Toxic ingestion in dogs

Toxic ingestion happens when a dog eats a poison or toxic substance and can result in a life-threatening situation. Our dogs use their noses and mouths a lot, so it’s no surprise that they often come across things they shouldn’t eat.

Luckily, these situations can often be avoidable, but it’s important to act quickly if they have been exposed to a poison or toxin.


Luckily, if you’re not present when the ingestion occurs, a dog will often show signs that something is wrong, but these can vary depending on the type of poison they’ve encountered but can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart issues
  • Agitation
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Pale gums


There are several things that are toxic to dogs and these can be found out and about on walks, in our gardens, on pavements and even in the comfort of our own homes. Here are just some poisonous substances that can be found in our homes, gardens and communities:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes, currants, and raisins
  • Bleach
  • Xylitol (a sweetener)
  • Slug and snail pellets
  • Rodent poisons
  • Onions
  • Human drugs (like ibuprofen)
  • Alcohol
  • Antifreeze
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Hyacinth

There are other poisons that dogs can come across so learning about potential toxins can help keep your dog safe.

Prevention and treatment

Preventing toxic ingestion is possible, but it does require you to recognise canine poisons and to keep these plants, flowers, foods and substances well out of your dog’s reach. Always make sure to provide fresh, clean water. When out on walks, try to make sure they’re free from poisonous plants but if that’s not possible, always keep an eye on your dog.

Treatment will depend on what has been ingested, but often includes stabilisation, inducing sickness, and antidotes but they all work to neutralise the substance to prevent any further absorption.

If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour, or you think they have eaten something they shouldn’t have, don’t hesitate to contact the vet as quickly as possible to minimise any adverse effect on your dogs health .

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