Lead Poisoning in Dogs

Lead poisoning in dogs is often lethal and occurs when the dog’s blood contains a high concentration of lead, which cannot be assimilated by the liver. Lead may be found in various products including in house paint, batteries and even dishes that are not varnished. If detected in the early stages, lead poisoning may not be fatal, so watch out for your pet’s symptoms.

Where Lead Is Found

Lead may be present in everyday items and the dog can ingest these items. Lead will build up in the dog’s system and in time, his liver won’t be able to cope with the high amount of toxic materials, leading to liver failure and death.

You should be aware of the possible items that may contain lead:

  • Some house paints (the label should specify if there is lead in the composition)
  • Batteries, which may contain acid that can have lead as one of the ingredients
  • Plumbing and roofing items (ask a specialist)
  • Lead foil (may be found in certain isolation systems)
  • Toys made of metal (especially older toys may contain lead)
  • Water and food bowls that are made of ceramic materials and are not varnished

You may have some of these materials in your home and your pet may accidentally chew on these or even ingest some objects that contain lead.

If you suspect there are certain lead containing items in your home, you should consult a specialist and possibly replace these (i.e. paint or plumbing items) or hide certain lead containing objects in a room that the dog doesn’t have access to.

Signs of Canine Lead Poisoning

The lead can build up in the dog’s system and in the initial stages, your dog may display only subtle symptoms such as lack of appetite or bad breath. However, these symptoms may not be noticed.

The amount of lead necessary for poisoning may vary according to the size of the pet and the health of his liver.

If your dog suffers from lead poisoning, he will display some signs such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Spasms of the muscles
  • Sudden collapse
  • Seizures

These signs occur also when the dog has ingested other types of toxic materials.

The dog should be taken to the vet immediately. The vet can establish if the dog has lead poisoning; a urine or blood test can be sufficient for a clear diagnosis.

Treatment for Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning can be treated by removing all the toxins from the pet’s body. Chelation treatment will be necessary to make sure the dog will be healthy again.

If the poisoning is not detected early enough, the dog may suffer permanent damage to the central nervous system or even die.

It’s important to be able to keep the dog away from lead containing items. Lead may also be toxic for humans (i.e. when ingested), so it’s best if you are cautious and keep safe.