Poisoning in Dogs and Cats

December 31, 1994 (published) | April 1, 2020 (revised)

Poisoning is a condition that results from the ingestion, inhalation, absorption, injection, or application of a substance that causes structural damage or functional disturbance of body tissues. The poison can be a plant, a medication given in excess, a cleaning product, or other household chemicals.

What to Do

  • Call a veterinarian or a poison control center, and follow their instructions. If you do not have a local poison control center, you can call the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at  (855) 764-7661 (a consultation fee may be applied to your credit card).

  • If the product is a petroleum product, cleaning solution, strong acid, or strong alkali, if the substance was ingested more than 3 hours ago, or if your pet is unconscious, not able to stand, or is having trouble breathing, you must get your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

  • If the pet vomits, save a sample of the vomitus for later inspection by the veterinarian. You can carry it in a ziplock bag.

  • Read about chemical injuries if a chemical has injured your pet.

What NOT to Do

  • Do not give any liquid: liquids may move the poison into the body sooner.

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