Pet Poisoning: Critical Dos and Don’ts for Pet Owners

June 2, 2024

Pets are curious creatures, often exploring their environment with their mouths. Their curiosity can sometimes lead to them ingesting something toxic. At Lenity Vet Specialists and Emergency Care, we understand how distressing these situations can be. Knowing how to react quickly and effectively is crucial to ensure your pet’s safety. Here is a guide on the critical dos and don’ts when dealing with pet poisoning, tailored to help you navigate these emergencies with confidence.


1. Stay Calm and Assess the Situation    

First and foremost, remain calm. Panicking can hinder your ability to think clearly and act quickly. Assess the situation by identifying what your pet ingested, how much, and when it happened.

2. Call Pet Poison Control Immediately    

Contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. Please provide them with as much information as possible about the substance your pet ingested. 

3. Follow Professional Advice    

Once you’ve contacted a professional poison helpline, follow their advice carefully. They might instruct you to bring your pet in immediately to an emergency veterinarian or administer first aid at home, such as inducing vomiting if appropriate and safe for the type of toxin involved.

4. Collect a Sample of the Substance    

If possible, collect a sample of the substance your pet ingested, including packaging or labels. A sample will help the vet identify the toxin and determine the best course of treatment. 

5. Monitor Your Pet’s Symptoms    

Keep a close eye on your pet for any signs of distress or changes in behavior, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, or excessive drooling. Note these symptoms and relay them to your vet, as they can provide crucial information for diagnosis and treatment.


1. Don’t Induce Vomiting Without Professional Advice    

Inducing vomiting can be dangerous if done incorrectly or with certain substances, such as caustic chemicals or sharp objects. Always seek professional guidance before attempting to make your pet vomit.

2. Don’t Administer Home Remedies or Human Medications    

Never give your pet home remedies or medications meant for humans, as these can exacerbate the situation or cause additional harm. Stick to treatments prescribed or recommended by your veterinarian.

3. Don’t Delay Seeking Help    

Time is critical in cases of poisoning. Don’t wait to see if your pet will “get better on their own.” Swift action can be the crucial deciding factor in your pet’s recovery.

4. Don’t Try to Treat Unknown Substances on Your Own    

If you’re unsure about the substance your pet ingested, don’t attempt to treat it yourself. Incorrect treatment can be harmful. Let professionals handle the situation with their expertise and appropriate resources.

5. Don’t Ignore Preventive Measures    

Preventing poisoning is always better than treating it. Keep hazardous substances, plants, and foods out of reach. Educate yourself on common household items toxic to pets, such as chocolate, xylitol (found in sugar-free gum), certain plants, and medications.

What to Expect at Lenity Vet Specialists Emergency Services

When you arrive at Lenity Vet Specialists, our compassionate team is ready to assist you. A receptionist will check you in promptly, and a veterinary nurse will triage your pet to determine their stability. Triage, meaning to “separate out,” allows us to prioritize patients based on their medical needs rather than their order of arrival.

If hospitalization is necessary, the admitting veterinarian will discuss the recommended treatment plan with you in detail, ensuring you are fully informed and comfortable with the steps we will take to care for your pet.

Conclusion: Ensuring Your Pet’s Safety and Well-being

Pet poisoning is a severe and often life-threatening situation that requires prompt and calm action. Following these critical dos and don’ts can help ensure the best possible outcome for your beloved pet. You want to keep the pet poison control numbers, Lenity Vet Specialists number and an alternate emergency veterinarian hospital number where you, another family member, or pet sitter can easily locate them in case of an emergency. 

Remember, when in doubt, always seek professional advice. Your quick response and informed decisions can make all the difference in safeguarding your pet’s health and well-being. Contact Lenity Specialists + Emergency Care, serving San Mateo, San Francisco, and the Larger Bay Area. We are available for emergency care 24 hours, 7 days a week, year-round.   

Your Caring Team,

Lenity Vet Specialists + Emergency Care