Second Chance: Pet Poison Protocol

Second Chance: Pet Poison Protocol

Nobody I know would ever purposefully poison their dog or cat and yet every month I see at least a handful of pet poisoning cases: barn cats that ate mice (which ate rat poison), sweet hounds that licked up sugary tasting antifreeze, counter-surfing labs that got into bread dough or chocolate or a month’s supply of Rimadyl, etc…

So how does a pet parent respond to a poisoned pet?



No matter what has been ingested — if you have an incidence of “dietary indiscretion,” you need to accurately assess how much has been consumed, how long ago, and the weight of your pet. Then you need to call a vet ASAP.  Your vet will direct you in one of three scenarios: get your pet to the clinic immediately, induce vomiting, or just watch and wait.

Almost every substance is harmful if taken in large enough amounts. Sticks of butter, uncooked bacon, they don’t sound like poison, but when inhaled in a counter-surfing deluge they can induce a bout of pancreatitis in your animal, so never hesitate to seek medical advice.

Some substances are more poisonous than others. In these cases get the animal medical care immediately. Such an offender is Acetaminophen, otherwise known as Tylenol, which is very poisonous to cats. One tiny pill, dropped on the bathroom floor and swallowed up by your unknowing feline can lead to complete liver failure and death. Dogs are not quite as susceptible, but a few pills are toxic to them too so don’t take a chance.

Antifreeze is another big offender. Because it’s sweet, it’s a favorite of dogs and cats alike. The ethylene glycol in antifreeze kills with impunity because it shuts down the kidney. Similarly, bread dough can be just as toxic to an animal as antifreeze. The yeast converts in the animal’s stomach to ethanol, and that can cause central nervous system shut down, cardiac arrest, and death.

Prompt action is also required for rat/mice poison.

Sometimes that poison is ingested straight out of the package and sometimes it’s ingested through “hunting” rodents which have ingested it. Rat and mouse poison generally consists of an anticoagulant that is extended release. It kills by making rodents hemorrhage to death and it can do the same thing to your pet. Do not use the “wait and see” approach in this case as the poison is extended release and you might not see symptoms for 24 – 48 hours, which may be too late for treatment.



I only touched on a few of the poisons in our pet’s environment – the critical message here is that if your animal has ingested something it shouldn’t – seek medical attention immediately!

Although this has not been a topic to joke about – I will end on a lighter note and his name is Jester.

Jester is available for adoption here at Second Chance. He is a wonderful Retriever/Border Collie (a Bordereiver) of five-years-young. Jester is playful with all dogs and people, loving, well-mannered, loves the water and although he tries to appear very serious, he most enjoys making people laugh.

On the more serious side is our young tabby named Scooby, who is far more independent with an explorer’s nature. He can often be seen staring out the window contemplating life and dreaming of adventures after being adopted.

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

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