What is poisonous to dogs?

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Dogs have a different metabolism than humans and some things that are tolerable for you can be dangerous for your four-legged friend. Many owners already know that chocolate should not be left unattended when dogs are nearby. But there are many other toxins that require a visit to the vet. Here we explain some of them.

  1. grapes

Both fresh grapes from the vine and dried ones, in the form of raisins, contain the substance oxalic acid, which is dangerous for dogs. If dogs ingest large amounts of it, not only are their kidneys damaged, but symptoms of poisoning such as diarrhea or vomiting also occur.

  1. Onion family

The onion family of plants should generally be avoided because their toxic effects become apparent even when a small amount is consumed. Substances contained in the plant attack the red blood cells (erythrocytes), which makes the oxygen supply to the organs more difficult and, in the worst case, impossible. There is therefore a risk to the life of your four-legged friend.
In addition to the well-known onion plants such as onions, garlic and tulips, all types of leeks, such as wild garlic, also belong to this family. Care should be taken, especially when walking and in the garden.

  1. Evergreen plants

All evergreen plants are more or less poisonous to dogs, which is why they should be avoided. This includes:

  • Boxwood: Very poisonous, all parts of the plant can be life-threatening.
  • Ivy: Leaves are moderately poisonous, fruits are life-threatening.
  • Yew: Extremely toxic, can cause cardiac arrest within 90 minutes.
  • Honeysuckle: Very poisonous, can cause death through respiratory paralysis if severely poisoned.
  • Cherry laurel: Extremely poisonous, death from respiratory paralysis can occur within seconds!
  • Mistletoe: Moderately toxic, may cause restlessness and vomiting.
  • Oleander: Very toxic, can damage the liver and kidneys.
  • Rhododendron: Very poisonous, can cause death from seizures.
  • Thuja / Tree of Life: Very toxic, risk of serious liver and kidney damage.
  • Deadly nightshade: Extremely poisonous, quickly leads to movement and consciousness disorders, resulting in death due to respiratory paralysis.

  1. Acorns

With the toxin tannin, oak fruits also have a toxic effect on dogs. With a body weight of 10kg, just 5-10 acorns can cause symptoms of poisoning. In addition to the threat of liver and kidney damage, the most common problems are fatigue, fever, constipation and diarrhea. Additionally, acorns can cause a dangerous intestinal blockage in smaller dogs.

5. Various plants

It's not just evergreen plants that can be poisonous to dogs - your dog should also never eat these garden plants:

  • amaryllis
  • Holly
  • Angel trumpet
  • thimble
  • Golden shower
  • lily of the valley
  1. Pesticides

Rat poisons are exceptionally toxic and not just for small rodents. It also happens to dogs again and again. Rat poison blocks vitamin K, disrupting blood clotting and causing dogs to bleed to death internally. Internal bleeding occurs, for example, in the lungs, which causes corresponding symptoms - such as coughing with bloody sputum. Other symptoms include blood in the urine and a yellowish-pale oral mucosa. Because rats send tasters to test the food for the other rats, rat poisons have been developed that only work several hours or days later. This is particularly dangerous because the dog's owner may not be present when symptoms begin, making the cause of the symptoms more difficult to identify. Rat poison is sometimes colored, which significantly reduces the risk of poisoning remaining undetected for the time being.

Slug pellets are much more aggressive and quicker than rat poison and can also be found in many gardens. The liver poison causes cramps, heavy panting very quickly after ingestion and can lead to death due to circulatory collapse.

First measures in case of poisoning:

If you notice any abnormalities in your dog that indicate poisoning as described above, then you should definitely see the vet quickly. Take what the dog ate with you so the vet knows what poison he is dealing with. Packaging in particular helps to decide which antivenom needs to be administered.

The vet can take action if he deems it necessary. These medications should not be administered by laypeople:

Enema (intestinal lavage): Oily liquid into the intestines so that the poison is excreted. If necessary with anesthesia.

Emetics: The vet can also use medication to induce vomiting to get the poison out of the body. Such an emetic is effective up to 30-45 minutes after ingesting the poison.

Infusions: Infusions thin the blood and replenish electrolytes when diarrhea occurs.

Experience reports:

Our colleague Wilko had two bad poisoning experiences with his dog Juli, which required a visit to the vet. Here he reports on these situations:

Rat poison

Unfortunately, our neighbors had put out rat poison. Our Labrador dog Juli “indulged” her passion “EATING” that was baked into her DNA and devoured the bait.

Luckily it was colored “bluish”, so we quickly realized that Juli had eaten something “unnatural”. Her entire mouth area was bluish!

A query to the neighbors confirmed the initial suspicion of rat poisoning. This was followed by an immediate call to the vet, a quick drive and a “permitted push forward” in the waiting room.

Juli was given an emetic by injection - followed by a “walk” and waiting for “vomiting”. This started after about 10-15 minutes and hardly stopped.

Afterwards she was given an injection of vitamin K and then we were fortunately allowed to take her home with us. At the check-up a few days later, everything was completely fine again.

Slug pellets

One day other neighbors scattered slug pellets, which Juli ate like rat poison while exploring the garden. The problem: we didn't know that slug pellets were being scattered.

While walking her, she collapsed and remained motionless, so my wife had to carry Juli home. Then we went straight to the vet - but he didn't know what Juli had poisoned herself with.

The most severe symptoms developed - very heavy panting, cramps, tremors and we had to rush to a veterinary clinic. There her stomach was pumped and numerous painkillers and other medications were given. She stayed for 2 more days and nights for check-ups. We were then able to welcome them back into the family and my next weekend consisted of fixing up our fences! After 4 weeks we had to go to the vet again for a final check.