From Hobo the Bearded Collie
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Welcome to my advice column.  Remember, I am only a dog like you.  My opinions are to the best of my knowledge but are only opinions, researched or what I feel is correct.. The writer of this page is not responsible for any actions the reader may take as a result of reading this column.  If that is OK with you, keep reading.  If not, then go back and enjoy the other pages. You can address your questions to Hobo by Email with the topic Hobo's Advice (click on my picture)  

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Current Column - Poisoning

Dear Hobo, My dog ate something in the yard and is now acting funny. What should I do?

With warm weather, outdoor activities and more time in the yard come some irritating or potentially fatal hazards for you dog. We hope to give you a idea of what to watch out for to keep you best friend healthy and happy. This isn't meant to replace veterinary care - in fact we always recommend consulting first with your vet. But we do want you to be aware of some hazards. We suggest you take time to walk around the house and yard and try to identify any hazards waiting for your dog (or your family)

In many cases inducing vomiting has been recommended. This should never be done if the dog is listless, unconscious, or in a stupor. Also, if you suspect cleaning products, hydrocarbon fluids (motor oil kerosene, gasoline), strong acids or alkali, you should not induce vomiting. Always consult with a veterinarian before proceeding, and we suggest you follow his instructions to induce or not to induce vomiting. One common method is to mix 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of milk if available - you may need to force feed with an eyedropper.

Remember - it is always easier for your vet if you are able to accurately identify the probably cause of the ailment.

Household Drugs

Many human type drugs can be toxic to dogs. It may surprise you that many people feel that if a human can take a drug, then so can a dog. On the reverse side of that, we know people who have borrowed their dog's prescription. Treat drugs as though you are are watching out for a small baby. Dogs will get into things out of curiosity - keep drugs out of reach. Some of those that you may believe harmless follow:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) - can be toxic to dogs. Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty in breathing, dark colored urine, and listlessness.

Ibuprofen - upset stomach, thirst, increased urination, blood in stool, depression, staggering or seizures. Can lead to liver or kidney disease. Induce vomiting if possible and seek immediate veterinary help.

Other drugs - even aspirin can be poisonous if too much is ingested by your dog. Just think of a dog as a baby - would you give the medicine to a baby without first consulting the doctor, and if so - what dosage level would you give him?


Antifreeze (containing ethylene glycol) - vomiting, diarrhea , increased thirst, depression, loss of coordination and kidney failure and death. Usually there is little time, as little as one hour to get immediate veterinary help

Yard chemicals - once of the most common causes of irritation or illness. There is such a wide variety that it is difficult to provide a description or suggestions for help. These range from common fertilizers to weed or bug killers. The most common symptom is irritation to the feet which may be accompanied with - drowsy or listlessness, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, drooling, vomiting or diarrhea. It is best to thoroughly wash the exposed area using a mild shampoo with water and flushing. Seek veterinary care.

Rat Poison - Symptoms may take several days to appear. Weakness, pale gums, bruises on body or gums, bloody urine or feces (some times blue green from dyes), Death. Immediate seek veterinary assistance. Rat poisons usually inhibit vitamin K, causing internal bleeding

Snail Bait - loss of coordination, Muscle Tremors, convulsions, increased heart rate. Induce vomiting, contact a veterinarian.

Other Insect and or rodent Poisons - usually symptoms occur within two hours - nervousness, seizures (sometimes provoked by loud noise), death. Induce vomiting and seek immediate veterinary help.

Lead ( found at one time in many products including paints, insecticides, and even golf balls )- seizures, unusual behavior, vomiting, lethargy, uncoordinated movement. Smaller or younger dogs at greater risk than are adults. - consult veterinarian

Fish Hooks - your dog may be attracted to the smell of the bait and try to eat the hook. In other cases they are just caught with the hook as the pass by. Do not try to pull the hook out if it has penetrate past the barb. Usually the dog will show signs of drooling or pawing at the mouth, limping (foot). Seek veterinary help.


Ingestion of Insects - vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, disorientation, difficulty breathing, seizures. Of will drool or have irritation around the mouth area from bites or stings. Give water, induce vomiting, seek veterinary assistance.

Bee (wasp, hornet) stings - scratching, swelling, difficulty breathing. Dogs have less reaction to stings than people. You can usually find the stinger and remove it. Most common areas are around the face and particularly the nose. Reduce swelling with ice wrapped in a towel.

Spider Bites, Ant Bites, Scorpion Stings - (see also insect ingestion if it is in the dog's mouth) - irritated or painful skin area, open sore, muscle pain or contractions, fever, vomiting, blood in urine, difficult or rapid breathing, shock or paralysis, death. Most spiders are nonpoisonous so bites can be treated like normal insect bites (see also bee stings). Apply ice wrapped in a towel for 10 minute intervals to reduce swelling. If poisons is suspected seek veterinary help.

Snake Bites (some or all) - swelling or bruising, respiratory distress, digestive upset, depression, paralysis, comatose, death. Usually the bite is located - either two puncture wounds (poisonous) or U shaped (non poisonous - caused by many teeth). Keep the dog calm and warm, rush to veterinarian.

Toad Poisoning - drool or mouth irritation, shaking head, vomiting or dry heaves, weakness (or collapsing), difficulty breathing, blue gums, seizures, death. Flush the mouth with water and seek veterinary care. If possible identify the type of toad.


There are dozens of plants that can be either irritating or poisonous. There is no way we could list all here. Our main point is to watch for eating of any plants, followed by symptoms indicating that they have an ill effect or your dog. Also note that even getting a twig or stick caught in the throat can be life threatening.

You should watch for warning signs if your dog eats any kind of plant. Some dogs may be allergic to plants that are harmless to others. And, there are many plants that can be very poisonous. Each plant can result in a different symptom - any single symptom or sometimes all of the following:

irritation around mouth
drooling or discharge from mouth or nose
swelling around moth or throat
excessive thirst
upset stomach or vomiting
stomach pain
urine color change
dilated eyes (pupils)
difficulty breathing
tremors, seizures, convulsions
irregular, slow or rapid heart beat

These can be followed by damage to the internal organs (liver, kidneys or heart) or even death. In some cases birth defect in offspring have resulted. So get help from your veterinarian if you suspect something serious.

Online Resources:

National Animal Poison Control Center
National Animal Poison Control Center run by the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, There is a $30 fee for a consultation. 1-800-548-2423 or 1-900-680-000

More on Poisonous Plants

More on Poisons -

Animal CPR:

Our old article below may add some additional information

I ate something poisonous?
Dear Hobo - What should i do if I suspect my dog has eaten something that might be poisonous?  If you know what he ate, get the container and get on the phone with a call to either your vet or local animal hospital.  Or you can call the National Animal Poison Control Center.  Take a minute and check out their web page , it is loaded with good advice. Note that the call to the NAPCC is not free, you will pay between $20 and $30 (or more).  The keeps a list of poisonous plants. Your vet may want you to bring in any samples of vomit or anything your dog has chewed.  They need to determine what the poison is (or if it is poisonous).

Possible symptoms of Poisoning requiring immediate attention 

  • Swollen or painful abdomen 
  • bleeding from nose or mouth
  • tremors, staggering, convulsions, weakness, collapse
  • unusual behavior - imaginary biting, withdrawal, sudden aggressiveness, looks bewildered, unusual posture
  • Signs of Pain - constant or intermittent
  • Difficulty breathing, shallow or rapid breathing, blue tongue
  • rapid heartbeat, 
  • dilated pupils
  • Can not urinate or move bowels 
  • Bloody or painful defecation or urination. 
    Vomiting or diarrhea with blood or violent episodes. 
Remember A poisoned dog must be treated right away; any delay could cause his death.  And every type of poison requires a different method of treatment.  Here are some recent incidents that have been described. 

Please make people aware of the symptoms of rat poisoning.   Had I known about the bleeding from the nose, etc., I might have been able to save my Airedale. (I thought she had gotten cut on something even though I couldn't see any marks.) I didn't know that rat poison causes the blood to quit clotting and that those who ingest it bleed to death internally.    By the time I realized my dog was sick, it was too late.   She died at the veterinarian's within 45 minutes.  I also wish I had requested he keep a sample of her blood to send in for verification. I wasn't aware that the poisoning can take up to 3 weeks to do its deadly deed. My dogs are ALWAYS in their back yard or on a leash with me.   I purposely put up a 6 foot high privacy fence to protect them from perverts who would harm them... sometimes, there is just no way to ensure safety of those we love.

Two owners have now reported their dogs getting sick or intoxicated from fumes of hydrocarbon fuels.  One case involved a fuel leaking from a heater.  The other gasoline fumes.  In both case the dogs began acting strangely - they ran in circles and snapped at imaginary objects.  They became intoxicated by the fumes.  Hydrocarbon fumes can replace the air in the lungs and result in loss of oxygen to the brain. 

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