Poisoning in dogs

What to do if you think your dog's been poisoned:

  1. Stay calm. Remove dogs from the source of poison.
  2. Contact your vet immediately; inform them when, where and how 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.

Never attempt to treat/medicate dogs yourself. Some medicines for humans and other animals may be poisonous to dogs.

Never attempt to make dogs vomit. Do not use salt water as it's extremely dangerous.

If skin/fur is contaminated, wash with mild shampoo and water, 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/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 (pdf 101KB)) 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

Acknowledgement 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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