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Are You Covered If Your Dog Eats Something Poisonous?


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In 2020, more than 350,000 pet parents called the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. The Pet Poison Helpline also saw an increase of over 200% in pet poisoning incidents involving certain toxins during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It only takes a split second for your fur-child to get into something they shouldn’t. Are you covered if your dog eats something poisonous? How can you tell if your dog has been poisoned, and what steps can you take to protect them? Keep reading to find out.

Does pet insurance cover poisoning in dogs?

Will your pet insurance plan cover your dog if they're accidentally poisoned? Usually, yes. Pet insurance plans from providers like Embrace and Pets Best cover accidents and illnesses — poisoning typically falls under the “accidents” category.

However, there may be some exceptions. Pet insurers won't cover poisoning that's intentional or associated with unethical treatments (as defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association's ethics rules).

If your dog is poisoned during the waiting period for their pet insurance plan, you'll need to pay for their treatment out of pocket. For many plans, accident-only coverage goes into effect the same day you take out your policy. But this isn't always the case — check with your provider to learn more about your plan's waiting period.

How much can you expect to pay to treat poisoning in dogs? That depends on the toxin and symptoms. For example, curing a brown recluse spider bite can cost anywhere from $250 to $6,500. Treatment for drug poisoning ranges from $200 to $3,000.

As you can see, poisoning in dogs can be expensive to treat. To prevent high vet care costs, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

Related: 10 Common Questions About Pet Insurance (With Answers)

Signs of poisoning in dogs

Symptoms will vary depending on the toxin. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the top 3 toxins of 2020 included over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications for humans, and human food.

Common signs of poisoning in dogs include:

To learn more about the symptoms caused by a specific toxin, check out our health guides on poisoning in dogs.

What to do if your dog is poisoned

Step 1: Call a pet poison hotline or go to the vet

As soon as you see your dog eat something toxic, seek professional help. Don't wait to see if symptoms appear, and don't try to make your dog throw up unless instructed to do so. If you can, secure the toxin in a container and bring it with you to the vet.

We recommend trying your usual vet clinic first since your pet's medical records are on file there. If the office is closed, go to an emergency vet or call a pet poison hotline. If visiting an emergency vet, bring your pet's health records with you.

Step 2: Tell the vet or pet poison specialist exactly what happened

Provide as much detail as you can about the incident, including:

  • how and where your pet encountered the toxin

  • roughly how much of the toxin your pet came into contact with

  • whether your pet ingested, inhaled, or made physical contact with the toxin

Step 3: Follow your vet's treatment advice

Once your vet has treated onset symptoms, they'll provide a treatment plan. Follow it exactly, and ask your vet if you have questions about anything. If you're talking to a pet poison specialist over the phone, they may advise you to bathe your dog or induce vomiting. They'll walk you through the process step by step.

5 ways to protect your dog from accidental poisoning

How can you prevent poisoning in dogs? Here are our top 5 tips.

Remove toxic plants from your home and yard

The best way to stop your dog from nibbling on a toxic plant is to remove it from their environment. Check out the ASPCA website for a full list of plants that are toxic to dogs.

Secure medications, toxic chemicals, and other harmful substances

Always keep medications, cleaning solutions, and other toxins out of your dog's reach. Cabinet locks and other puppy-proofing methods can keep especially curious canines out of harm's way.

Know what foods are toxic to dogs

As we mentioned earlier, human food is the third most common cause of poisoning in dogs. As a responsible pet parent, you should know which foods aren't safe for your dog.

Train your dog to stay away from snakes and other venomous animals

Keeping your dog out of the medicine cabinet is one thing, but protecting them from venomous animals is a different beast. If you live in an area that's also home to creepy crawlies like scorpions, snakes, and spiders, train your dog to steer clear. Maintaining your yard can also reduce the habitat for both venomous animals and their prey.

Supervise your dog when outdoors

Always watch your dog whenever they're outdoors, even if they're just sniffing around your yard. Not only will this ensure they don't get into something they shouldn't, but it will also protect them from dognappers and other criminals who intentionally harm dogs. Sure, that might sound overly sinister and maybe even impossible for your neighborhood. But according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, roughly 200 dogs are intentionally poisoned each year.

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