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Animal Poison Control in Ontario: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Introduction to Animal Poisoning

A pet owners worst fear: one moment, you're enjoying a peaceful evening at home, and the next, you're in panic mode after discovering your furry friend has chewed on a toxic plant. Animals, in their playful innocence, often end up ingesting or having exposure to hazardous substances. But do you know what to do if this happens in Ontario?


Do You Need To Contact Animal Poison Control Hepline

Pet Poison Helpline®:

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:

  • Contact: (888) 426-4435

  • Info: Assistance if your pet consumes potentially poisonous substances like chocolate or xylitol.

  • Location: Not specified, but as a helpline, immediate location may not be necessary.

  • - Animal Poison Control

VCA Canada:

  • Contact: Not directly provided, but they advise calling the Pet Poison Helpline or a veterinarian if you believe your pet ingested a toxic substance.

  • Info: Guidance on summer toxins to avoid with pets.

  • Location: Not specified.

  • - Summer Toxins to Avoid with Your Pet

It's worth noting that while the above numbers are listed as resources, in case of any emergency, the best immediate action is always to contact your nearest veterinarian or animal hospital.



How Animals Get Exposed to Poison

As pet owners, we all want to keep our furry friends safe and healthy. Unfortunately, there are many ways they can be exposed to toxins and chemicals, both inside and outside of our homes. Ingested poisons are a common issue, especially with dogs and cats who like to explore and taste test everything they come across. But exposure can also occur when animals come into contact with chemicals in the yard or on a walk. It's important for pet owners to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to prevent them. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to poison, it's crucial to contact veterinary professionals and seek treatment advice from a vet and address the issue as quickly as possible. Don't hesitate to consult with a professional for guidance on how to keep your pet safe and healthy in all situations.

Common Poisonous Substances for Pets

From certain plants to household cleaners, and even some human foods like chocolate or grapes, the list of poisons for animals can be extensive. Are you familiar with all of them? As pet owners, we always want to make sure that our furry friends are safe and healthy. Unfortunately, there are some common substances found in our homes that can be toxic to our pets if ingested. Grapes, for example, may seem harmless, but they have been known to cause kidney failure in dogs. Chocolate, another popular treat for humans, contains theobromine which can be fatal to our furry friends if ingested in large enough quantities. Household cleaners and other chemicals are also common culprits in pet poisoning cases. It's important to keep these substances out of reach and to call for assistance immediately if you suspect that your pet has been poisoned. Signs of poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and seizures. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the safety of our pets.

Signs and Symptoms of Poisoning in Animals

Just consumed something they shouldn't have? A poisonous plant, or maybe some outdoor chemicals? It can be quite frightening to see your furry friend acting ill and showing signs of discomfort. If you notice any signs of drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea in your pet, it could be a cause for concern. These are all clinical signs that indicate your pet may have been poisoned. Difficulty breathing can also be another indication. It is important to determine the cause of these symptoms and get veterinary care as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome for your pet's health. If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian immediately. Remember, it's always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your cat or dog’s health and wellbeing.



What to Do in Case of an Animal Poisoning Emergency

In such critical situations, every second counts. Let's delve into the immediate actions you can take.

Immediate First Aid Steps

Discovering that your pet has ingested something toxic can be an alarming and stressful situation. Acting quickly can make all the difference in ensuring the health and safety of your furry friend. Your first immediate step should be to contact your veterinarian or the Ontario SPCA hotline to explain the situation and seek advice on next steps. Some animal poison control center places charge an initial incident fee, so it’s a good idea to ask them when you call. Depending on the severity of the situation, they may recommend bringing your pet in for emergency treatment. In the meantime, locate any access your pet may have had to the toxic substance and remove it from their reach. Familiarize yourself with toxic plants and substances in your house and surroundings to prevent any future incidents. Never induce vomiting unless instructed. Remember, early intervention can prevent severe illness or worse, so don't hesitate to seek help.

Contacting the Animal Poison Control Center

Always have the contact of your nearest Animal Poison Control Centre on hand. They are your best resource and can provide immediate emergency guidance tailored to your pet's specific situation.



Importance of Animal Poison Control in Ontario

Ontario, Canada is one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America with an abundance of flora and fauna resources. However, with this richness also comes the issue of illnesses caused by animal bites and stings. These incidents occur frequently, making it crucial to have access to animal poison control. Especially for those living in rural areas, quick consultation and access to data can be a lifesaver. The importance of animal poison control in Ontario cannot be understated. It is a vital resource that has developed over the years and is trusted by both professional veterinarians and pet owners. In the end, being prepared and educated on animal poison control can make all the difference between a happy and healthy life for our furry friends. Ensuring that there's effective poison control for animals isn't just essential—it's a lifesaver. Think of it as the ER for our furry buddies.


Finding the Right Animal Poison Control Center

Pet owners always have a lingering concern in the back of their minds about their furry friends accidentally ingesting something harmful, whether it be medication or exposure to toxic plants. In such cases, the best resource for assistance is a reliable pet poison control center. However, not all centers are created equal and it's important to develop a discerning eye when selecting one. The veterinarian on duty should be able to determine the correct course of treatment and/or medications for your pet's particular situation, as well as provide guidance on commonly found poisonous substances. Ultimately, a trustworthy animal poison control center can provide peace of mind in an emergency situation.

What to Look for in a Reliable Centre

Experience, accessibility, and timely support are crucial. It's like finding a trusted family doctor, but for your pets!

How to Reach Out in Case of Emergency

Most centres operate hotlines for emergencies. Make sure you have this number saved in your house.



Preventive Measures to Avoid Animal Poisoning

While it's essential to know what to do in emergencies, there are things people can do to avoid needing emergency veterinary attention in the first place. Read on to learn more.

Safe Storage of Hazardous Substances

Pet owners know that ensuring their furry companions stay healthy is a top priority. However, it's easy to forget that our house can be a dangerous place for pets. Preventative measures are necessary to avoid animal poisoning, particularly when it comes to safe storage of hazardous substances. We must take every possible step to reduce access and exposure to toxic and harmful substances in our house. This means making sure that all chemicals and plants are locked away securely, out of reach of curious little paws. While cats and dogs have different levels of susceptibilities towards poisonous substances, it's best to err on the side of caution when it comes to their safety. Developing good habits when it comes to storage of certain human foods, chemicals, and other potentially harmful substances is critical to keeping our pets healthy and free from potentially life-threatening concerns. Just like you'd keep harmful substances away from children, ensure they're out of your pets' reach as well.

Awareness and Training

As pet owners, it's important to be aware and take necessary precautions to prevent our animal friends from being poisoned. Access to information and knowing what could potentially harm our pets is crucial as certain foods and household items may be toxic to them. Data shows that humans tend to underestimate the severity of poisoning in pets, making it all the more important to educate ourselves on the subject. Training our pets to avoid certain items and being vigilant for any signs of poisoning can help prevent any accidents from occurring. Developing awareness and taking necessary steps to ensure our pets' safety is the least we can do for our loyal companions who bring us endless joy. Understanding potential threats and training your pets can play a massive role in prevention.


The Aftermath: Post-Poisoning Care and Support

Once the immediate crisis is over, post-poisoning veterinary care is crucial. This might involve follow up consultations, dietary changes, medications, or even emotional support for your beloved cat or dog.

Animal poison control in Ontario is about more than just immediate care. It's about prevention, awareness, and ensuring our furry friends lead safe, healthy lives. Like the old saying goes, "It's better to be safe than sorry.



Delving Deeper: Ontario’s Poisonous Flora and Fauna

Plants to Watch Out For

It's important to be aware of the potentially poisonous plants in Ontario Canada, especially if you have pets who may come into contact with them. Clinical signs of poisoning can occur very quickly after exposure, so it's crucial to know which plants are dangerous. Some common plants to watch out for include the autumn crocus, oleander, and certain lilies. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these plants, seeking immediate veterinary attention is essential. Treatment advice may include inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal to help absorb the toxins. Keep an eye out for signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, and twitching, and be sure to take swift action if you notice any concerning symptoms.Ontario is home to various native plants, and while they might beautify our surroundings, some can be harmful to our pets. Think your backyard is a safe haven? Maybe it's time for a little garden audit.

Wildlife Precautions

Beyond plants, Ontario’s rich wildlife can also present dangers. For instance, certain toads, when threatened, release toxins that can be harmful if our pets get a bit too curious. Black widow spiders, Massasauga rattlesnakes, and certain moth caterpillars can all be dangerous.



Collaborative Efforts in Poison Control

The collaborative efforts between veterinary professionals and poison control have significantly improved the handling of toxic exposure cases. The sharing of data and new information between these two groups has allowed for better diagnosis and treatment of animals in distress. This exchange of knowledge has made it possible for veterinarians to quickly identify and treat illnesses caused by exposure to harmful substances. As a result, animals are recovering more quickly and with fewer complications. Through this partnership, professionals in both fields are working together to ensure the best possible care for pets and animals in need.

Community Involvement

Community involvement is crucial in preventing animals from being poisoned. Determining the causes and effects of poisoning requires assistance from various individuals within the community. Consulting with local veterinarians can address concerns and provide valuable information on what to do in case of potential exposure. In addition, the best resource for treatment advice can also be found within the community, as some individuals may have experience with similar situations. Organizing and participating in events, such as awareness campaigns and workshops, can also help educate the community on how to prevent animal poisoning. Together, a united community effort can help provide a safe and healthy environment for animals. Organizing or participating in community awareness programs can go a long way. After all, wouldn't you want to be part of a community that looks out for its four-legged members?

The Role of Veterinarians

Veterinarians play an essential role in the health and well-being of our beloved pets. They are trained to determine the type of assistance needed and provide the best resources for treatment. Besides administering typical vaccines and treatments for common illnesses, they are equipped to advise owners on how to identify neurologic signs in their pets or the potential risks of exposure to certain hazards. Veterinarians may prescribe medications and provide useful strategies to manage chronic or acute health conditions. In complex situations, veterinarians may consult with specialists or other animal care professionals to deliver optimal care to the pets. Ultimately, owning a pet requires a lot more than just providing food and shelter, and veterinarians are the go-to professionals who ensure our pets are healthy and happy. Vets are not just there for regular check-ups. They play a pivotal role in poison control, offering both immediate treatments, follow up consultations, and providing resources for prevention. Ever consider your vet as your pet's superhero? Maybe it's time you did!



Stories from the Frontlines: Real-life Incidents

Every year, numerous pets in Ontario fall victim to accidental poisoning. These stories, though sometimes heartbreaking, offer valuable lessons. Take, for instance, Bella, the curious Golden Retriever who managed to get into a stash of chocolate Easter eggs. With swift action and proper treatment, Bella made a complete recovery, but her story serves as a reminder of the ever-present dangers.

Conclusion: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

While it's paramount to know how to react in emergencies, it's equally vital to ensure these situations are few and far between. By staying informed, vigilant, and proactive, we can create safer environments for our pets. After all, isn't our ultimate goal to give our furry friends the best lives possible?

Bonus Tips for Pet Owners

  1. Regular Home Audits: Every few months, take a walk around your home and identify potential hazards. You'd be surprised at what you might have missed!

  2. Stay Updated: New information about pet safety is always emerging. Subscribe to newsletters or follow trustworthy pet health platforms.

  3. Emergency Kit: Prepare a pet-specific first aid kit and keep it easily accessible. A well-prepared kit can be a game-changer in emergencies.

  4. Training Matters: Invest time in training your pets. Commands like "leave it" or "drop it" can prevent many potential dangers.

  5. Share Knowledge: Talk to fellow pet owners. Share what you know and learn from their experiences.



Quick Contact: Wildlife Care Facilities For Sick Wild Animals

  • City of Mississauga - Animal Services

  • Ontario Wildlife Rescue

    • Responsibility: Connects people who find injured or orphaned wild animals with rehabilitators.

    • More Info: Ontario Wildlife Rescue

  • - Find a Wildlife Rehabilitator

  • City of Brampton - Animal Services

    • Responsibility: Addresses wildlife issues within Brampton.

    • Contact: 905.458.5800, Animal Services Clerk, 475 Chrysler Drive, Brampton, Ontario L6S 6G3

    • More Info: Wildlife in the City - Animal Services



Pickering Takes the Lead: A Progressive Approach Rein In Curb Animal Poising

Pickering, a vibrant city in Ontario, has taken a groundbreaking step that may pave the way for many more cities to follow. On June 26, 2023, the City Council of Pickering unanimously endorsed the Animal Poisoning Prevention Policy, setting a precedent as the first Ontario city to proactively address the concerns raised by rodenticides.

The Rising Incidents of Poisoning

In recent years, a concerning spike in poisoning incidents has been observed in Pickering and the broader Durham region. This uptick is not merely a matter of numbers, but it brings along with it heart-rending tales of pain and loss. Janice Freund, a local resident, highlighted a disturbing statistic: Cavan Hills Veterinary Hospital witnesses an average of one rodenticide poisoning case per week. Additionally, Ontario's wildlife rehabilitation centers have reported an alarming increase in rodenticide toxicity cases, reaching high double digits annually.

The Hidden Victims of Rodenticides

What might initially seem like a measure to control rodent populations has broader, often overlooked implications. Rodenticides don't discriminate. Beyond their intended targets, they can adversely affect non-target species, including majestic owls and hawks, small migratory birds, beneficial earthworms, and even predators such as coyotes and cougars. More distressingly, children and beloved family pets are at risk.

Coun. Maurice Brenner, the moving force behind the policy, shared a deeply personal motivation. Earlier this year, he tragically lost his pet, Riley, a miniature Beagle, to rodenticide poisoning. The emotional torment of witnessing a pet succumb to such a harrowing fate is unimaginable, and Brenner’s story is a poignant testament to this.

Furthermore, personal accounts shared by residents like Allison Hansen emphasize the grim reality. Hansen recounted the agonizing death of their rescue dog due to liver failure, a consequence of rodenticide buildup, at the tender age of just six.

Rodenticides: A Counterproductive Solution?

Contrary to common belief, rodenticides might not be the panacea for rodent issues. As they permeate through the food chain, they erode our ecosystem. Even more concerning, they often don't provide a long-term solution to rodent problems. As Brenner pointed out, poisoned rats don't die instantly. They continue to move, leaving behind contaminated droppings and urine. The residual poison in their system can then affect predators like cats and dogs, sealing their unfortunate fate.

Forward Momentum: Towards a Safer Rodent Control Strategy

This policy marks a monumental shift towards safer and more humane rodent control measures. It restricts the use of rodenticides on city property, signalling Pickering's intent to explore alternative methods. This policy is not just a declaration but an invitation for others to join the movement. Pickering, Oshawa, and Ajax were highlighted in a 2021 listing by Orkin Canada as some of Ontario's "rattiest" cities, underlining the need for efficient rodent control.

The hope is that Pickering's decision will inspire others, encouraging Ontario and potentially other regions to reevaluate and update their rodent control policies, keeping the welfare of citizens, wildlife, and pets at the forefront.

Beyond Policy: Spreading Awareness

However, policies alone can't bring the desired change. The city is committed to leading by example. Collaborative efforts involving public awareness campaigns, joining forces with animal services, and educating residents about alternative rodent control methods are on the horizon.

In conclusion, while the challenge posed by rodent infestations is undeniable, the solution shouldn't come at the expense of our ecosystem or the well-being of innocent creatures. It's time for a change, and Pickering has boldly taken the first step.

Protecting Your Pet from Summer Hazards

Summer resonates with vibrant outdoor activities and quality time with our beloved pets. However, the season also brings potential dangers that every pet owner should be cautious about. Let's delve into the various summer threats and how we can ensure our pets remain safe and healthy.

Dangers of Mole and Gopher Baits

Mole and Gopher baits: Are they any less harmful than mouse and rat baits?

Pet owners should be aware of the potential dangers of mole and gopher baits. These baits are often lethally toxic when ingested by pets. Even a minimal amount can cause severe harm, including seizures and difficulty breathing. It is important to determine if your pet has ingested any of these baits immediately and seek assistance from a veterinarian. If you suspect that your pet has consumed these harmful baits, don't wait for symptoms to appear. Prompt action may save your pet's life. Keep an eye out for warning signs such as lethargy or shortness of breath and seek medical attention right away. Mole and gopher baits can be even more lethal than many rodenticides. Even minimal consumption can result in severe complications, and in certain cases, can be fatal.

Key Ingredients to Look Out For:

  • Zinc Phosphide: Typically found in pellet form, this ingredient can react with stomach acid to produce toxic phosphine gas. The symptoms can manifest rapidly, including:

    • Vomiting

    • Cardiovascular irregularities

    • Neurological symptoms

    • Respiratory complications

  • Bromethalin: Found in worm or grub-shaped baits, bromethalin is a potent neurotoxin. Consumption can lead to cerebral edema (brain swelling) and other neurological disturbances such as:

    • Mental disorientation

    • Incoordination

    • Tremors

    • Paralysis

    • Seizures

Treatment for Poisoning:

Immediate medical attention is paramount. Though no direct antidote exists for either zinc phosphide or bromethalin, immediate treatments may include inducing vomiting and the administration of activated charcoal to limit toxin absorption. Hospitalization for monitoring is often necessary.

The Risk of Snail and Slug Baits

Ingredients and Symptoms:

  • Metaldehyde: Consumption can result in severe tremors, seizures, and heightened body temperatures. Other signs include drooling, restlessness, and walking difficulties.

  • Iron-based Baits: Generally safer than metaldehyde, but excessive ingestion can lead to symptoms like vomiting blood, cardiovascular issues, and liver or kidney failure.


Immediate veterinary care is required. Intensive care, including treating seizures and maintaining body temperature, is crucial for recovery.



Importance of Keeping Your Compost Bin Pet-Proof

Decomposing organic matter can produce a toxin known as Penitrem A, which is detrimental to both humans and animals.

Symptoms of Moldy Food Poisoning:

  • Agitation

  • Elevated body temperature

  • Drooling

  • Vomiting

  • Tremors

  • Seizures


Inducing vomiting, followed by activated charcoal administration, can be beneficial. Veterinary supervision and intensive care are crucial, follow up consultations may be required as well.

Garden Plants: A Hidden Danger

Some human foods (common garden plants and produce) can pose threats to your pets:

  • Tomato Plants (Unripe Fruit): Can cause gastrointestinal irritation and weakness.

  • Rhubarb Leaves: May result in kidney failure in large quantities.

  • Onions and Garlic: Can cause red blood cell destruction and anemia.

  • Grapes or Raisins: Consumption can lead to acute kidney failure.

Immediate veterinary intervention is essential if any of these are ingested, or contact the pet poison helpline asap.

Wild Mushrooms: A Risky Delicacy

Though many mushrooms are harmless, several can be toxic, causing gastrointestinal issues, neurological abnormalities, or liver failure. Always seek veterinary attention if your pet consumes any wild mushroom.

The Concern with Mulch Consumption

Pets, especially dogs, might find mulch tempting to chew on. Cocoa bean mulch contains theobromine and caffeine, which in high doses can lead to symptoms like:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Agitation

  • Tremors

  • Elevated heart rate

  • Seizures

Immediate veterinary attention is required.

Summer Chemicals: What You Should Know

Various fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, commonly used during summer, can pose risks:

  • Fertilizers: Ingesting iron-containing fertilizers can cause severe health complications, while others can lead to gastrointestinal problems.

  • Herbicides: Typically cause mild gastrointestinal upset when used correctly.

  • Pesticides: Can induce vomiting, diarrhea, and in substantial amounts, result in neurological abnormalities.

Always contact a vet or Pet Poison Helpline if your pet comes in contact with any such chemicals.

Blue Green Algae: A Silent Threat

Blue green algae, found in stagnant water bodies, can produce toxins harmful to your pet's central nervous system, skin, and liver. Clinical signs occur rapidly, including gastrointestinal issues, skin rashes, tremors, seizures, and difficulty breathing. Consult treatment advice for your dog immediately. In summary, avoid letting your pet near bodies of water with visible algal blooms.

In Conclusion:

Pet Poison Helpline provides 24/7 assistance. For concerns, reach them at 800-213-6680 or visit



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What are the most common toxins for pets in Ontario? A range of items from certain plants, foods like chocolate, to household cleaners can be

  • How quickly should I react if I suspect my pet has ingested something poisonous? Time is of the essence. If you have a potentially poisoned pet get assistance right away. Contact the Animal Poison Control Center immediately and follow their guidance and treatment advice..

  • Can I induce vomiting in my pet if I think they've consumed something toxic? Do not induce vomiting unless explicitly advised by a veterinary professional.

  • How can I prevent my pet from getting poisoned? Store hazardous substances out of reach, train your pet, and create awareness about potential threats.

  • Are there specific Animal Poison Control Centres in Ontario? Yes, there are specialized centres in Ontario. It's advisable to have the pet poison helpline contact details handy.


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