Poisoning in dogs

Dogs can be poisoned by some common household items that are harmless to humans. It's important to reduce the risk by removing sources from reach or areas they have access to.

If you think your dog's been poisoned

  1. Remove your dog from the source of poison.
  2. Contact your vet immediately - inform them when, where and how the poisoning occurred. If appropriate, take the packaging, plant or substance to the vet. Don't expose yourself to any harm.
  3. Follow your vet's advice.

How to help your dog whilst waiting for your vet

  • Don't attempt to treat or medicate dogs yourself. Some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to dogs.
  • Never attempt to make dogs vomit. Don't use salt water as it's extremely dangerous.
  • If the skin or fur is contaminated, wash with a mild shampoo and water, then rinse well and dry.
  • Keep dogs away from other animals to avoid cross-contamination.

Never 'watch and wait'. If you suspect your pet's been poisoned, contact a vet immediately.

Preventing poisoning in dogs

In the home

  • Keep an eye on your dog
  • Keep houseplants where dogs cannot reach them. Collect dropped leaves and petals.
  • Keep pesticides (e.g. rat baits) away from areas dogs can access
  • If treating pets with insecticides, separate them from other pets


  • Ensure housing and exercise areas are free from, and not overhung by, poisonous plants
  • Ensure dogs' water supplies cannot become contaminated and change regularly.

Common dog poisons

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) is a 24hour emergency service providing information and advice to vets and animal welfare organisations on the treatment of animals exposed to toxins. Read about the most common poisons and their symptoms.

Other poisons include drugs such as Paracetamol and oral contraceptives, blue-green algae, fungi, conkers, acorns, rock salt (see our Rock salt poisoning factsheet) and xylitol (an artificial sweetener).

For more information about harmful substances, speak to your vet

E-cigarettes warning

British Veterinary Association warning about the dangers of e-cigarettes to pets.

Seasonal Canine Illness 

A number of mystery illnesses have been reported in late autumn. Symptoms include severe vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking, trembling and high temperatures, and have generally been displayed within 24hours of walking in the countryside, especially woodland. The cause of this is unknown. Further information & advice for dog owners

Veterinary poisons information service logo

Acknowledgment for this information is made to VPIS. The VPIS is not a public access service. However, some helpful information is available on their website.

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