Every year stories of dogs being accidentally poisoned are passed on and shared by the media all over the world.
Between July 4 and July 18 in Oregon, USA, a shocking eight dogs died after ingesting poisons left in Laurelhurst Park. Then, in January 2017, six dogs passed away in Edinburgh, Scotland who were also poisoned after walks in the park. Only two months ago in Melbourne, Australia three dogs died after having seizures suspected to be caused by poison left in a park.
Source: CBS News
While it is true that some of these cases could have been accidental, the number of dogs suffering from poisoning has been steadily increasing over the past few years.
However, it is extremely difficult to find and convict those responsible as the crime is very discreet, meaning that many perpetrators go unpunished.
Here is some vital advice and information to know about poisoning:
Which substances are most commonly used?
In the majority of cases, toxic substances are mixed with meat to entice the animal, who won't be wary of food and so will unknowingly ingest the poison. Among the most frequently used substances are:
- everyday food products (onions, chocolate etc.),
- cleaning products (ammonia, bleach etc.),
- pharmaceutical products (sleeping pills, aspirin etc.),
- pesticides (insecticides, weedkiller etc.),
- products causing internal injuries (broken glass, nails etc.),
- household chemicals (antifreeze, gas etc.)
What are the most recognizable symptoms?
The speed at which toxic substances take effect varies depending on the type and quantity ingested by the animal, but the symptoms of poisoning are relatively easy to recognize:
- neurological problems (convulsions, shaking, loss of balance etc.),
- difficulty clotting (heavy bleeding etc.),
- stomach problems (diarrhea, vomiting etc.),
- salivary problems (hyper-salivation etc.),
- respiratory problems (grunting, rapid breathing etc.),
- physiological problems (muscle weakness etc.)
What to do if my dog presents these symptoms?
The first port of call in these cases is always to call a veterinarian, who will tell you the correct procedure to follow. It is vital that the dog is given professional care as soon as possible to increase their chances of survival.
In the majority of cases, the veterinarian will advise you to force the canine to vomit by administering very small amounts of hydrogen peroxide or salt water.
However, if the dog has ingested acid or ammonia, it is imperative to make them drink large quantities of water to reduce the concentration of the toxic substance, and so it is important in these cases not to make the dog vomit.
How to avoid poisoning?
Source: The Labrador Site
Whilst it is extremely difficult to protect your pet from this almost invisible danger, it is possible to minimize their risk by applying a few golden rules:
- train your dog to never eat anything without your permission
- keep your dog on a leash and don't let them walk alone outside of your view, even in familiar locations
- place a muzzle over their mouth if your dog has the tendency to be greedy
What does the law say about this subject?
In the UK, as specified in section 7 of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, it is an offense to knowingly poison and do harm to a "protected animal." Those found guilty can face a fine of up to £20,000 ($26,000) and a prison sentence.
You can read up more about animal cruelty laws in the United States and in Canada here.
You can also visit PETA and pledge to be cruelty-free.
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