8 lb dog swallowed magnesium tablet - what to do?
January 27, 2008 7:19 PM   Subscribe

My 8 lb dog just swallowed a 200 mg chelated magnesium tablet (67% as magnesium amino acid chelate, 33% as magnesium oxide.) Should I rush him to the emergency vet or just wait and see what happens? Thanks very much.
posted by Tullyogallaghan to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
this site seems to indicate that excess magnesium causes diarrhea and gas, in dogs. but eight pounds is a pretty small dog.
posted by wreckingball at 7:26 PM on January 27, 2008

You can induce vomiting if you act quickly. If you can get a shot of peroxide down him, he will probably produce the pill.
posted by acorncup at 7:27 PM on January 27, 2008

you might try either calling the vet hospital or your poison control hotline. they may just instruct you on how to give him something to make him puke.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:27 PM on January 27, 2008

Says here a dog needs 28g/kg of dry food daily. Your dog weighs about 3.6 kg, so he needs about 100 g of food daily.

Says here that "Dogs and cats can commonly consume diets that are up to 0.2 percent magnesium - well above their requirement."

Now 0.2 percent of 100g is 0.2 grams, or 200 mg. So this seems to suggest that dogs can sustain the magnesium intake that your dog just dosed himself with, on a long term daily basis, without ill effect.

The caveat, of course, is that all this information is straight off the Internet, and I have no idea whether it's true or not. A veterinarian could tell you better, of course.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:30 PM on January 27, 2008

The emergency vet should be able to answer this question on the phone for free.
posted by winston at 7:33 PM on January 27, 2008

Peroxide will induce him to give the pill back. Administer by spooning it into the back of his mouth and wait a bit between spoonfulls as it isn't instant.

Recent experience tells us that 4 large table-spoonfulls of peroxide makes a lab puke within 5 minutes so probably 1-2 teaspoons will work for your guy.
posted by fshgrl at 7:50 PM on January 27, 2008

Call your local emergency vet first. They'll be able to tell you whether you should induce vomiting and if so, how much hydrogen peroxide to use for that weight. There are some things that you aren't supposed to induce vomiting for. Good luck.
posted by Tehanu at 8:04 PM on January 27, 2008

If you are in the US, call the ASPCA's poison control hotline - 888.426.4435. The call costs about $50, so have your credit card handy. It is probably what they would tell you to do if you call an emergency hospital. I know, because I'm working at a veterinary emergency hospital right now.

They have toxicologists on staff, and can tell you exactly what a toxic dose for your pet is, and what you should do. If they tell you to go to the hospital, be sure to jot down the case number they give you, as it will enable the vet to contact their experts directly.

Don't induce vomiting without talking to them (or a vet). Tehanu is right that there are some things that are made worse by inducing vomiting.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:10 PM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Take to the vet. You can't go wrong.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:28 PM on January 27, 2008

Vet-- please update! I want to know how he does.
posted by oflinkey at 9:20 PM on January 27, 2008

I'll second the poison control suggestion, but I'd tell you to try calling your local poison control hotline first--they're usually pretty good at knowing what do to about animals eating things they normally shouldn't. Saved me a lot of anxiety the times I've tried them.

And yes, do update this.
posted by phaded at 9:39 PM on January 27, 2008

Response by poster: We called an emergency vet who referred us to the ASPCA pet poison hot line. The vet there told us not to worry as the Mg intake was well within limits for his size. She seemed to think that the worst outcome would be that he might vomit or become nauseous, but so far nothing untoward has happened and he seems none the worse for wear.
Thanks for all the helpful advice. The hot line vet was very helpful.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 11:23 PM on January 27, 2008

Wonderful to hear. Glad your dog is alright.
posted by phaded at 8:27 AM on January 28, 2008

Glad to hear everything is OK. The ASPCA call is expensive, but it is cheaper than an ER visit (if they tell you not to go) and if they do tell you to go, $50 is the least of your worries. For all but your most common toxins (chocolate, NSAIDs, antifreeze) the vets at your local ER are probably just flipping though textbooks or websites to see what a toxic dose is, so it is well worth it to talk to an expert.

If you are a pet owner you should have their number posted in a prominent location -- sometimes 5 minutes can make the difference between induce vomiting at home and head to the ER for stomach pumping and several days of hospital stay.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:17 AM on January 28, 2008

If you are a pet owner you should have their number posted in a prominent location -

The ASPCA offers a free refrigerator magnet with the Poison Control Center phone number.
posted by Robert Angelo at 11:52 AM on January 28, 2008

for similar future questions, there's an easy way to figure out what to do. Replace "my dog" with "my child", now what would you do? Would you post a request to an online board and wait for an answer or would you at least call poison control and/or an emergency room?
posted by Spoonman at 7:21 AM on January 29, 2008

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