A french bulldog with a mask and some pills in front of him There are plenty of things that can lead to dog poisoning, so it's important to know all the dog poisoning symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Poisoning


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There are plenty of household items that can lead to dog poisoning, so it’s important to know all the dog poisoning symptoms.

There’s human food that’s dangerous for furbabies, like chocolate. Then there’s cleaning liquids you’d hide under the sink and pesticides or other things that you’d find in the garage. Of course, snakes and spiders are also a concern.

If that’s not enough to scare you, there’s also the risk of humans poisoning your dog to either gain entry to your house or for other malicious reasons.

Having some knowledge and a plan in case of dog poisoning can save your pooch’s life. So what are dog poisoning symptoms and what should you do if you see these signs in your furbaby? We’ll cover everything you need to know below.

A black dog with a donut in its mouth. There are plenty of human foods that can lead to dog poisoning, so it's important to know all the dog poisoning symptoms.

What can lead to dog poisoning?

There are many common household items that are poisonous to dogs. As you can imagine, things that are poisonous to humans are also dangerous for our furry friends. So we recommend putting your cleaning products and other harmful liquids and toxins in a cupboard or shelf out of reach. Do be mindful of ant traps and other pesticides or insecticides that you may have around the house.

Accidental poisoning

Now that’s pretty self explanatory, though it can get a bit more confusing with foods. There are some foods that, while they’re a lovely treat for us, are actually dangerous to dogs.

The more commonly known one is chocolate, but did you know grapes are also dangerous for furballs? Read about it in our can dogs eat grapes article. We also have an article with a whole load of info about common foods that are dangerous for dogs and another about other things that can poison your pet.

Deliberate poisoning

There have been plenty of cases of dogs being poisoned in Australia. Rat poison and snail poison is commonly used and hidden in mince meat. This is called dog baiting and the reasons for it is sometimes unclear. It may be a criminal who wants to get a guard dog out the way before breaking and entering. It may also be a malicious individual who simple doesn’t like dogs.

The Australian Animal Poisons Helpline has a bunch more information you can find on common poisons here. And if you need advice you can give them a call on 1300 869 738.

A puppy licking its lips.

Dog poisoning symptoms

Part of being a pet parent is learning and understanding doggy language. Because they can’t tell us directly what or how they’re feeling, you need to know the signs.

Signs or dog poisoning symptoms

The signs for hunger and “let me outside to potty” are easy to pick up. But you don’t want to have to learn what dog poisoning symptoms are in the heat of the moment. So, keep a close eye out for…

  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Heart problems
  • Diarrhoea
  • Kidney failure
  • Excessive bruising or bleeding
  • Nosebleeds
  • Unable to stand on their feet (unstable)
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Drooling
  • Oral irritation
  • Pale gums
  • Inability to urinate

This list is broad and you may have seen your dog exhibit some of these such as agitation. You understand their behaviour best and should look out for these signs in conjunction or if it’s abnormal. 

Top View of Container With Dangerous Poison And Dietary Supplements on Orange Background.

Act quickly!

Dog poisoning is best dealt with immediately to avoid serious problems. Or worse, fatality. 

If you notice any of the above dog poisoning symptoms, get them to an emergency clinic as soon as possible for treatment. Remember that these signs could be symptoms of some other condition as well. Dog vomiting might be gastro and not too much to worry about, but it’s always best to get your vet involved to make sure.

Dog poisoning FAQ

We’ve collected the frequently asked dog poisoning questions and answers so you can have all the info in one place. 

What do I do if my dog is poisoned?

According to the Australian Animal Poisons Helpline, this is what to do if you see or suspect your pet has swallowed something poisonous:

  • First off, remove them from the area to avoid any more possible poisoning.
  • Rinse or wipe their mouth with a damp towel or flannel.
  • Don’t try to make them eat or drink anything until you’ve spoken to the Animal Poisons Helpline. Keep their number safe for emergencies. You can contact them for FREE on 1300 869 738 in Australia.
  • You may be asked for the following information:
  1. Your dog’s or cat’s name and weight
  2. Details about the poison(s) they’ve been exposed to, including the product name and the amount. Try to have the bottle/packaging in front of you when you call
  3. How they’ve been exposed (did they swallow it, get it on their skin or eyes, inhale it, were they bitten by something, etc)
  4. The time since exposure
  5. If they have any symptoms
  6. If they have any previous medical conditions
  7. Any treatment you’ve already performed
  • It’s not advised to make them vomit unless you’re 100% sure what they’ve swallowed. If they’ve swallowed something caustic, vomiting will severely inflame and irritate their throats and may just make things worse.
  • Don’t give them milk. Dogs and cats are lactose intolerant and milk may only make things worse.
  • After you’ve performed treatment, the Helpline may still advise that you take your pet to your vet for a checkup.
  • You will then be recommended treatment to perform, or you will be referred to a vet if necessary.

How long does it take for poison to affect a dog?

This is very dependent on the type of poison. The first symptoms of dog poisoning after ingesting antifreeze, for example, will appear in as little as 30 minutes. On the other hand, the symptoms of chocolate poisoning take between 6 and 12 hours to show up. Then rat poisons will take 3-5 days after ingestion for your furball to start showing symptoms.

How does a vet treat a poisoned dog?

Your veterinarian, depending on the type of dog poisoning, may do one of the following. They may give your dog intravenous fluid, flush your dog’s stomach, or give your dog activated charcoal to absorb the toxin. It may even be necessary to perform surgery. Supportive medications may also help your dog’s kidneys and liver process the poison and heal.

Does milk help with dog poisoning?

This is a big no no! Most of our beloved pets are lactose intolerant, which means giving them milk will cause, or even worsen, stomach upset symptoms.

What to give a dog if it is poisoned?

If you know what poisoned your dog, it’s a great idea to bring some of it along to your veterinarian – such as the container it came from. This may help them identify the poison and determine the best treatment. For instance, you can give activated charcoal or Endosorb (if recommended by a veterinarian) for poisons such as chocolate or bromethalin.

Cute little puppy or dog in harness licks out milk or snacks from cup, owner feeds dog his own food. Adorable relationship between pet and human. Coffee latte cup

Peace of mind with pet insurance

The questions you want to be asking during medical emergencies should be “what’s best for my dog?” and not “can we afford this?” At PD Insurance, we’re pet parents too, so we know that means caring for our furbabies and giving them the best. 

Tests after accidents, medication for allergies, surgery for illnesses and all kinds of other treatments can be costly. Get peace of mind with a pet insurance plan that’ll give you a soft landing. We know how dogs (and even cats) love to find their way into things they shouldn’t.

Bonus: if you sign up with us online you’ll get one or more months of insurance cover for free!

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