Identifying and Tackling Poisoning in Stray Dogs

Frequently I get distress calls from stray dog feeders that all of a sudden their dog/s are frothing from mouth and having fits. 90% of the time these turn out to be poisoning cases. Stray dogs being scavengers, can get exposed to poisonous substance if they ingest already poisoned rat or poisonous plants or toxic chemicals. Malicious poisoning is also commonly seen in stray animals.

Signs of poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Frothing from mouth
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Staggering gait
  • Collapse

If you come across such signs, rush the dog to the nearest vet. Remember, every minute counts as poisoning can be life threatening! Your veterinarian is equipped with specific antidotes for different poisoning agents. Hence, it is imperative that the dog is taken to the vet as soon as possible. Apart from the antidote, vet will administer IV fluids and supportive medications. This is essential as poisoning can cause failure of vital organs such as liver, kidneys, heart and brain.

First – Aid till you reach the vet:

  1. Induce vomiting: If you have seen the dog swallow something harmful, immediately try and induce vomiting. This can be done by giving 3% Hydrogen Peroxide orally every 10 minutes. Keeping a teaspoon of salt at the back of dog’s tongue might also help to induce vomiting. However, do not try to induce vomiting if you know that the dog has swallowed corrosive acid, alkali, gasoline, strychnine, tranquilizers, sharp object, or if the animal is depressed or comatose. Inducing vomiting in such cases may cause more harm than good.
  2. Delaying absorption: If you are unsure of what the dog has swallowed, it will be a good idea to try and delay the absorption of poison. Activated charcoal is very beneficial for this. Activated charcoal tablets are easily available at local human chemists and must be a part of your dog first – aid kit. Apart from this, whipped egg white, vegetable oil, milk or water can help it delaying absorption of the poison.

Presence of mind and immediate action are two key factors to tackle poisoning cases successfully.