Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network


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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Dr. Dilworth Addresses How To Combat Accidental Ingestion

Dogs have a unique ability to ingest all types of objects and substances. While dogs have sensitive noses, their taste buds are not as discerning. It is important to try to prevent your dog from ingesting toxic substances or foreign bodies that may obstruct their bowel. It is guaranteed that a dog will eat just about anything. This should be obvious to you when you think about the number of times your dog eats unknown goop, leaving you contemplating whether you want to remove it from their mouth or endure the inevitable consequences. This week alone I have seen dogs that have ingested chocolate, glass, raisins, anti-inflammatory drugs, and feminine hygiene products.

If you are concerned about the object or substance that your dog has ingested please give us a call. First, we will let you know whether you should be worried. Second, if your dog has ingested a harmful object or a substance at a toxic dose, we are better able to prevent harm when we deal with the animal promptly. For example, if a dog has recently eaten a sock (as mine has, many times), we can deliver a drug that reliably causes the dog to vomit. If the dog vomits up the sock then we won’t have to deal with the possibility of a foreign body obstruction where the sock gets lodged in the small intestine. If the sock does lodge in the small intestine then surgery is required. As well as being expensive, there can be morbidity associated with this type of illness and surgery.

We have a combination of treatments available to us to address chocolate toxicity.  We can induce vomiting and then start on intravenous fluids if necessary, as well as administer an agent that binds to the toxic substances found in chocolate. It is better and easier to prevent the consequences of toxicity with these early treatments than to deal with later consequences, which can sometimes include death.

One toxin that is a real concern is antifreeze. Dogs enjoy the taste of it and we only have a very small window of time to treat a dog once it has ingested antifreeze. In the case of antifreeze, you must get your dog into a clinic immediately. Call ahead as the antidote may be more readily available at an emergency or specialty clinic.

Don’t be embarrassed to let us know what your dog has ingested. Your dog won’t be the first to have ingested marijuana, narcotics, anti-depressants or special occasion underwear. We have seen it all! Our only concern is to make sure that your dog is well.

Please feel free to call us if your dog has ingested anything that is unusual.

Dr. Mark Dilworth
Beaches Animal Hospital

After Hours Petcare Service