The trouble is they could have ingested something that's very poisonous to them or at the very least, the food they eat may give them a seriously bad stomach ache followed by diarrhoea. Either way, for dog owners, it can be hard to deal with over the Christmas period when only emergency vets are on call.

If you think your dog has eaten something toxic or that has seriously disagreed with them, you need to know what to do in such an emergency – and it is an emergency! Sometimes, the symptoms of poisoning manifest themselves almost straight away, but there are times when they may take a few days to show. The symptoms you need to keep an eye out for in dog poisoning include the following:

  • Bleeding from orifices
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness/lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness

Any sort of poisoning in dogs is life-threatening and as such you pet needs emergency veterinary attention whether it's night or day. If you suspect poisoning in your dog, you need to get them to the vet as soon as you can or it could prove fatal.

Telephone Numbers You Need to Have to Hand

  • Make sure you have all the necessary emergency telephone numbers that vets have given out for people to use over the festive season in case their pets suffer an injury and need emergency treatment

  • If you know what your dog has eaten, make sure you have this information ready to give to the vet over the phone so they are prepared for when you arrive with your dog at the surgery

  • Make sure you tell everyone who is visiting you over the Christmas period that certain human foods can prove deadly if fed to dogs – and make sure they appreciate the seriousness of things

The Important Things You Have to Do Straight Away

When it comes to the things you must do to help your pet before you get your dog to the vet - the most important is to stay calm then call the vet. After this you have to do the following:

  • Occasionally, vets will tell you to try to get your dog to be sick but this depends on the symptoms they are showing

  • If the poison has not been ingested but on your dog's skin, then you need to rinse it off with cool water – this applies to liquids like bleach or other strong detergents

  • If you suspect chocolate poisoning, you should try to get your dog to vomit so that less of the chocolate is absorbed when it reaches the intestines but only under the advice of the vet

  • If you think your dog may have chewed on and swallowed a poisonous plant which includes festive ones that many people like to decorate their homes with, it is a good idea to induce vomiting but only under the advice of the vet

  • If you think your dog may have eaten a lot of raisins, dates, dried fruit like apricots again you should make them vomit to avoid too much of the poison getting into their systems but only under the advice of the vet

How To Induce Vomiting

Some people recommend giving a dog that's showing signs of poisoning a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. You need to mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide (3%) which is chemist strength but DO NOT attempt to pour the mix down your pet's throat as this may result in them inhaling the liquid something you must avoid at all costs.

You have to pull your dog's lips away from the side of their mouths so that it forms a kind of pocket and slowly pour tablespoons of the liquid into the pocket you've created so they can swallow the mixture themselves. You might need a second person to help you do this. Recommended dosages is as follows:

  • 1 Tablespoon of water mixed with hydrogen peroxide to every 10 lbs of your dog's body weight

Once your dog has swallowed enough of the mixture they will start vomiting and it usually takes around two minutes for the liquid to take effect. After you've given your dog the mixture and when their stomachs are settled, it's a good idea to give your dog 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts diluted in a little water which helps flush out toxins that are present in their intestines.

Although the idea of giving hydrogen peroxide to your dog may sound a bit drastic, once ingested, it becomes oxygen and water which is totally harmless to your dog. You still need to get your dog to the vet as a matter of urgency so they can be treated accordingly for the poison they ingested as making them vomit is just the first part of the process of your pet making a recovery.

The Importance of Spotting a Problem Early

It cannot be stressed strongly enough just how important it is to spot systems of poisoning early because this is the only way your dog may be treated successfully so they make a full recovery.

When NOT to Induce Vomiting in Your Dog

There are instances when you should not attempt to induce vomiting which is when your dog may have accidentally swallowed the following:

  • Acid
  • Alkali
  • Petrol
  • Diesel
  • Anti-freeze

If you think your dog may have ingested any of the liquids mentioned above, then sometimes a little diluted milk may help relieve the symptoms until you get your pet to the vet. And again you would need to give them the diluted milk by making a pocket as described above – NEVER attempt to pour the mixture down their throats because your dog may end up inhaling it which could cause more problems!


Christmas is a lovely time of the year when family and friends can enjoy each other's company and have a whole lot of fun. However, you need to know what to do if your dog eats too much of something they shouldn't – this includes chocolate, Christmas cake or pudding and other festive goodies that can really harm them. As long as you are aware and keep a close eye on your pet then things should go smoothly and everyone will have a great time – but if things go wrong you have to know what to do which is to get your dog to the vet as soon as you can.

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