English bulldog eating from its food bowl

Dogs can get food poisoning from eating something they shouldn't have.

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Food poisoning in dogs

By Dr. Laura Harvey BVetMed GPCert (WVA&CPM) MRCVS Veterinarian

Updated on the

Just like humans, dogs can get food poisoning – more so perhaps because they do like to scavenge and eat what they find.

Food poisoning in dogs can occur from their food having gone off, yet it's probably more commonly brought on from dogs eating something they shouldn’t have when they've been outside. The severity of symptoms can vary from mild to severe, with the latter requiring hospitalisation. Fortunately it is rarely fatal if veterinary intervention is sought promptly. Obviously, whenever you have any concerns about your dog, you should contact a vet.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning in dogs?

The symptoms can vary from mild vomiting and diarrhoea to lethargy, anorexia, increased drinking, twitching/tremors, seizures and, in rare cases (depending on what the dog has eaten), it may be fatal.

Can my dog get food poisoning?

Yes, your dog can get food poisoning. This can be because the food that they’ve eaten is contaminated, for example with Campylobacter from raw chicken, or if they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have, such as mouldy food or things in the garden or when out on a walk.

How do you know if your dog has been poisoned?

You may or may not know if your dog has been poisoned. You may have seen what your dog has eaten, but if not then it can be difficult and often impossible to know what your dog has eaten. If you are concerned your dog may have eaten something they shouldn’t have, please contact a vet immediately.

What can you do for food poisoning in dogs?

If you are concerned that your dog has food poisoning or has eaten something they shouldn’t have done, please contact a vet immediately, particularly if they are showing any symptoms.

How long does it take for a dog to get sick from eating something?

This can vary depending on what they have eaten. It can vary from a few hours, if they’ve eaten something contaminated or mouldy, or it could be days to weeks, if they’ve eaten something, for example a corn on the cob, that then gets stuck in their intestine.

How do I know if my puppy has eaten something bad?

You may or may not know that your puppy has eaten something bad. You may have seen them eat something, if not then a common cause of illness, particularly vomiting and diarrhoea, is a sign that they’ve eaten something they shouldn't have. If you are concerned your puppy may have eaten something they shouldn’t have, please contact a vet immediately.

How do I know if my dog has something stuck in their intestines?

This can only be identified by a vet. The vet will be able to feel some things that are stuck in the intestines. But this is not always possible, particularly in deep-chested dogs and those that are tense when examined – as they'll also tense their abdominal muscles, so the vet won’t be able to feel very much. Imaging of your dog’s abdomen is normally required, so x-rays and/or an ultrasound will likely be carried out.

How long can something stay in a dog's stomach?

This can vary from a few hours to even a few weeks. Having said that, most things will pass through a dog's stomach in 4 to 12 hours.

How long does it take for something to pass through a dog?

The time can vary for something to go all the way through a dog, but it's is usually somewhere between 24 and 48 hours.

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