If you think that your dog may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call the
National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC)
(888) 426-4435; 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
($65 consultation fee);
click here for more information.
NAPCC phones are answered by licensed veterinarians and board-certified veterinary toxicologists. Staff have a wide range of information specific to animal poisoning, augmented by an extensive collection of thousands of individual cases involving pesticide, drug, plant, metal, and other exposures in companion animals. This specialized information means that experienced NAPCC staff can make specific recommendations for animals, rather than generalized poison information provided through a human poison control center.
DOG POISONING FIRST AID KIT
Fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide: 3% USP (preferred) or Syrup of Ipecac (to induce vomiting)
Turkey baster or bulb syringe (to administer peroxide);
Activated charcoal substance (see, below);
Saline eye solution;
Artificial tear gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)
Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid (to bathe irritated skin);
Tweezers/ forceps (to remove foreign objects);
Muzzle (to protect against “fear” or excitement- induced biting);
Can of your dog’s favorite wet food;
Pet carrier (provides security/prevents injury during transport).
BEING PREPARED FOR AN EMERGENCY
first means being aware of what risks are in
your dog's “everyday environment.”
To evaluate this risk of poisoning in dogs, relate it to poisoning in human children: poisons accessible for a toddler to ingest, are also at hand to poison your dog. Both are attracted to many of the same things: a dog that walks through spilled antifreeze might lick its paws afterwards, much as a child might put his fingers in his mouth after playing in an interesting-looking puddle of yellow goo in the driveway. “Natural poisons” are defined as those that may be ordinarily laying around the house.
It's important to accept that so-called “home remedies” can be dangerous. Don’t give the dog milk, food, salt, oil, or any other home remedies. Do not induce vomiting without consulting a veterinarian: in many instances, vomiting is contraindicated and may be harmful.
ONIONS, CHIVES  GARLIC 
GRAPES, RASINS 
or GUM 
RAW SALMON 
SNAIL and SLUG
HAM/TURKEY SKIN 
COFFEE/ CAFFEINE 
MACADAMIA NUTS, WALNUTS 
YEAST DOUGH 
COCOA BEAN MULCH 
and FLEA COLLARS 
CITRUS FRUITS 
ACETAMINOPHREN (Tylenol)  IBUPROFEN (Advil, Motrin)  NAPROXEN (Aleve) 
FRUIT SEEDS and PIPS 
HOUSE plants 
& LANDSCAPE PLANTS 
Porous, carbon-based activated charcoal is often part of toxicity treatment protocols, as it adsorbs unwanted toxins that have been ingested. Charcoal is produced from exposing coconut husk or wood to high heat and burning it to produce millions of pores in the charcoal debris.
Adsorb-tion differs from absorption because the matter can actually hold and bind the toxins at a molecular level within, so that they are unable to escape. Activated charcoal helps to reduce toxic load, treat gastrointestinal complications, and reduce overall inflammation.
It is a form of porous carbon that has been “activated” by exposing coconut husk or wood it to an oxidizing gas compound of steam, oxygen, and acids at high temperature: the carbon matrix becomes permeated with a network of microscopic pores (micro and macropores), increasing the surface area in the charcoal debris. This change dramatically increases its capacity for absorption through transfer of energy. The nature of this comparatively weak attractive electrical force in molecules, through which neutral molecules are attracted to each other (induced dipole dispersion forces) is known as Van der Waals forces (Dutch physicist Johannes Diderik van der Waals, 1873); and identified in quantum mechanics by Fritz London in 1930.
The potential for activated charcoal to attract other substances in this way, rendering then unavailable for transfer across the gut-blood barrier (absorbed into the bloodstream), is the reason for its clinical use as an emergency treatment for poisoning. It must be given soon after the ingestion of the toxin/poison. It is not an antidote (also cannot resolve certain types of toxins such as alcohol, ethanol, or methanol), and other supportive care and medications may be needed for the treatment of the poisoning. Check with your Veterinarian
for advice first.
Activated charcoal will be available in powder, granules, liquid, or suspension forms; (veterinary procured brands include: CharcoAid®, Liqui-Char-Vet Aqueous Suspension®, Toxiban® ). Dosage will adjust accordingly; (generally, for poisoning, it is dosed orally at 1 to 4 gm/kg using granules or 6 to 12 ml/kg of the suspension; or powder as 1 g per 5 ML of water; thus 10 ML of the resulting slurry by mouth). It is wise to keep a suitable measuring spoon and container right in your emergency kit. You should not attempt to dose a dog that is not fully conscious, as aspiration (vomiting) can result that the dog will not be able to clear. Side effects can include constipation or diarrhea; stool will appear black afterwards.
Global Warming presents new dangers
Exposure to the toxins in blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) can be fatal within minutes. Algae can be present throughout the year, but may flourish dangerously during periods of sustained warm, sunny days in shallow, nutrient rich (brackish or salty) bodies of water; and even in aquariums. In these conditions, the blue-green algae reproduces exponentially, a sudden “bloom” that produces two different natural toxins: anatoxins, which cause sudden death due to respiratory paralysis (acute neurotoxicity: known as Very Fast Death Factor , or simply VFDF); and microcystins, which lead to liver failure.
Symptoms of microcystin toxicity are similar to those of other liver toxins and include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and inappetence. There is no antidote: seek veterinary treatment without delay, but which will consist of supportive care only. Never allow your dog to swim in water with algal blooms since, although not all blue-green algae produce toxins, you will not be able to distinguish visually.
 CHOCOLATE: contains large amounts of methylxanthines, (methyl-alcohol stimulants); specifically, theobromine (from the cocoa bean plant), a poison that affects the central nervous system and heart, manifesting in the form of epileptic seizures. Most toxic: baker’s chocolate (with 450mg/oz. of theobromine), as little as 0.1 oz/lb. of body weight can be fatal; however, milk chocolate (45-60mg/oz. of theobromine), and even chocolate cookies or cake/ice cream in excess
can be deadly.
Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, restlessness and hyperactivity, can progress after several hours to: arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), muscle twitching, tremors and seizures; hyperthermia, and which can escalate to coma— death follows shortly. Frequent urination is a direct side affect of the toxin in chocolate.
How is Chocolate Poisoning Treated? Simple advance preparation is helpful; your emergency kit should include a measuring spoon and cup so that treatment can begin with relative calmness and without delay. Basic protocol is administration of fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide to water solution: (1-2 teaspoons for a small dog, 3-4 tablespoons for a larger dog), orally every 10-15 minutes until vomiting is induced. Then, administration of activated charcoal (see, discussion immediately above) mixed with water into a “slurry” (or, according to the type of activated charcoal you have procured from your vet or pharmacy); seek veterinary attention immediately prior and subsequent to this procedure.
 ANTIFREEZE: so poisonous that only a few licks can lead to death in just hours. The toxic ingredient ethylene glycol (also found in brake and hydraulic fluids and rust inhibitors) makes up 95% of the product. Dogs (any small animals) are attracted to sweet smell and palatable taste and will lap it up unknowing of the danger. Lethal doses for a medium sized dog breed are less than 2 oz. Ethylene glycol is rapidly absorbed and metabolized, with an immediate and a long-term affect on the body: peak blood levels occur within 3 hours of ingestion, quickly leading to organ failure.
Symptoms: within 30 minutes, the dog becomes ataxic (loss of muscle coordination) or drunken in appearance; this phase continues for up to 6 hours.
It is critical to immediately seek veterinary attention.
When this dazed/unsteady behavior subsides the guardian often mistakenly believes the problem is over, however, the ethylene glycol then enters the liver and kidneys where it is oxidized (glycoaldehyde to: glyoxcylic acid, formic acid, & oxalate) that acidify the blood and destroy renal tubular cells in the kidneys, resulting in uremia (acute kidney failure) and damage to the central nervous system.
The dog may appear recovered; but 12 hours later as the ethelyne glycol is metabolized by the liver and kidneys s/he drinks and urinates excessively, is sensitive to touch, seems depressed and “wobbly.” There is no treatment that will reverse this damage: typically fatal within days.
Onions & Chives
 ONIONS & CHIVES: (raw/cooked/powder) contain a toxic ingredient thiosulphate (sulfur compound used to set dyes in textiles) and N-propyl disulfide; with poisoning occurring in the form of hemolytic anemia (red blood cells burst open throughout the blood stream).
Symptoms: nausea, gastroenteritis causing vomiting and diarrhea; heart arrhythmia, damage to red blood cells (shows as red pigment
staining the urine).
 GARLIC: (non-raw/cooked/powder/bottled or minced/extracts or concentrates) A member of the allium family of flowering plants; in prepared forms contains concentrated amounts of thiosulphate, (see: onions), causing nausea, gastroenteritis, anemia, heart arrhythmia, and oxidative damage of red blood cells (Heinz body hemolytic anemia) that deplete its ability to transfer oxygen to tissues.
Symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, weakness or lethargic behavior; (garlic, however, is useful in small amounts as a natural flea repellent; use in strict moderation/under supervision. Be aware that in these preparations, garlic may be combined with brewers yeast, which many dogs may be
allergic to separately).
 GRAPES & RASINS: (specific toxic substance is unknown); poisoning progresses to acute renal (kidney) failure (in dogs with compromised heath or immune systems, signs are more dramatic), which leads to death.
Symptoms: first signs of poisoning occur with a few hours of ingestion, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain; lethargy and subdued attitude. As the toxins affect the kidneys, less urine is produced, and death follows shortly: seek immediate veterinary attention.
Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
 XYLITOL: used as an artificial sweetener across a broad range of confectionaries, including “sugarless” gum, candy, breath mints, baked goods; & toothpaste. Causes sudden insulin release which leads to hypoglycemia (drop in blood sugar levels: the body is thrown into shock, as blood sugar levels can drop 50 points in only 30 minutes); coagulopathy (failure to clot), hyperacute liver failure, and hepatic encephalopathy (confusion, stupor and coma). Elevated liver enzymes and hyperacute liver failure can take only a few days to become fatal.
Symptoms: Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy, pale gums and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy (insistence on lying down), arrythmia (desultory heart rate), seizures, and unconsciousness. Since treatment involves not only induced vomiting and dosing of charcoal, but also a dextrose intravenous drip (to raise the dog's blood sugar level) and injection of intravenous fluids or subcutaneous fluid injections, immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
 BROCCOLI: contains isothiocyanate, a powerful and painful gastrointestinal irritant. In small amounts (less than 5% of total diet) is nutritional as the bioflavanoids help prevent cancer.
Raw Salmon or Fish
 RAW SALMON: consumption of raw fish (or garbage with) can be fatal; fish that swim upstream to breed may consume the Nanophyetus salmincola parasite, which are infected with the neorickettsia helminthoeca organism.
Symptoms: show within 6 days, vomiting, appetite loss, fever, bloody diarrhea, weakness, swollen lymph nodes, dehydration. Death may follow: immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
SNAIL & SLUG BAIT or POISON
 SNAIL & SLUG BAIT or POISON: contains arsenic and metaldehyde (also found in ant poison, insecticides, and weed killers) ingested when dogs lick or eat grass, (or rummage where insecticides are stored).
Symptoms: drooling and thirst, diarrhea, vomiting, and confusion. Death comes swiftly: immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
Rodenticides: (mice and rat poisons)
 RODENTICIDES: Generally, of common types, below: to all of which, death may follow.
Long-acting anticoagulants (LAACs), active ingredients in these products include brodifacoum, diphacinone and diphenadione , warfarin and bromadiolone, hydroxycoumadin, warfarin, chlorohacinone, pindone, and diphacinone.
These agents block the synthesis of vitamin K, an essential component for normal blood clotting. Since they do not affect clotting factors already in circulation in the bloodstream, there is a lag time between ingestion of the poison and bleeding—3 to 5 days for a dog—which, however, is spontaneous and uncontrollable,
leading to death.
Ordinarily, these products contain green dye so humans can recognize them quickly. However, with poor vision, dogs may recognize them as kibble.
Symptoms: lethargy, exercise intolerance, coughing, difficulty breathing due to bleeding into the lungs (rattling or crackling sound), a swollen abdomen from accumulation of blood, weakness and pale gums; vomiting or diarrhea (sometimes bloody), bleeding from the rectum, spontaneous nosebleeds and bruising or hematoma under the skin that appears suddenly without trauma.
Other symptoms can include bloody urine, swollen joints, loss of appetite, and bleeding gums or other bleeding in the oral cavity. Signs of bleeding in more than one location are definitive. Treatment will involve administering fresh whole blood, or frozen plasma; subcutaneously administered Vitamin K as an antidote; immediate veterinary attention is necessary. If possible, recovery may take a month.
BROMETHALIN: new generation, faster acting rodenticide; a fast-acting neurotoxin that affects the brain and liver.
Symptoms: signs of brain swelling and central nervous system disturbance appear within two to 24 hours of ingestion; unsteadiness, weakness, muscle tremors, paddling motions of the limbs, hyper-excitability, depression, vomiting, high fever, stiffness in the front legs and seizures. Death may follow swiftly: immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
HYPERCALCEMIC AGENTS: contain cholecalciferol, or vitamin D, which raises the calcium content in blood to highly toxic levels, resulting in cardiac arrhythmias and death.
METALLIC PHOSPHIDE AGENTS: kills when acid in the digestive systems reacts with the phosphide, creating a toxic gas. The baits usually contain a mixture of zinc , magnesium or aluminum phosphide and an emetic to cause vomiting if eaten by humans or pets.
Symptoms: vomiting (or: hemorrhagic vomiting), if the dog is capable.
Zinc phosphide is contained in a variety of rodenticides, while aluminum phosphide is used as an insecticide to protect agriculture, animal feed, and commercial grains from pests. Still, while a dog may vomit after ingesting rodent bait containing a phosphide, the toxic phosphine gas from the vomit, if inhaled by a nearby human or animal, can cause damage to the heart and lungs, nervous system, liver and kidneys, potentially leading to death: immediate veterinary attention is necessary. Veterinary treatment will include inducing vomiting (emesis), gastric lavage, administration of activated charcoal, fluid therapy, and administration of medications. Even if recovery is achieved, long term damage to kidneys, liver, brain, and heart may remain.
 MUSHROOMS: may contain phalloides (the “death cap” fungus).
Symptoms: mild vomiting, diarrhea, leading to severe digestive disorders, neurological disorders and liver failure; seek immediate veterinary attention.
Ham or turkey skin
 HAM or TURKEY SKIN: both are too high in fat, cannot be digested and can lead to to acute (sudden onset) and/or chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas; which can be extremely painful) in dogs; severity can result in need for life-long medication and can be life threatening. Ham or fat trimmings from meat should never be given to dogs; (veterinarians see spikes in pancreatitis immediately following Easter and Christmas).
Symptoms: Hunched back, vomiting, pain or distention of the abdomen (appearing uncomfortable or bloated), diarrhea, inappetence, dehydration, weakness/lethargy, dehydration, fever. Veterinary attention is important; may include: intravenous (IV) fluid therapy, antiemetic medication; regular monitoring of amylase and lipase levels (gastrointenstinal enzymes) and prescription diet may be necessary.
 COFFEE (Caffeine): contain methylxanthines (see: chocolate). Sources include soda, sports drinks, diet medications, anti-sleep aids/stimulants, candy. Impact and survival may be dependent upon the age and health of the dog; however, in all cases damage to major organs like the liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system can occur.
Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, arrhythmia/abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures; leading to death Immediate veterinary attention is important.
 ALCOHOL: (beverages or food) can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, respiratory difficulty, heart arrhythmia, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, and death.
Whether by dermal or oral ingestion, alcohol is quickly metabolized. Unanticipated sources include: rubbing alcohol, uncooked bread dough, cough medicine, shampoo (isopropanol alcohol), flea sprays, or windshield washer antifreeze (ethanol). In the liver: ethanol to acetaldehyde, methanol to formaldehyde, and isopropanol to acetone; depression of the central nervous system, toxicosis manifests secondarily as hypothermia and hypoglycemia, irritant to the gastric mucosa (vomiting) leads to dehydration and attending effects.
Symptoms: Vomiting, disorientation, inebriation, ataxia (loss of bodily control), diarrhea and dehydration, hypersalivation, “excitement” or hyperactivity (which transitions to depression), dyspnea (breathing issues), loss of consciousness, brachycardia (slow heart rate or rhythm), seizures. Death may follow from respiratory distress, low body temperature, low blood sugar, metabolic acidosis (excess acid), and aspiration pneumonia. Immediate veterinary attention is important.
Macamamia nUts, Walnuts
 MACADAMIA NUTS, WALNUTS: (commonly in cookies or candy; also, common baking ingredient).
Symptoms: vomiting, tremors, hindquarter weakness/paralysis, depression, and hyperthermia. Treatment is induced vomiting, activated charcoal, and administration of intravenous fluids; so veterinary assistance is necessary.
 RAW YEAST DOUGH, SOURDOUGH “STARTER,” PIZZA DOUGH: Unbaked bread dough expands in the warm, moist environment of the stomach and can result “bloat,” progressing to gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV: twisted stomach). As the yeast is fermented, it results in the production of carbon dioxide (causing the bloat) and alcohol, which is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and is poisonous on its own (see: alcohol, above).
Symptoms: drooling, non-productive retching, vomiting, distended stomach, elevated heart rate, generalized weakness, collapse/recumbency, hypotension (low blood pressure), coma, hypothermia, leading to death: immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
 MILK: Acute intestinal distress, as many dogs are lactose intolerant: diarrhea and digestive upset because dogs do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk).
 SALT: Sources include table salt, homemade play dough, rock salt (for de-icers), paint balls, table salt, sea water, enemas (containing sodium phosphate); sodium ion poisoning. Dogs should never be allowed to consume snack foods such as potato chips, crackers, dips or condiments, etc.
Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, lethargy, loss of balance, abnormal fluid accumulation within the body, excessive thirst or urination; kidney injury, dehydration and brain swelling leading to tremors, seizures, coma, leading to death: immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
cocoa bean mulch
 COCOA BEAN MULCH: contains theobromine (a bitter alkaloid) with the same effects as caffeine (see: caffeine, above). Cocoa shells are a byproduct of chocolate production; the mulch degrades into an organic fertilizer, and attracts dogs because of its sweet odor and taste.
Symptoms: (Toxicity depends on the concentration, which will not be evident) vomiting, rapid and irregular heart rate, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, neurological disturbances and seizures, and death. Veterinary intervention is necessary, as treatment involves intravenous fluids and hydration, since the dehydrated dog will not be able to drink during this ordeal.
Flea and tick medications/ pet insecticides
Our 4-page essay on flea and tick medications is comprehensive and carefully organized: use it to learn how these drugs are formulated, the flaws in the research and approval process, the lack of government oversight and presumed consumer protection, the development and dangers of the various applications, and how you may look for more reasonable alternatives.
 PET INSECTICIDES: commonly, misuse or concentrated residue (especially for small breeds and puppies) after application of topical flea and tick products containing organophosphates (esters of phosphoric acid: used as solvents, plasticizers, and “extreme pressure” additives for lubricants) and carbamates (urethanes used to make varnish: may be listed as carbaryl), which can cause central nervous system damage.
A veterinarian's advice that includes a carefully informed discussion before beginning any flea and tick control protocol is warranted.
This topic is covered elsewhere on our site: See, our 4-page essay;
Flea collars: Despite manufacturer claims, flea collars generally do not kill insects but merely repel them toward the dog's hindquarters; neither are they meaninfgul for addressing the de facto issue of flea infestations in the home. Worse, these products work by emitting gas or shedding powdered insecticides that contain carcinogens, which the dog can ingest by breathing, or licking his fur. Dangerously high levels of pesticide residue can remain on a dog's fur for weeks even after a flea collar is removed, with risk of developing asthma and allergies, endocrine (hormonal) disruption, central nervous system damage, and cancer; (also exposed are other animal in the household). Noting this connection, the National Resources Defense Council is pressing the EPA to ban the pesticide tetrachorvinphos from pet products (registration for propoxur was finally cancelled in 2015). Shampoos, which kill parasites but that, if properly rinsed, do not leave a residue that the dog can ingest, are safer; (insecticidal shampoos are not necessary: soap
will kill fleas).
Powders and sprays are likely to be ingested by the dog and transferred to other pets and children, as well as transferred across household surfaces and furniture.
Spot-on medications are neurotoxins with potentially life-threatening side effects and potential to poison children and other household pets who may come into contact. Oral medications have specific and especially alarming complications, since, once ingested, side effects are not reversible because there are no antidotes. It's fair to ask: how many veterinarians discuss this issue openly with their clients before prescribing them?
Profit-making at stake within the pet care industry is all consuming. As with the pet food industry, manufacturers suppress the results of certain industry research, re-classify studies to conceal true purpose, issue misleading press reports, and persistently refuse to acknowledge responsibility for adverse—even lethal— reaction to their products.
Some of the most enduring (and trusted) names in the pet care industry have manufactured and sold dangerous and deadly pet insecticides for decades, with knowledge of their toxicity to companion animals. Such businesses have unconscionably betrayed the confidence of the buying public and should be held accountable for their deception. Efforts to prod the FDA to recall products have met with vigorous industry resistance and attending bureaucratic delays: resulting in known toxic products remaining on store shelves nationwide. Confronted by this inaction, agonized and grief-stricken pet guardians that have been victimized have mounted informational websites tracking certain manufacturers.
Other pets in the home: Additionally, when choosing insect control products, it is important to consider your dog's “brothers and sisters,” as , most particularly, products containing Amitraz, Fenoxycarb, Permethrin, Propoxur, Tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) are toxic to cats. Safer Alternatives: Lufenuron, Nitenpyram, Pyriproxyfen, S-Methoprene, Spinosad. N.B.: dog products should NEVER be used on cats; (see: products by brand name listing).
Going herbal or “Natural”? Be aware that not all essential oils commonly used to treat pet for pests are entirely safe: dogs may be allergic to herbal or natural products containing citrus, cinnamon, clove, d-limonene, geranium, tea tree, lavender, linalool, bay, or eucalyptus; flea or tick products containing pennyroyal oil can cause seizures, coma, even death. Safer alternatives: products that contain cedarwood, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary and thyme.
 AVOCADO: leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of which contain persin (a fungicidal toxin), especially the Guatemalan origin.
Symptoms: vomiting and diarrhea if consumed in excess. Added to some dog foods, if in small amount is generally not problematic.
Grapefruit/ citrus fruits
 GRAPEFRUIT/ CITRUS FRUITS: Toxicity from the essential oils contained within the skin and pit, and the presence of psoralens (furanocoumarins produced by plants as a defense mechanism).
Symptoms: vomiting, rash (particularly in the groin), drooling, trembling and cerebellar ataxia (incoordination, weakness, tremors), diarrhea, and even photo/light –sensitivity (indicating severe toxicity).
 FERTILIZER: Organophosphates (esters of phosphoric acid: used as solvents, plasticizers, and “extreme pressure” additives for lubricants) can cause muscle weakness, tremors and seizures. There are also reports of an increase in risk for lymphoma (cancer) in dogs exposed to a lawn treatment chemical referred to
as “2,4-D” (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid: liquids, dusts, or granules; classified “Group 2-B” in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC, the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization).
From soil amendments, bone meal, blood meal, feather meal, plant food, and potash or lime. Most contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (potash): indicated by the three numbers on the packaging (i.e., 30-10-10). Also: iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese and molybdenum. Additionally, combined with herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. Poisoning typically from the iron, nitrogen and other chemicals. Large ingestions of meal-based fertilizers may also form a concretion in the stomach leading to bowel obstruction or pancreatitis.
Symptoms: Drooling, nausea, acute or delayed onset vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain (evidenced by posture), breathing difficulty,
dark colored gums.
 FLUORIDE: an abundant element in the earth's crust and widely dispersed in nature; naturally present in water, also a by-product of the agrichemical-fertilizer industry, as a rodenticide, and added to public water supplies pursuant to public health mandates, as an anti-cavity therapy.
Critics of fluoridation note that in its natural state, fluoride is harmless, but that synthesized fluoride that is added to water, is not.
Fluoride is a by-product of fluorine gas, a hazardous by-product of aluminum and nuclear industries (anhydrous hydrogen fluoride). To diffuse the cost of neutralization and disposal, campaigns were initiated to promote fluoride as an anti-cavity therapy. As a result of this marketing strategy, many municipalities now pay these corporations to add fluoride to their water supply. To meet this widespread demand, fluoride is imported from China, some of which has been found to be contaminated with heavy metals.
Chronic fluoride exposure (from drinking water) has been linked to bone loss/weakening, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), kidney disease, hormone disruption/thyroid disease and cognitive decline. Certain bottled water may in fact originate from a municipal source (tap water) which may be fluoridated. There is no requirement for bottled water to be labeled for fluoride content, unless it is added by the manufacturer.
Instead, use quality spring water or distilled water. A multi-stage filter that combines both carbon and ion-exchange resins will effectively filter fluoride.
Avoid pet foods that contain “bone meal,” “meat meal” and “chicken by-product meal” which may include too much round bone ground up from the “deboning” process (see: Dr. Michael M. Fox)
A 2014 research study (The Lancet: Neurobehavioural Effects of Developmental Toxicity) classified fluoride as a dangerous neurotoxin. Chronic exposure to fluoride may encourage developing skeletal fluorosis, a painful, debilitating and irreversible disease caused by a buildup of fluoride in the bones. It may often remain misdiagnosed, even in later stages of the disease, as the symptoms mimic those of other ailments.
The cumulative effect of fluoride exposure may also be dismissed as normal aging or mistaken for arthritis symptoms, particularly early state stiffness and joint pain: X-rays can only detect advanced stage of the disease. Advanced stages of the disease can also be misdiagnosed as conditions such as spondylosis or renal osteodystrophy (abnormal bone growth resulting from kidney disease). The lack of variety when the same food is fed to the dog over long periods contributes to the proclivity to develop the disease.
Iodine can help detoxify fluoride accumulation: some experts suggest adding kelp to the dog’s diet (¼ tsp per 10 lbs. of body weight per day; under veterinary supervision). Look for assurance that the kelp is tested for purity: because their waters are less polluted, kelp sourced from Nova Scotia, Iceland and New Zealand is generally considered superior. Also suggested: “superfood” chlorella, known for its ability to bind toxins (build up to 1 gram of daily for small dogs and up to 3 grams for larger dogs). Other herbs known to detoxify fluoride include turmeric, cayenne, parsley and cilantro, organic oil of oregano ; sprinkled on the dog’s food (some dogs may dislike the taste/not tolerate the spiciness of cayenne or oil of oregano well).
 MARIJUANA (Cannabis sativa and cannabis indica): now unusually accessible, medical and recreational, forms smoked through a water pipe or “vaped” like e-cigarettes; also novel forms as foods (brownies, “pot butter,” etc.), pills, concentrated oils (BHO: butane hash oil, known as “dabs”), filtered and filtered and purified oil (“shatter”), wax made from whipped oil, and tinctures. Today’s new hybrids are forms are stronger (more THC: δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound). Dogs may also be exposed through inhalation of smoke.
Symptoms: Clinical signs of poisoning (depression of the central nervous system) in minutes to hours depending on the form of exposure. Severe depression, staggering/inability to stand, lethargy, depressed heart rate/ cardiac arrhythmia, low blood pressure, respiratory difficulty, mydriasis (dilated pupils: dysfunction of parasympathetic nerves), hyperactivity, vocalization, drooling, seizures, coma. Death may follow: immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
 LEAD: chewing or consuming old paint or furniture, construction dust (scrupulous precautions are needed when planning home rehabilitation or renovations), old flooring (linoleum), fishing weights, antique toys, mechanicals, objet d'art, etc.; also: contemporary imported toys. lso: old drapery weights, car batteries, lead shot, lead fishing “sinkers,” plumbing solder, ceramic pottery, etc.
Symptoms: Once ingested, rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, affecting the central nervous system: inappetence, or anorexia; drooling, regurgitation or vomiting, even unproductive; diarrhea, incoordination, anemia (depression in red blood cell production), blindness, seizures, coma, leading to death: immediate veterinary attention is necessary. Treatment may include attempts to bind the lead (succimer or calcium EDTA) for excretion from the body.
 TOBACCO: contains pyridine and piperidine alkaloids, among which is nicotine. Initial exposure causes initial low heart and respiratory rates which then change to overstimulation, uncontrolled urination/defecation, tremors, seizures, paralysis and death.
Symptoms: vomiting, cardiac arrythmia (abnormal heart rate), abnormal respiratory/distress, hyperactivity, incoordination, mood change/agitation, inappropriate urination/defication, paralysis, collapse/coma, leading to death: immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
 ACETAMINOPHEN: OTC analgesic and antipyretic medication (Tylenol®, FeverAll®, asprin-free Excedrin®, and generic brands: look for “Compare to…” on the label; ALSO many sinus, cold and flu medications that are positioned as “asprin-free” in products labeled for “cold and flu symptoms”, “allergies”, and “fever”); also present in some prescription pain medications (Percoset®, Panadol®). Causes liver and kidney damage; hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), formation of “heinz bodies,” (defects in red blood cells that cause them to be removed from circulation sooner than normal, depressing the immune system).
Symptoms: lethargy, swelling of face and/or paws, irregular breathing, dark or blue gums, vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, arising from excess of the pigment bilirubin: obstruction of the bile duct, liver disease, or breakdown of red blood cells.
 IBUPROFEN: OTC “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug” (NSAID), pain relief and inflammation (Advil®, Motrin®; and generic brands: look for “Compare to…” on the label): all toxic at very low doses; causing kidney failure and liver damage, initial toxicity is bleeding stomach ulcers, leading to anemia/susceptibility to secondary infections; if untreated, can be fatal. [Dog-specific NSAIDs include common brands Rimadyl®, Dermaxx™, Previcox® and Metacam®].
Symptoms: vomiting/bloody vomit, diarrhea, black/tarry stool, abdominal pain, lethargy, inappetence, increased or decreased urination, seizures, coma leading to death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary. There is no home care for ibuprofen toxicity, therapeutics involve hospitalization with continuous administration of intravenous fluids.
 NAPROXEN: OTC “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug” (NSAID), pain relief; (Aleve®, Midol®, and generic brands: look for “Compare to…” on the label): all toxic at very low doses, as little as one 220mg tablet can be serious or deadly to a large dog. Causes causing kidney and liver damage, bleeding stomach ulcers (which can perforate and rupture the intestinal tract; septic infection may then set in, leading to death); and acute kidney failure leading to anemia (and subsequent susceptibility to infection).
Symptoms: vomiting/ bloody vomitus, black-tarry stools (indicative of bleeding in the GI tract), diarrhea, inappetence, abdominal pain, generalized lethargy and weakness, pale gums (indicating anemia), depression, seizures, coma, leading to death: immediate veterinary attention is necessary. There is no home care for naproxen toxicity, as treatment involves hospitalization with continuous administration of intravenous fluids.
 MOTHBALLS: containing naphthalene, paradichlorobenzene, camphor, and other organochlorines (chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides) in cakes, scales, powder, balls, cubes, spheres, and flakes; toxic ingredients can be inhaled, absorbed dermally, or by ingestion; acute liver and/or kidney damage. Older formulas with naphthalene are the most dangerous.
Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, weakness or lethargy, breathing irregularity, pale or brown gums, incoordination/inability to stand, excessive thirst; tremors, seizures, coma, leading to death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
 POTATOES/Sprouts: (which may be green; or the sprouts which occur when unused), contain solaine glycosides (bitter poisonous crystalline alkaloid sugar compounds); also in tomatoes.
Symptoms: abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, overstimulation of nervous system, depression, trembling and seizures, paralysis and cardiac arrest.
Fruit seeds/ Pips
 FRUIT SEEDS and PIPS: apple seeds, pits from cherries, pears, peaches, apricots; contain cyanide (see, #9 above). The stems, leaves and seeds of these fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, which, at high doses, cause gastrointestinal effects, weakness/incoordination and breathing irregularities. Some veterinarians dismiss the danger as overhyped, however, that may be difficult to predict, since the level of toxicity can depend on growing conditions: trees matured in a less stressful growing environment produce fruit with higher levels of toxicity.
Most guardians may forget these names: leave the plastic “stakes” from the supply-house in the pots, so that you can identify the plant later!
 HOUSE PLANTS: (Use link for full list and photographs)
SAGO PALM (Cycadacae: Cycas Revoluta; Cycadaceae, Zamias, Macrozamia, Cycas cirinalis, Japanese cycad, Cycad revolute, Coontie plant, Zamia pumila, Cardbord palm, Zamia furfuracea): all parts poisonous, with the seeds or “nuts” the most toxic: ingesting only 1 or 2 can lead to severe liver failure. Contains cycasin: acute gastrointestinal signs (drooling, inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea) within 15 minutes to several hours after ingestion. Signs of central nervous system impact and liver failure will manifest within 2-3 days (weakness, ataxia, seizures, tremors).
Symptoms: (rapid onset, within minutes or hours of ingestion) vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, inappetence, abdominal fluid accumulation and pain, jaundice, black, tarry stool (indicative of liver failure), ataxia/incoordination/inability to stand; seizures, death follows: immediate and aggressive veterinary attention for decontamination, antibiotics for secondary infection, vitamin supplementation, plasma transfusion, and IV fluids is necessary (potential 50% survival rate with veterinary intervention).
CYCLAMEN (“Persian violet,” “Sowbread”): contain cyclamine, (highest concentration in the root); producing significant gastrointestinal irritation.
Symptoms: drooling, diarrhea, including intense vomiting, (can progress to potentially fatal dehydration); cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, leading to death: immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
KALANCHOE: cardiac toxins (bufadienolides); (components of) generally produce gastrointestinal irritation; larger amounts can affect heart function. Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness/collapse, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures.
ARMARYLLIS: (common garden/potted plants popular around Easter), leaves, stems contain phenanthridine alkaloids which can cause vomiting, hypotension (drop in blood pressure) and respiratory depression; bulbs contain oxalate crystals, leading to abdominal discomfort.
Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, anorexia, tremors can be seen from the raphide oxalate crystals (which are more concentrated in the bulbs), toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hyper-salivation, anorexia, respiratory depression, tremors.
ENGLISH IVY (Hedra Helix): (many varieties, a common “home center” hanging or potted plant, Sweetheart ivy, Glacier ivy, Needlepoint ivy), contains triterpenoid saponins (resins and oils, such as those used to make turpentine) and polyacetylene compounds, both gastrointestinal irritants.
Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain.
SHEFFLERA (brassai actinophylla): contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, causing gastrointestinal irritation.
Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, inappetence, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue (manifest: pawing at the mouth), breathing irregularities.
ASPARAGUS FERN: gastrointestinal irritant, especially berries.
Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory problems, kidney failure, tremors, abdominal pain; also: dermal irritation.
COLOCASIA (“Elephant’s Ear,” Alocasia, Caladium, Xanthosoma): contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, when released cause mouth and gastrointestinal irritation.
Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, mouth irritation, gastroenteritis/inappetence, breathing irregularities/asphyxiation, tremors, seizures.
DIFFENBACHIA (“Dumb Cane”): contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, when released cause mouth and gastrointestinal irritation.
Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, mouth irritation, gastroenteritis/inappetence, breathing irregularities/asphyxiation, tremors, seizures.
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Most guardians may forget these names: leave the plastic “stakes” from the supply-house in the pots, so that you can identify the plant later!
 LANDSCAPE PLANTS: (Use link for full list and photographs)
TULIP/NARCISSUS/HYACINTH BULBS: (Liliaceae family); contain allergenic lactones or alkaloids (example: lycorine), concentrated in the bulb outer layer portions, with strong emetic properties, causing intense gastrointestinal irritation.
Symptoms: drooling, nausea, vomiting, inappetence, altered respiratory rate (depression of central nervous system), cardiac arrhythmia, convulsions.
AZALEA/RHODODENDRUM: Broad category of common yard plantings; azalea (small, deciduous species), rhododendron (larger, woody shrubs) as Rhododendrons. Toxicity varies according to the hybridization of the two. All parts are poisonous: contain highly concentrated grayanotoxins (neurotoxins found in the plant nectar), which disrupt sodium channels affecting the skeletal and cardiac muscle. Ingesting as little as 0.2% of the dog’s body weight can result in poisoning.
Symptoms: (gastrointestinal) drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, abdominal pain; (cardiovascular) hypotension (low blood pressure), cardiac arrhythmia, generalized weakness/ataxia (inability to stand); (central nervous system) depression, blindness, seizures, coma, leading to death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
LILIES/DAY LILIES (Lilium and Hemerocallis: Asiatic, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, tiger, Western, and wood lilies [Lilium species] and daylilies [Hemerocallis]species): contain colchicine; effects are similar to arsenic poisoning: causing chemical burns in mouth, diarrhea, bloody vomit, bone marrow suppression, shock, and kidney failure; rapid decrease in blood volume (hypovolemic shock) from vascular damage and fluid loss due to bleeding through the GI tract can result in death.
Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, lethargy, depression, increased or decreased urination, dehydration, seizures, coma, leading to death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
OLEANDER (White, Nerium Oleander): all parts toxic, containing cardiac glycosides (cardenolides or bufadienolides, organic sugar compounds); toxins that interfere directly with electrolyte balance within the heart muscle, leading to life-threatening rise in potassium level. Also, (prior): severe gastointestinal tract irritation, central nervous system damage.
Symptoms: drooling, nausea, vomiting; cardiac arrythmia, hypothermia (low blood pressure), weakness/ataxia (inability to stand), tremors, seizures, coma leading to death. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
See also: Dogbane, Milkweed, Foxglove, Kalanchoe, Lily of the Valley,
Star of Bethlehem.
AMERICAN HOLLY (Ilex opaca): AKA: English Holly, European Holly, Oregon Holly, Inkberry, Winterberry; contains saposins, methylxanthines, and cyanogens causing vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.
Symptoms: Lip “smacking” or head shaking (due to mechanical injury from the spiny leaves), drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence.
ANDROMODEA JAPONICA (Pieris japonica): AKA Pieris, Lily-of-the-Valley Bush, Bog Rosemary; contains grayanotoxins, causing disruption of sodium channels affecting the cardiac and skeletal muscle, ingestion of only a few leaves can be fatal.
Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, weakness/ataxia, cardiac arrythmia, hypotension (low blood pressure), leading to collapse, coma and death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
BURNING BUSH (Euonymus Atropurpurea): contains alkaloids and cardenolides (purgative/laxative effects), and cardiac gycosides; causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, heart arrhythmia.
Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness/ataxia,
CASTOR BEAN (Ricinus Communis): contain highly toxic glycoproteins (alkaloids) ricin and ricicine in the seeds and leaves, that interfere with protein synthesis; producing severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness/ataxia and hypotension (low blood pressure). Only a small amount can result in severe poisoning, manifesting as: dehydration, muscle spasms or tremors, seizures, coma leading to death.
Symptoms: Inappetence, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, explosive diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, tremors, weakness/collapse, hypotension, coma leading to death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
YEW (Taxus Baccata): evergreen, AKA Western/English Yew, Pacific Yew, Japanese Yew, Anglo-Japanese Yew; contains taxine A and B (taxol), and volatile oil (in the berries); causing injurious central nervous system effects (tremors, in-coordination, seizures, and difficulty breathing); significant gastrointestinal irritation/vomiting and acute cardiac failure, seizures, coma, leading to death. Common not only in the yard but as purchased Christmas wreaths/decorations.
Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, weakness, breathing irregularities, cardiac arrythmia, hypotension (low blood pressure), pupil dilation (indicating central nervous system damage), tremors, seizures, coma leading to death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
AUTUMN CROCUS (“Meadow Saffron” or “Naked Lady,” fall blooming Liliaceae family: Colchicum Autumale): all parts contain contains a colchicine, a toxic alkaloid. Ingestion can result in oral irritation, gastrointestinal distress (bleeding, bloody vomiting, diarrhea), shock, central nervous system effect (seizures), multi-organ damage (liver and kidney) and myelotoxicity (bone marrow suppression). Signs of poisoning may be immediate or even delayed for days.
Symptoms: Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea/bloody diarrhea, black tarry stool (indicating blood), inappetence, respiratory change or failure, tremors, seizures, coma leading to death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
DAISIES, CHRYSANTEHEMUMS (Compositae): contain pyrethrins (used in insecticides) that cause gastrointestinal upset, (drooling, vomiting and diarrhea); skin rashes; also depression and loss of muscle coordination.
Symptoms: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, incoordiation.
DAFFODILS (Daffodil ssp): AKA Narcissus, Jonquil, Paper White; contains lycorine and other alkaloids; emetic properties causes vomiting, hyper-salvation, diarrhea and dehydration. Crystals in the outer layer of the bulbs, causing mouth and gastrointestinal irritation.
Symptoms: drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, cardiac arrythmia, increased heart rate/tachycardia, abdominal pain, breathing irregularities.
ENGLISH YEW/ PEACE LILY (Araceae family, Spathiphyllum): AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily; contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals; when released causing oral irritation, drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue.
Symptoms: drooling, pawing at the mouth, head shaking, inappetence, vomiting, breathing irregularities.
FOXGLOVE (Digitalis Purpurea): all parts toxic, contains cardenolides and/or bufadienolides (cardiac glycosides: interfere with electrolyte balance within the heart muscle, leading to a life-threatening rise in potassium level); causes cardiac arrhythmia, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure, death; (prior: central nervous system damage).
Symptoms: drooling, nausea, vomiting (gastrointestinal), cardiac arrythmia, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures (indicate central nervous system effect), leading to death; immediate veterinary attention is necessary (digoxin-specific
To ask “What can I learn from you?” is to open the door to a world of possibility
in which our dogs can serve as our teachers.
This is a participatory universe, and this simple question declares our willingness to participate in a specific way. In order to hear what you dog might have to say, you have to take the first critical step of accepting that he has something of value to communicate to you. Until we have opened ourselves to an acceptance of the spiritual being in canine form,
we may block up our soul’s ears.
If our assumptions about dogs do not include the possibility that these are voices that might carry important messages for our lives, then we not be able to hear them.
Not because they are speaking in mysterious ways beyond our comprehension,
but because we have blocked ourselves to the possibility that there is something to be heard.
When we ask “What can I learn from you?” we can suddenly hear and see in new ways.
What was once unintelligible or meaningless becomes fraught with potential.
A new world of communicating with our dogs unfolds before us.
You see more than you ever did before, and the dog responds in ways you did not expect were possible, ways you did not anticipate, or even ways you had hoped for but could never elicit before this. You come to wonder what has brought about this change:
perhaps, the dog has sensed this change in you and responded by offering more?
Has the dog changed or… has he always been the same?
Both are true.
The dogs are exactly as they have been all along,
just as waterfalls roar whether we stand at the cliff’s edge or not.
We are not who we have been all along, which means that
in the context of the dog’s relationship with us, the dog is also, in a new place.
One simple question shifts the spirit of what materializes between us and the dog.
We find ourselves living the truth of the Arapaho saying,
“When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.”
A shift in our focus, a renewed investment of our life energy—our attention—
creates new realities.
In opening to the possibility that more may exist,
we have primed ourselves to a greater receptivity to what has always been before us.
It is as if we were comic figures, stooges groping in the dark and claiming that we cannot see—only to realize that we had our eyes closed.
When our eyes are open, new options spring to existence, and from that moment,
our relationships with our dogs take on new dimensions and greater depth.
This is not a painless or certain process.
Exploration is often tiring and confusing, and not without price.
We are held accountable for what we know, nothing more.
But with each increase in understanding, awareness and knowledge comes an increase in responsibility. Weary, we may long for the old, familiar way that did not require so much of us, and we may forget that it was some lack, some unease within us that prompted us to crack open the door of possibility and let in this light from this new world.
Slowly with stumbles and wrong turns, we begin to find our way
and more easily shoulder the responsibility.
—Suzanne Clothier: Bones Would Rain From the Sky