On the rare occasions when dogs come into contact with toxic baits, through ingesting baits or scavenging poisoned carcases, the outcome is usually fatal. While canine deaths are usually the result of unauthorised access to an area, fatalities are treated seriously, and all our operational practices are reviewed. Most reported dog deaths occur after eating poisoned carcases, not bait. Dogs tend to roam so they are at greater risk of 1080 poisoning than other domestic animals. Dogs don’t recognise boundaries and are scavengers, so any animal carcase lying around is a potential target.
Preventing dogs from exposure to 1080 poison is the most effective way of avoiding a problem. If dogs do ingest 1080 poison through roaming or scavenging, the symptoms of exposure may appear within 30 minutes or as much as several hours later. Dogs may display changes in behaviour – disorientation, restlessness or hyperactivity. A poisoned dog may run in circles, bark or howl without apparent reason, or be sensitive to touch. It may also become aggressive.
If you suspect a dog has chewed or eaten part of a poisoned carcass, make the dog vomit immediately. The most reliable method is to put one or two crystals of washing soda (available from supermarkets) down the dog’s throat. Alternatively, you can use emetic pills, available from poisoning contractors, or use half a teaspoon of salt thrown on the back of the dog’s tongue. You must take the animal to the nearest vet as soon as possible. Phone ahead to tell you're on the way and explain the problem. Treatment is symptomatic, can be expensive and may not be successful. Death can occur within 2 to 12 hours after ingestion of the poison. Dogs can be saved if early action is taken, but there's no antidote for 1080. Further help can be sought from the National Poisons Centre 24-hour emergency service on 0800 764 766.
Avoiding the risk of your dog being exposed to 1080 is the best way to keep them safe.