There are three main steps to treating poisoning in dogs. Your vet will use some or all of them, depending on the type of poison and how long it has been since your dog was exposed to it.

1. The first step is to stop any further absorption of poison into your dog’s system. For example, if they have become sick from an overdose of insecticide on their skin, you must thoroughly wash them to remove the remaining chemical. If they have eaten something toxic in the previous hour or so, it is possible to make them vomit up whatever is left in their stomach, which stops more poison making its way into their bloodstream. This can be done at home, but do check with your vet first. Some poisons are caustic, and they can do more damage to your dog’s body if they are vomited back up.

Activated charcoal is also very good for swallowed poisons as it will absorb a wide range of substances and stop any further absorption.

2. As your dog’s body is metabolizing and excreting the poison, they will need supportive treatment. This usually includes intravenous fluids to keep their kidneys working properly. It may also involve medication to stop any seizures, and drugs to keep your dog’s heart rate and breathing steady.

3. Some poisons have a specific antidote that negates their effects and prevents any worsening of your dog’s symptoms, and helps them recover. Poisoning with organophosphate flea control products can be treated by your vet with atropine. If your dog drinks antifreeze, the specific antidote is ethanol.

You can expect your dog to stay in hospital for a day or two as they recover from their illness. You may also have to continue their treatment at home after their discharge.

In Summary – Don’t hesitate in contacting your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has been poisoned. The sooner they are treated, the better their chance of recovery.