3 min read

Can Dogs Get Food Poisoning?


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Every Fido, Radar, and Spot chows down on hamburger that is days old and they never seem to get sick. In fact, dogs tend to eat all kinds of old foods and never seem to miss a beat. So is it possible that dogs simply don’t get food poisoning?
Read on to find out!

Can dogs get food poisoning?

Yes, and the reality is that dogs who are food-oriented and love to scavenge are prone to food poisoning. Food poisoning in humans is rough. And, the same goes for our canine friends. Signs of a bad reaction to food are:

  • Vomiting
  • Loose stools and diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Unwillingness to eat

Can dogs get food poisoning?

More severe cases of food poisoning in dogs can cause seizures, severe dehydration, muscle spasms, disorientation, and even collapse.

In the event you suspect your dog may be suffering from food poisoning, you can't afford to waste time. They need to be taken to see the vet immediately. 

How do I know if my dog has food poisoning?

Food poisoning is not a common occurrence in dogs. However, if your furry buddy is the type to attempt to eat fecal matter they find on a dog walk, get into the compost pile, or practice indiscriminate eating in the form of garbage or dead squirrels at the dog park, they may suffer from a food poisoning of sorts once the digestion process begins. The bacteria and mold that forms in feces, old food, and dead animals can cause serious illnesses, and not only that, but your pup can also contract parasites and worms that make them sick.

Diagnosis of food poisoning in dogs is similar to that for humans and typically involves noting the above symptoms. Since the body's way of reacting to the presence of toxins that cause food poisoning is to try and flush them out, your companion is likely to have a bad case of diarrhea and vomiting. 

If your dog is at risk of developing food poisoning, check out our pet insurance comparison tool. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like FIGO and Nationwide.

Want more info on pet health insurance? Check out our guide to pet insurance 101.

How do I treat my dog's food poisoning?

Any time that your dog is vomiting and showing signs of tummy trouble, it is best to take them to the vet. If you know they were digging in the garbage or sampled a dead animal carcass, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food poisoning. 

As well, food toxicity often produces the same symptoms. The ingestion of chocolate, peanut butter or other food products with xylitol, macadamia nuts, onions, and coffee, among other human foods can cause severe toxicity that must be treated by a veterinarian.

Case Study

In 2006, several well-known dog foods were recalled after they were found to contain aflatoxins that are highly toxic to dogs. According to Cornell University veterinarians, over 100 dogs died of food poisoning, eating foods intended for them. The University team used a new type of test modified from one used for humans to discover the cause of the food poisoning. 

But, unfortunately for many dogs and their pet parents, the discovery of the aflatoxin came too late. Sadly, many of the dogs would not have been subjected to this food poisoning if their pet parents had been aware of the wave of media attention given this recall. 

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© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.