By Allen St. John for

It turns out that Tessie, my golden retriever, likes brownies. Which are poisonous for dogs. Fortunately, she lived to tell about it.

When we found her with her face in a pan of Ghirardelli double chocolate brownies yesterday evening, we knew what to do: Call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.

Here’s the number: (888) 426-4435

(Enter it into your cell. Right now.)

  • Tessie’s weight, age, sex, breed
  • What she ate, how much, and when
  • Her symptoms
  • Information from the package of the poison if possible.

Armed with this info, a vet walked us through the procedure for inducing vomiting. (Which is only indicated for certain kinds of poisons.) Fortunately, Tessie was lucky. She didn’t eat that much, we called immediately, and she’s young and in good health, so today’s she’s none the worse for the experience. And it was well worth the $65 consultation fee.

If the incident had been more serious, we would have been instructed to take Tessie to our vet or to an emergency vet clinic. (Search for your nearest emergency vet right now and enter that number in your cell and add it to your household emergency numbers.) Even if the dog is sick enough that a trip to the vet is clearly necessary, a call to the Poison Control Center can be a lifesaver because they’ve got Antox, a database with over a million animal exposure case histories. So if it’s an unusual–or unknown–poison, the database can help the vet identify the poison quickly and accurately and zero in on the best treatment. (If you do take a dog to the vet, remember to bring anything that’s left from the suspected poison, including the packaging or the plant, as well as any thing the dog may have vomited or defecated.)

Of course most of the substances  that are poisonous to humans are also harmul to dogs but here are a few items—like the brownies–that are delicious for people but potentially poisonous to a dog.


  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Gum
  • Onions, Chives, Garlic
  • Salt

In addition to a fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide, here’s a link to a few things that should be in every pet owner’s medicine cabinet.


16 responses to “Puppy poison control: the phone number that could save you dog’s life”

  1. Briana says:

    my stepsons 8 month old puppy has been doing fine (aggressive) yet fine. well, early today she started foaming at the mouth. i put her down some water. picked her up, she wasn’t aggressive. we love her dearly and we are very worried about her. we sprayed the house with bug spray about a week ago. she wasn’t here, nor were the kids. all of a sudden, she starts foaming. could she have found a dead roach killed by he poison?

  2. carlla says:

    Our 21/2 year old dog ate philodendron leaves & some of the potting soil. After giving him milk he threw it up but all nite has continued to pace & gag but has not thrown anything else up. I just let him out & he is again eating dirt. He has been salivating a great deal. I gave him a little more milk and some food which so far he has kept down. I sprayed a few specific weeds in our yard but he was not by them until after they dried and as far as I know he did not eat any of them. Could he somehow have been poisoned?

  3. jean says:

    irish setter ate a bottle of lylsine vomting acks ok

  4. Stefani Feste says:

    My 13 pound year old terrier mix just ate some Irish Spring bar soap. He has thrown up quite a bit, but is also drinking water. He is tired and sleepy and I can tell he doesn’t feel well, but he is still responsive and gets excited when you take his leash out. My vet wants to charge me over $70 for an appointment and is telling me that my dog is going to die. However, this hospital has a history of making a ridiculous amount of money on their clients. I’m worried, but he seems just fine, if a little tired. Should I rush him to the vet?

  5. Matt Hoskins says:

    my dog is acting drunk and drooling alot, acts like his rear legs are hurt and is barely moving or breathing. my other dog is ALWAYS at home and has disappeared. The neighbors dog has the exact same symptoms and all of this happened within the course of a day. they are outside dogs so i didnt realize something was wrong until tonight when i fed them. I suspect that they were all poisoned as the other dogs in the neighbor hood werent affected and are chained/pinned up. i have no idea who would have done this and i am wondering how i should go about this.

    • We are so sorry to hear about this. Of course, taking them to the vet immediately is the first step and, if the vet confirms the poisoning, report it to the authorities (police). They will track if it is happening anywhere else. I hope the dogs improve.

  6. Tamara says:

    My dog has been drooling excessively and sometimes when she eats she coughs and gags. She stepped in some antifreeze yesterday and I thought I washed her paws off real good, but later I caught her licking her paws. I gave her some milk and she drank it all and it seemed to help a little bit. Any recommendations on what to do?

  7. Your site has very well-researched info and my wife and I have tweeted this out… Thanks for letting us share it!

  8. Brenda says:

    Did you commit to the $65 fee before or after help was given??? Myself, I think it’s unconscionable to withhold life saving information unless you have the means to cough up their fee!

  9. blancagamboa says:

    My fourteen week old puppy may have eaten 8 sintroyd (thyroid medicine) pills. He is acting normal playing running eating drinking

  10. Jesse says:

    My American bulldog pup has pulled a pot plant off the tray and ate some potting mix what should I do?

  11. Andrea says:

    My puppy chewed on a little bit of soap, I guess she didn’t like the taste and stopped but I can see visible teeth marks in the soap and pieces off so I know she ate it. As soon as I noticed I grabbed a dropper and began to give her water. She has been burping and not too long ago spit up and it was all white, should i continue to watch her and give her water or is this very serious?

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