Poisoning Emergencies

While we don’t want to think about it, accidental poisonings in pets sometimes happen.  Dogs and cats can get into any number of things around the house, or on a walk, often before we have a chance to stop them.  Insecticides, pesticides, rat poison, drugs, plants, and even certain foods are just a few of the things that can be harmful to our pets.


If you do suspect your pet may have eaten, or been exposed to, a poison, please do the following:

  • Remove your pet from the area where they were exposed
  • Make sure your pet is breathing and acting normally
  • Do NOT give any home antidotes; they may cause more harm than good
  • Do NOT induce vomiting without first calling for advice:
    • Chedoke Animal Hospital (905-648-4747)
    • After hours? – call the Hamilton Wentworth Emergency Veterinary Clinic (905-529-1004)
    • One of the Pet Poison Hotlines listed below
  • Whichever clinic you do speak with, bring your pet into the clinic right away if it is recommended


While the list of poisons, and their potential treatments, is way too long to try and list here, there are often websites you can consult if you think your pet may have eaten or contacted something they shouldn’t have. 

Two services that we have strong confidence in are listed below:

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435


The Pet Poison Helpline: (855) 764-7661


Both of these are staffed by experts that can provide both you (and us, the veterinarians) with immediate information on what to do at home (for example, they may recommend making your pet vomit).  They will also advise what should be done as far as follow-up treatment or potential antidotes.

While there is a fee to consult with these specialists, both websites provide a wealth of free general information you can consult first if you are worried about a particular plant, drug, food, or household product.

Remember, as veterinarians we often need to consult with these specialists ourselves to get advice on treatment and follow-up.  For that reason, we will often tell clients to make contact with either of these services and to start a consult as soon as you suspect your pet may have been poisoned.  Both services will provide you with a case number, and afterwards will provide additional follow-up advice to the clinic at no additional charge.

REMEMBER – if you think your pet may have been poisoned, don’t hesitate – follow-up with one of the sources listed above right away