Sometimes, even the most experienced dog owners have a lapse in judgement.
Like me. Now, I’m no dog expert but I do know a few things. Things like, puppies are curious little rascals. They experience the world through their mouths and noses and want to taste and chew and smell everything.
Last week, I made a terrible mistake by leaving my purse, which had a bottle of Advil in it, on the floor at my friend’s house.
Advil is extremely toxic to dogs and cats, and you should never give it to your pet as a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory. And you shouldn’t leave it in a place where curious pups can get to it.
By the time we found the chewed up bottle that the puppy had fished out of my bag, he had already ingested several tablets. We immediately called his vet and within an hour, the puppy was on IV fluids and charcoal to try to ward off renal failure and stomach ulcers.
I’ve been kicking myself ever since. But I am so grateful that we got him to the vet as quickly as we did. We learned that day that as few as 4 Advil can be lethal to a dog.
If — and I hope you never, ever have to go through this — your dog eats medication or anything else that could be toxic, remember that time is of the essence. Don’t just “wait and see” if the dog appears to feel sick or begins to show signs of illness. When we arrived at the vet, the dog appeared to be perfectly normal. However, we learned that the signs of renal failure would not have appeared for several hours after ingesting the Advil – which might have been too late.
To prepare for an emergency, please take these steps now:
1. Locate your nearest emergency or 24-hour veterinarian’s office and store the number in your phone and post it on your fridge so you can easily find it. This is particularly helpful if you are nervous or panicked. (You can also call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline, but be aware that you will need to pay for a phone consultation.)
2. Keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case your vet advises you to induce vomiting.
3. Have an emergency fund available for these types of incidents. If your dog requires emergency hospitalization, you don’t want to make a hard choice based on cost of treatment.
The sweet pup is home now, safely crated when he’s not being monitored, and looks like he will make a full recovery. He was hospitalized for two days, getting IV fluids, charcoal, and periodic blood tests by an amazing vet staff who worked around the clock to save him. His creatinine levels peaked after about 48 hours, but then he stabilized and was released. He’ll continue to get blood tests and will be on medication to prevent stomach ulcers for another week before he’s officially “in the clear.”
And this was a costly error in judgement – the final vet bill was over $1,500 and there are still blood tests to run.
So learn from my mistake…put your purse away! I know I will, every single day for the rest of my life.
Stay safe, everyone!