Signs of Food Poisoning in Pets

December 17, 2018

Animals can develop food poisoning just like we can, and this can quickly make your furry friend very unwell. In many instances, the food poisoning may be mild and pass fairly quickly, enabling your pet to get back to normal without suffering any long-term effects. However, other types of food poisoning can have serious health consequences for your animal. Seizures, dehydration, muscle spasms, confusion and even unconsciousness are some of the most severe symptoms associated with food poisoning which, if left untreated, could cause permanent damage to your pet’s health – or worse.

Why does my pet have food poisoning?

When an animal experiences food poisoning it is usually down to one of two different reasons.

Your pet has eaten something that is toxic to them

While many of us like to share our human foods with our pets, the reality is that many of the things that we eat are simply not good for our animals. In fact, some can be downright dangerous. You have probably heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs, right? Well, that’s not the only thing. There are a number of different foods that can make your dog very sick, including onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and candies. Drinks containing alcohol and caffeine are also very dangerous for your pet. As a responsible owner, it is very important that you educate yourself about what foods are safe for your pet to eat, and which ones should be avoided.

Your pet has eaten something spoiled or contaminated

Many pets, and in particular dogs, are quite unfussy about food and will try and eat virtually anything they come across, whether it is actually edible or not! Animals have a habit of going though garbage, and if you have thrown out food because it has been contaminated or spoilt, or even if the food in your garbage is a few days old, it can develop bacteria that can cause food poisoning. 


Signs that your pet may have food poisoning

Often, one of the most frustrating things about being a pet owner is trying to decipher what your furbaby is trying to tell you. Without the ability to verbalize what they need or want, we are reliant on picking up on their behaviors, or if they are unwell, any symptoms that they show us. Unfortunately, animals are pre-disposed to trying to hide signs of illness. This is instinctual so that they don’t appear weak or vulnerable, but can make spotting sickness particularly difficult for even the most attentive owner.

Nevertheless, when it comes to food poisoning, the symptoms usually appear rapidly and dramatically as your pet simply can’t hide them. Exactly what clinical signs your pet will show may depend on what they have been poisoned with, how much they have consumed and their age, size and health. Some of the most common symptoms of food poisoning in pets include:

-         Vomiting

-         Diarrhea

-         Increased drooling

-         Loss of appetite

-         Lethargy

-         Shivering uncontrollably

-         Whimpering in pain

-         Changes in behavior such as sudden aggression

What should I do if I believe my pet has food poisoning?

Many owners mistakenly believe that the first thing that they should do if they think their pet is poisoned is to make them vomit. While purging his system of food is the easiest way of getting rid of any toxins, it has its own risks – primarily making your furry friend dehydrated unless you ensure that he drinks plenty of water. However, most vets will agree that you should never induce your pet to vomit without first obtaining advice and permission from your vet. Your vet has the education and experience necessary to be able to make a recommendation as to the best course of action, such as whether to induce vomiting immediately or wait until your animal is seen by them as an emergency case.


If you are concerned about pet food poisoning, don’t delay in contacting our experienced and professional veterinary team for further advice and support today.