Signs of Poisoning in Dogs and Cats


Do you know the signs of pet poisoning in dogs or the signs of pet poisoning in cats? As pet parents, we’re the first ones to recognize if something is wrong with our cat or dog. In the case of pet poisoning, you may not know what they got into and the signs of poisoning in dogs and cats can vary tremendously based on the underlying poison.

If you think your dog or cat has been poisoned, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for assistance. When it comes to poisoning, the sooner you treat your dog or cat, the better the outcome.

While this list does not include all signs of dog and cat poisoning, some common signs generally include:

Gastrointestinal Signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling/hyper salivating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea

Internal Bleeding:

  • Coughing of blood
  • Vomiting blood
  • Pale gums
  • A racing heart rate
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Visible bruising on skin, gums, or the whites of the eyes

Kidney Failure:

  • Halitosis (“uremic” breath)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Absence or decreased urination

Liver Failure:

  • Jaundice/icterus/yellow discoloration to the gums
  • Weakness or collapse secondary to a low blood sugar
  • Dull mentation, acting abnormally
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Black-tarry stool (melena)

Neurological Signs:

  • Sedation/drowsiness
  • Incoordination
  • Abnormal posture
  • Abnormal vocalization
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Aggression

If you notice any of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian or a pet poison specialist right away. The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours, seven days a week. The call is free if you’re a Pets Plus Us Member and are eligible for Blue Ribbon Benefits*. 

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Be prepared, read our article on how to make a pet poison first aid kit.


Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based out of Minneapolis, is available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals that require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The staff provides treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $85.00 USD** per incident includes follow-up consultations for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at

*Blue Ribbon Benefits are not available in Quebec
**Price is subject to change