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Pet Poison Control for dogs

Emergency Response for Pet Poisoning

If you have a pet, having a first aid kit is essential. Being prepared for an emergency can mean the difference between life and death for your furry friend. Here's what to do and what to include in your pet’s emergency kit.

Activated Charcoal for Pets

Activated charcoal is a key item to include in your pet first aid kit. It comes in two versions, one with and one without sorbitol. This medication prevents the absorption of toxins and drugs. Administering activated charcoal can be challenging; it must be given with encouragement or via a feeding tube. This treatment can be crucial in emergencies where your pet has ingested something harmful.

Should I Induce Vomiting in My Dog?

Inducing vomiting is not always the best approach if your dog eats something toxic or inedible. Some toxins are caustic and can cause more damage on the way back up, such as bleach or batteries. In some cases, inducing vomiting can exacerbate the problem, especially with medications that can cause seizures if regurgitated. Always consult your vet or an emergency animal poison control number before making your dog vomit.

While there are recommendations online for using hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting, it can be dangerous. Hydrogen peroxide can cause severe side effects, including air embolisms and death in pets. The FDA-approved drug, Clevor, can be a safer option for inducing vomiting in dogs under veterinary supervision.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Something Toxic?

Common Items Dogs Eat:

  • Mouse or Rat Poison: Retrieve the package, read the type of toxin, and contact Poison Control. The amount consumed, length of time since consumption, size of the dog, and type of poison will dictate treatment. Vitamin K1 is often the antidote for rodenticides that interfere with blood clotting. For newer poisons that alter vitamin D metabolism, immediate veterinary care is necessary.

  • Chocolate: True chocolate toxicity is rare but depends on the type and amount of chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Contact your vet or Poison Control with details about the type of chocolate and amount consumed.

  • Alcohol: Even a small amount can be toxic, causing symptoms like incoordination, vomiting, and potentially death. Seek immediate veterinary care.

  • Coffee/Caffeine: This stimulant can cause serious symptoms in pets. Do not induce vomiting without veterinary advice.

  • Grapes/Raisins: These can cause kidney failure in some dogs. Contact your vet immediately if ingestion occurs.

  • Sugarless Candy (Xylitol): This sweetener can cause low blood sugar and liver damage. Feed your dog ice cream immediately and contact your vet for further treatment.

  • Human Medication: Many medications can be toxic at low doses. Always contact Poison Control or your vet if ingestion is suspected.

  • Ant Traps: Most ant poisons are not toxic, but the plastic traps can cause gastrointestinal blockages. Avoid placing ant traps where pets can reach them.

Key Items for Your Pet First Aid Kit


  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine): For allergic reactions, at a dosage of 1 mg per pound.


  • Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim: For gastrointestinal and respiratory issues.

  • Doxycycline: For respiratory problems.

  • Amoxicillin/Clavamox: Safe for nursing puppies.


  • Electrolyte Solutions: To prevent dehydration in cases of diarrhea or during hot weather.

Wound Care

  • Vetericyn: For cleaning wounds.

  • Chlorhexidine: An antibacterial scrub (avoid the eyes).

  • Gauze Pads: For covering wounds.

  • Co-Flex Bandages: For wrapping wounds (ensure they are not too tight).

Tissue Adhesives

  • Vetbond: For holding wounds together.

Suture/Needle Combos

  • Sutures: For tying off arteries or stitching wounds (consult your vet for training).


  • Hemostats: For clamping arteries or removing dewclaws.

  • Bandage Scissors: For safely cutting bandages without harming the skin.

Eye Injury Treatment

  • Terramycin or Vetericyn: For treating eye injuries. Flush with saline first, then apply the treatment.

National Animal Poison Control Center

The National Animal Poison Control Center (888.426.4435) and the Pet Poison Hotline (855.764.7661) are excellent resources in case of poisoning. Keep these numbers handy, as there is a fee for their services. Some products may also have emergency numbers on their packaging.

Prevention Tips

To avoid emergencies, keep medications, chocolate, candy, and other potential toxins out of reach. Secure these items in cabinets or areas inaccessible to pets. When you can’t supervise your pet, use crates or baby gates to prevent them from getting into trouble.

For more information and resources, visit

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