Activated charcoal can help dogs with poisoning

The success or lack of success of activated charcoal use is the time that elapses between intoxication and product use (Photo: Pexels/Alejandro Mendoza/CreativeCommons)

Have you ever heard of activated charcoal? A quick search on the Internet is enough to discover that the substance can be an important ally in cases of dog poisoning. However, the success of use depends on some variables.

The veterinarian explains that “Activated charcoal is a form of pure carbon, obtained from burning some wood or cork, to become a porous substance in the form of a powder, capable of treating cases of poisoning and poisoning.” Fernando PintoProfessor of Veterinary Medicine at Anhembi Morumbi University.

According to Fernando, the product is particularly suitable when there are cases of ingestion of toxins and toxins, which include rodenticides (insecticides), pyrethroids (insecticides), organochlorines (used in some pesticides), organophosphorus (used in pesticides) and carbamates (Carbamate), in these cases, the absorption of toxins can be reduced by up to 75%. However, if poisoning occurs with substances such as acids and ethanol, the effectiveness is not high.

Another factor that may indicate the success or failure of activated charcoal use is the time elapsed between intoxication and use of the product. The vet assures that “the longer the time between poisoning and the administration of activated charcoal, the more toxins will actually be absorbed.” Camila Oliveira MendesCoordinator of hospitalization in the intensive care unit of a network of veterinary hospitals.

How it works?

Most often, activated charcoal is sold in a sachet in the form of a powder, which, according to the package insert, must be diluted in water, and taken orally.

Because it is porous in the dog’s body, it sticks to the poison and helps in the secretion of the substance responsible for the poisoning. “It is this sticking that will prevent substances from entering the intestinal wall and symptoms that can be fatal in some cases,” Camila explains.

According to specialists, activated charcoal can cause some adverse reactions in pets, such as dark stools and constipation. In addition, it can temporarily make it difficult for some medications to work.

“In general, it has no contraindications, since it does not have systemic absorption. However, it should be noted that due to its effect, it also prevents the absorption of nutrients and drugs, so it is impossible to provide food or any medicine used by the dog in advance, as there will be a therapeutic failure” , says Camila.

It is contraindicated to induce vomiting, offer milk, tea or allow a dog to eat grass when poisoning is suspected (Photo: Pixabay/Markéta Machová/CreativeCommons)

It is contraindicated to induce vomiting, offer milk, tea or allow a dog to eat grass when poisoning is suspected (Photo: Pixabay/Markéta Machová/CreativeCommons)


Specialists warn that the most common cases of dog poisoning include rat poisons, cleaning products and some foods that are toxic to the species, such as chocolate.

Most often, the animal usually suffers from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe drooling, bleeding, and nervous signs, according to the substance, such as tremors and lethargy.

“Unfortunately, symptoms are nonspecific and start quickly,” warns Camilla, who draws attention to the fact that activated charcoal is only a first step and does not excuse the owner from quickly taking the animal to the vet.

“You can give a first dose of the active ingredient as soon as possible, to buy time until you get an appointment with the vet. In addition, it is forbidden to use it to induce vomiting, give milk, or tea, or allow an animal to eat grass, which is usual behavior when They feel nauseous.

Fernando agrees and continues: “It is worth noting that the master must avoid any kind of dog contact with toxic agents, and there is no insurance on any amount ingested. Treatment is not based solely on activated charcoal. Antidote and other medications are essential to the success of the treatment and the maintenance of the animal’s health. In If in doubt, take the animal immediately to veterinary care, as each case requires specific treatment and time is on our side.”

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