Pet Poisoning

The RSPCA has recently reported a shocking rise in incidents of pet poisoning over the past five years (from 213 in 2012 to 368 in 2016). The first eight months of 2017 have recorded 244 poisonings so far, making the yearly projection around 366 – a worrying figure.

Of course, not all poisonings are intentional, and in fact many are accidents which result from chemicals not being stored correctly. Paracetamol, rat poison, slug pellets and antifreeze are all common culprits (so always store these items well out of reach).

It’s very difficult for most of us to comprehend why somebody might deliberately harm a pet, and having lost a cat to poisoning as a child, it’s an issue that’s very close to my heart. Unfortunately, the very sad fact is that it does happen, so I thought it would be appropriate to give some advice about what you can do if you suspect your pet may have been poisoned:

1) Try to keep calm – if you become distressed, your pet will pick up on this easily and it may make matters worse

2) Remove your pet from the affected area immediately and remove any poisonous material from their reach

3) Check to make sure your pet is breathing and acting normally (i.e. doesn’t appear dizzy or sluggish)

4) Get help – call your vet or after hours number

5) If possible, collect evidence of the poison including any packaging, bottle or container and take it with you to the vet

6) Do NOT try and induce vomiting as this has the potential to cause more harm to the oesophagus and lungs

7) Do NOT give your pet milk, food, salt, or oil – just make your way to your vet immediately

Please keep in mind that with any poisoning there is only a narrow window of time for vets to remove the poison, so act quickly and do not wait for any overt signs (such as drooling, fitting, collapsing or weakness) to appear first.

I hope you will never end up using these tips, (and of course, even with this statistic the chances of your pet coming to harm in this way are slim), but it’s always better to be forearmed with the knowledge should you ever need it.

Finally, at the end of August the first possible ever sighting of the M25 cat killer occurred so here’s to crossing our fingers and those furry paws that they catch this nefarious individual soon!

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  1. Also, if they eat onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, some plants e.g. Poinsettia so just check lists available on the Internet and take care. Only give recommended treats, don’t be tempted to give your pet something you are eating until you are sure it is safe.

  2. Thank you, this is very helpful but I do hope I never need it! I have already lost two cats to poisoning in my lifetime. I wish the police and legal system could do more, but with all the cuts it seems unlikely!

    In the USA they take animal cruelty very seriously and prosecute daily, shame we can’t adopt that approach here?

  3. Hi, After reading your article on pet poisoning which I found quite distressing but a very important issue.
    I unfortunately had my own dog poisoned, luckily l noticed she was acting differently and was alarmed.
    Upon watching her in the garden after doing her business l notice she had been passing blood in her stools it was only a matter of minutes when she started to act very restless and became weak. I immediately became very worried and anxious . She immediately was taken to the vet on a emergency where l was told she was lucky to be alive she had been poisoned by this time she was passing blood quite freely .After many days of treatment she stared to show signs of improvement . Apparently poison was being dropped onto the field opposite where we live , pleased to say we have now moved and our dog is well and happy and need I say loved dearly. I would advise every pet owner to watch what their pets are sniffing or picking up there are a lot of sad people about that have nothing better than to make other people life unhappy if they only new what they are missing out on having the love and respect of a loyal pet. I wouldn’t wish on anybody what we went through so please be vigilant.

  4. Our dog liked to drink out of puddles which we tried to discourage but one puddle he wouldn’t come away from in the middle of the road. He was not well long after that and we were always suspicious that maybe someone had a car radiator leak and this puddle contained antifreeze in it which is highly toxic. Charlie died not long after although it was thought to be a stomach tumor but we often think if tjis contributed to his death. Just beware it might not always be obvious to you.

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