Help! My Dog Ate Pesticide: 5 Signs Your Dog Consumed Pesticides

Dog Ate Pesticide     By Amy Norton     |Published 07-22-2020

We all know that pesticides are not healthy to consume and that certainly goes for our dogs too! 

I learned this the hard way last year when my Boston Terrier, Nickel, accidentally ate pesticide. 

A Boston Terrier who was a victim of a pesticideIf Your Dog Ate Pesticide, please keep reading

We were having problems with ants indoors and had a pest control technician over to assess our home for treatment options. We let the technician know that we had a dog, who is particularly prone to getting into things, and needed some safer alternatives to get rid of the ants. He left that day after going over a few options with us and said nothing about having started the pesticide treatment. 

Later that night, we discovered that he had put two ant bait stations out - just sitting on the floor - and Nickel had already consumed the majority of one. He didn’t let us know that he had treated anything yet and had just left two sitting on the floor, which were easy for Nickel to find and get into. Needless to say, we never used this particular company again! 

Act Quickly

Boston Terrier dogs who have eaten pesticidesAct Quickly if Your Dog Ate Pesticide

We immediately looked up numbers for pet poison control, as it was past closing time at our veterinary office. Nickel was not showing any signs of distress yet, but we were concerned since she had consumed nearly a full ant bait bar. 

It’s important to seek help quickly. If your veterinary office is closed, it’s recommended by the National Pesticide Information Center to immediately call one of these help lines:

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center - 1-888-426-4435 ($65.00 credit card fee)

Pet Poison Helpline - 1-800-213-6680 ($49.00 credit card fee)

A Boston Terrier who ate pesticidesHelp MY Dog Ate Pesticide

Nickel weighs 22 pounds and we were very concerned that her smaller size would make her more vulnerable to any adverse effect, which is why we also left a message on her vet’s after hours phone line. 

If possible have the name of the pesticide, approximate amount consumed, concentration of the pesticide, and any other information on the packaging ready for the operator. In our case, the ant bait had some remaining packaging on it. We weren’t able to read the ant bait station that Nickel ate part of, but upon locating the other one we read off the information to the operator. 

If the pesticide was sprayed or doesn’t have packaging, check your service order for the treatment. Per the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act in the United States, any treatments used must be listed with specific details on the chemicals, concentrations, etc. 

How Do I Know My Dog Consumed Pesticide?

Signs of pesticide poisoning are usually quick to show up. It’s crucial that you act quickly as pesticide poisoning can usually be treated. 

Within 15 minutes, you may notice your dog is: 

  • Restless or agitated
  • Crying or whimpering
  • Itchy - possibly trying to bite or roll around on their back
Boston TerriersKnow what the signs of pesticide poisoning

Within an hour, you may notice your dog experiencing the following: 

  • Throwing up or diarrhea
  • Gagging or trying to clear their throat
  • Shakiness or agitation
  • Drooling excessively
  • Not showing interest in food or water

If you didn’t see what your dog got into, but they are showing these signs, we recommend giving your vet a call, visiting the emergency after hours vet, or calling a helpline for directions. The Veterinary Centers Of America say that pesticide poisoning is usually treatable if dealt with early on.

Pesticide Poisoning Treatment

In many cases, your vet will induce vomiting followed by activated charcoal to absorb the toxin from your dog’s intestinal tracts. The charcoal will not absorb everything, but can minimize how much pesticide is absorbed into their system. 

This is typically followed by close monitoring of your pet’s condition and may require an overnight stay or hospitalization, depending on the severity. Your dog may be bathed to remove pesticide from their paws or fur. If the pesticide is unknown, your vet may perform blood work to identify the culprit. 

If pesticide poisoning is not treated quickly and a significant amount was consumed, dogs can develop permanent neurological abnormalities or pass away after going into cardiac or respiratory distress. It’s crucial that you seek help quickly if you suspect your dog has consumed pesticide.  

In our case, we were very lucky! Nickel had consumed most of an ant bait station, but the particular pesticide was less harmful than some and in a weak concentration. We closely watched her overnight and  didn’t end up taking her into the vet until the next morning. The vet said everything looked fine, which we were immensely grateful for!

Ants are one insect that is often the target for professionals trying to target pest infestationIf Your dog ate pesticide due to exterminating ant infestation beware

Prevention

Prevention is always better than treating a future problem. 

Ways to prevent your precious pup from consuming pesticides: 

  • Keep pesticides and chemicals up high and/or locked up. Many dogs can and will get into the cabinet under the sink or things in the garage, so make sure these are safely stored away.

  • Consult with your pest control technician and vet for information on how long you should keep a dog away from a recently treated area of the home. 

  • Only use dog safe products on your dog. It’s tempting to use products we have on hand, but the concentration of certain products, like flea and tick products, can be too much for them. 

  • Read the instructions on all products used in your home or outside. Watch for warnings about safety and consumption!

  • Less is more! If you’re applying pesticide products yourself, start small. You can always add more later and build upon the previous batch. 

  • Always double check with any professionals coming into your home or yard. Make sure they know that you have a dog and always get specific information on the products used and how to keep your dog safe. 

There are many types of pesticides in our homes that we completely forget about. Keep a close eye on the following products: 

  • Pesticide sprayed inside or outside
  • Ant, mole, gopher, rodent, and other animal bait stations
  • Compost bins, which collect large amounts of mold and toxins overtime
  • Fertilizers, herbicides, and any other chemicals your dog can (and will!) get into
  • Flea and tick products that are applied to our dogs directly. These are not healthy for consumption and need to be carefully monitored. 
A woman watches as an exterminator works in a homeAnt extermination and your Dog Ate Pesticide

This scary experience taught us a lot and we hope to never have a similar encounter! 

I’m happy to report that Nickel is doing great. 

If you suspect that your dog has consumed pesticide or they are showing signs of pesticide consumption, please call your vet or a helpline immediately. The faster your dog receives help, the better off they’ll be! 

References and Sources of Help for This Article:  Dog Ate Pesticide

American Veterinary Medical Association

Pet Poison Helpline

National Pesticide Information Center

Veterinary Centers Of America

Dog Ate Pesticide:  Author Bio

Amy Norton, AuthorAmy Norton

Amy Norton is a freelance pet and lifestyle blog post writer and the owner of Penned By Amy. She grew up with two Boston Terriers and now has her own Boston Terrier, Nickel, who is a spunky and playful dog.

Amy regularly takes Nickel to Sonics for mozzarella sticks to "pay" her for all of her help in the writing process. Amy is passionate about sharing important information about dog care and health to other dog owners through her writing, as dogs are truly part of the family to her!

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