What to Do If Your Dog Ingested Something They Shouldn't?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

It’s no secret dogs are nosy – especially when they suspect food is involved. They’ll have no problem jumping on the counter, digging through trash, or “sneakily” stealing stuff off your coffee table if given a chance. Not only that this type of behavior can be really irritating for the owner, but it is also downright dangerous. Dogs can easily swallow something that could cause serious health issues – a tiny object that can cause choking, a hazardous chemical, or some human food that is poisonous to them. In either of these cases, the owner should be prepared and alert as acting quickly is crucial when your pet eats something that they shouldn’t have. But what exactly do you need to do if this happens? What is the course of action to help a dog who ingested something they simply should not? Let’s go over it.

What to Do If Your Dog Ingested Something They Shouldn't: Step By Step Explained

If your dog has ingested something they shouldn't have, it's important to act quickly. Every second counts in this case so don’t panic even if that’s your first instinct. Going into panic mode never helps and can only make things worse. Instead, try to assess the situation and figure out what has been ingested so you can act accordingly. Here are some general guidelines to follow, but keep in mind that you should always consult with your veterinarian for advice tailored to your specific situation.

  1. It is imperative to stay calm. It's understandable to feel scared and panicked, but it's crucial to stay composed. Panicking can make it difficult to think clearly and take appropriate action. Take a deep breath, strengthen your resolve and act.
  2. Always try to identify the substance or item ingested, if it’s possible to do so very quickly. This information can be helpful for your veterinarian to provide accurate advice. Do you notice any small objects missing? Any open containers or something similar? Quickly try to find the clues.
  3. It goes without saying that it is always crucial to call your veterinarian immediately. Provide them with details about what your dog ingested, the amount, and any symptoms your dog is experiencing. After all, they are professionals who know how to deal with these situations in an efficient manner and will give you the guidelines suited to your situation.
  4. Keep in mind not to induce vomiting. Inducing vomiting can be dangerous in some situations and should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian. Certain substances or items can cause more harm if brought back up. Unless instructed otherwise, don’t do it.
  5. Disperse with the panic and fears, and follow the advice of your veterinarian to the letter. Your veterinarian will provide specific instructions based on the substance ingested. Follow their advice carefully, whether it involves inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, or other measures.
  6. It is important to monitor your dog and their behavior. Keep a close eye on them for any changes in behavior, signs of distress, or dangerous symptoms. Be prepared to provide this information to your veterinarian. Sometimes, nothing will show at first, but could later on. 
  7. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend immediate action, such as going to an emergency veterinary clinic. Follow their advice promptly, or if you see that your dog is in danger, do so as fast as possible.

Of course, it is always a good idea to have some basic pet first aid supplies on hand, such as hydrogen peroxide (for inducing vomiting if directed by a vet), activated charcoal, and your veterinarian's contact information as well.

Remember that the above steps are general guidelines, and the best course of action may vary based on the specific circumstances. Always consult with your veterinarian promptly for personalized advice. If your regular veterinarian is not available, contact an emergency veterinary clinic. Of course, it goes without saying that you should keep all potentially harmful items out of the reach of your pets. 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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