What to do if you think your pet has been poisoned

What to do if you think your pet has been poisoned

Keep your little one safe in and around your home by keeping chemicals out of reach, fences and gates maintained, and trash inaccessible to your pets.

As this pet poison prevention awareness was a big topic in the veterinary and pet worlds we wanted to share a brief blog with some basic tips on what to do if you think your pet has been poisoned. We have talked previously about common household items that can be poisonous to your pet, including chemicals used on lawns and gardens, rat bate, insecticides, and human food that your pet may snag from the trash.

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, intentionally or otherwise, there are a few things you can do.

Move quickly

The first and most important step is to get your pet to the veterinarian. With some forms of poison or toxins they can be very fast acting, especially in smaller animals. Getting your pet to the doctor as quickly as possible is a must. For our hospital, and many others, walk-ins and emergencies are always welcome. Don’t bother calling, just drive to the hospital. The best case scenario is that your pet was not poisoned and you made the trip for nothing.


Know your veterinarian’s hours.

Depending on where you live, your veterinarian may be open for different time periods. At Pacific Animal Hospital, we stay open late on weeknights in case of emergencies, until 9:00pm you can just come right in. If your regular vet is not open, know where your local emergency hospital is. For Northern San Diego County this is the California Veterinary Specialists and Veterinary Specialty Hospitals. Their closest locations are in Sorrento Valley and Carlsbad.


Contact the authorities

If you feel that your pet was intentionally poisoned contact the police and file a report with the ASPCA. Your pet is considered property in California and has certain protections. Keep a copy of the report their file, and keep records of all bills. If it comes to light that your neighbor did purposefully injure your pet, you may be able to take them to court for damages. The ASPCA may also be able to help you by further investigating your neighbor’s behavior.


At the end of the day, what is most important is preventing a bad situation. Keep your pet safe, and your neighbors happy by maintaining your fences, screens, and keeping a watchful eye on your pets. They are after all your favorite furry kids!

Tick Tock, Tick Tock!


If you happen to be living in a cave and didn’t realize it, SPRING IS HERE! This Sunday is daylight savings, so set back your clocks and be ready for your favorite pet-alarm clock to be totally out of whack. Although some pets are in no way affected by the time change, for many it can be a big change to their routine.  As they live in what amounts to an artificial environment, where someone else controls their whole world, it can be jarring and confusing come Monday morning.

Little Bella will likely sleep right through the time change!
(photo courtesy of Mrs. Jimenez)

How to help your pet survive daylight savings:

Start early

Although we post this blog on Saturday morning, and Sunday night is the switch, start making changes today. Even adjusting your pet’s schedule by 15 minutes can help come tomorrow when everything is an hour off. You may even want to consider continuing to adjust their schedule by 15 minutes for the next few days until their schedule matches the daylight savings change.

Be prepared

Your dog’s behavior will likely be a little different for the next few days. If you mailman normally comes at 10:00am, and now arrives at 11:00am, your pet may be more chatty than normal. Not only is their favorite guest’s arrival happening, but it’s now at a different time. Your pup will likely want to be sure you, your family, and the neighbors are all aware of the change.

Shake things up

Keeping your pets schedule a little varied all year can help them cope better when daylight savings happens. It can be very helpful for pets if their schedule has some variation. They will be more prepared to deal with change as they will be used to it happening all the time. Keep in mind you control their world, so this variation shouldn’t be cruel or excessive, but dinner at 5:00 instead of 5:15 will keep them guessing and ready!

Love, love, love

Nothing helps stress like a little R&R and the same is true for your pet. Be sure to give them lots of love in the coming days. Your attention and affection will help them know that everything is ok. Their anxiety will lower gradually and they will return back to their normal selves.


If you are noticing your pet is extremely anxious or does not seem able to cope, give us a call. We are happy to help assess your pet’s individual needs, and see what can be done to help.

Dyeing to spend time with your pet

So after the death of actor Harold Ramis, and watching Seth Rogan’s humorous but undeniably sad speech at Congress this week, we needed to find a good pick-me-up activity to do this weekend. As we are always looking for ways to be “hip and cool,” we thought about dying one of our pet’s fur.  Since we are lacking a little bit in the department of hip and cool, we spent time researching about dying pet fur. Here’s what we found:



Risks involved:

Obviously as pet parents and veterinarians, our first concern is the health risks involved with dying our pet’s fur. As we read article after article, one thing became clear. There are risks involved to dyeing your pet’s fur. Human hair dyes are not friendly to pets. So rule #1 for dyeing pet hair: do not use human hair dyes. The chemicals in the dye are extremely strong. If breathing toxic chemicals into their precious, little noses does not make them sick, the likely skin irritation or burns will do the trick.  Pets may also accidentally ingest chemicals, while they attempt to lick, scratch or give you kisses on your dye-coated hands. There are some ways to get around this, so don’t fear the rest of this blog won’t be a waste.


If the health risks don’t have you concerned, the looks from strangers that you or your pet might get may put a halt to your dyeing plans. In addition to health risks, many news articles sited outrage in the pet and non-pet community towards fur dying. Be ready to receive positive and negative feedback for your decision. Obviously, this one risk is one more for you, as your pet may or may not even notice.

What your pet may think:

Depending on your pet, they may or may not notice the strangers who double take their new quaff. For some pets, the added attention will reinforce what they’ve known all along: how absolutely fabulous they are! For others, they may become hesitant or shy. Many pets are very attune to human gaze and behavior, so if your pet tends to be in any way sensitive, fur dyeing is likely not be the best option.

Although we decided against dyeing any of our own pets, and are unlikely to ever recommend it for PAH patients, if after reading the risks you just can’t resist, read below for tips on how to dye your pet’s fur.


If you just can’t resist dyeing their fur:

If you are going to go bold this weekend, we do have a few tips to help your pet navigate the experience safely.

  1. Use pet-safe dye. Opawz touts that they supply pet-safe dyeing products. We have also heard Kool Aid or hair chalk are less risky. Both offer much more temporary coloring options, less time to apply, and less chemicals.
  2. Stay out of the danger zone(s). It is almost guaranteed that your pet will lick themselves at some point post-hair dye. Dyeing in areas they cannot reach (top of head, exterior of the ears, along their back bone) is ideal to avoid ingestion of any pet-safe or un-safe products.
  3. Talk to a Groomer. No matter how sure you are that you can dye your pet’s hair, consulting with a groomer is the best option. You will likely not be the first person to call about dyeing, and their experience will always be helpful.
  4. Be attuned to your pet. Be sure to watch them for signs of distress or embarrassment –the last thing you want to do is cause them suffering for the sake of fashion.


Although we can’t offer to dye your pet for you, we are happy to give them a bath or trim their nails! PAH offers bathing and nail care to all of our patients and boarders. Be sure to ask for either of these services to be added to your next visit.

If you do attempt to dye your pet’s hair and something goes wrong, or you are reading this blog having just applied human-hair dye to your pet, be sure to give us a call! We are always here to help! !