What to do if your animal has eaten something it shouldn’t have

What to do if your animal has eaten something it shouldn’t have

Tagged in: Author: Dr Robyn Chandler

The realisation that your pet has ingested something it shouldn’t have can be very scary. Here’s our list of things to do in this emergency.


  1. Don’t try and make your pet vomit. This can do more harm than good.


  1. Call your vet immediately. Time is the most critical factor that determines successful outcomes of toxicoses. Don’t wait to see if your pet starts to show any negative signs - often by the time they appear distressed it’s too late to effectively treat them.


  1. Although it’s important to get your pet to the vet quickly, it’s a really good idea to call first. This will allow the vet to assess if you really do need to make the trip, or if your pet will be fine without treatment. It also allows the clinic to prepare the time, staffing, equipment and medications needed to treat your pet as quickly as possible. Calling first may save you a trip to the vet, or help your pet get treated quicker.
  1. When you call these are the vital pieces of information we’ll want to know:
    1. What your pet has eaten exactly – try to salvage packaging, no matter how chewed up it may be.
    2. How much have they eaten? If you aren’t sure, let us know what the worse-case scenario is.
    3. How long ago did they eat it? A time-line is important for us.
    4. Is your animal showing any symptoms at present?
  1. If your vet advises you to bring your pet for treatment, do this as quickly as possible. There is no time to finish errands or chores. Time is really, really important in determining the outcome of toxicosis.
  1. What to bring:
    1. All animals that have even the slightest chance of having eaten the offending substance. Don’t assume which pet has done the naughty deed. It’s best to treat all your animals if there are any doubts.
    2. The packaging from what they have eaten. This will allow us to determine the concentration and amount of the toxic ingredient that they have eaten.
    3. A sample of the substance (if there is any left). This will help us recognise the substance in any vomit or faeces.


If you haven’t seen our article on things that are dangerous for your pet to eat, click here.


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