Last week, I came home to find a puddle of dog mess in my house. I have two dogs, both lab mixes. My black lab, Otis, is about 13 years old, while his new little sister, Honey, just celebrated her second birthday. Up until this moment last week, neither dog had ever had an accident in the house.  


Not to be gross, but this wasn't just your average dog mess; It was diarrhea. And vomit. After cleaning up the mess and putting both dogs outside for a while, I was able to determine that the culprit was Otis. Due to his advanced age, I assumed that the benign tumor that had been growing on his side was maybe not so benign anymore. I decided to keep an eye on him and put off calling the vet for fear that they might give me some really bad news.  


Otis was sick for two days. I made sure he had plenty of fluids and gave him very bland food to eat — although he really didn't touch it. My husband and I talked about it and decided it was time to call the vet. And that's when Honey got sick.  


Now I was really confused. To make a long story short(ish), my best guess is that my dogs got a hold of something in the yard that made them both violently ill. If you have dogs, you know that they can eat a lot of nasty stuff with no ill effects, so I'm guessing this was something pretty bad. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently has a cautionary warning posted about tainted chicken jerky treats imported from China.  The site notes that the treats have been linked to the following symptoms:


"The signs that may be associated with chicken jerky products include decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. These signs may occur within hours to days of feeding the products.


Those are my dogs' exact symptoms. I didn't give them any of these treats, but I live in a small town and it is not uncommon to see folks tossing a dog bone or other treat into the yard as they walk by.


We got really lucky in that both of my dogs recovered from their illness within a few days, but now I know that if something like that should happen again, I need to get them in to see the vet, pronto. If your pet experiences any of these symptoms, you need to call your vet ASAP. If possible, bring a long a stool sample or — if you know what they ingested — a sample of the poison.


The ASPCA recommends putting together an emergency first-aid kit for your pet that you can use quickly after you talk to your vet. The kit should contain:


  • A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent USP (to induce vomiting)
  • A turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe (to administer peroxide)
  • Saline eye solution
  • Artificial tear gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)
  • Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid (for bathing an animal after skin contamination)
  • Forceps (to remove stingers)
  • A muzzle (to protect against fear- or excitement-induced biting)
  • A can of your pet's favorite wet food
  • A pet carrier

Hopefully, my dogs will never have to go through that again, but if they do, I will be prepared.


Related pet stories on MNN:

What to do if your pet is poisoned
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