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Can a Dog Get Mercury Poisoning? Symptoms & What to Do

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Cute and beautiful beagle dog lying on the exam table at the veterinarian. Two vets examining a sick and scared pet with a stethoscope

Can a Dog Get Mercury Poisoning? Symptoms & What to Do

VET APPROVED

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REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There are many chemicals out there that can lead to health issues with your pet, and you can often find these dangerous chemicals in surprising and unsuspecting places.

That’s why we want to highlight one of those dangerous chemicals here: mercury. It’s a chemical that’s dangerous to both humans and animals, and it might surprise you how many places it can be found.

A dog can certainly get mercury poisoning, and it’s more likely and common than you might think.

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How Can a Dog Get Mercury Poisoning?

Now that you know a dog can get mercury poisoning, it’s time to dive into how. There are a few different ways that this harmful chemical can get into your dog’s system.

The first way is that your dog ingests something with mercury in it or if you accidentally break something with mercury near or on your pet. Common things that have mercury include certain paints, fluorescent light bulbs, certain batteries, glass thermometers, and even light-up kid shoes. Perhaps the most common thing that your dog will get into is the light-up shoes, and those are something that most people don’t think of having mercury.

Another way that your dog can get too much mercury is if you’re feeding them large amounts of tuna. Tuna has a high mercury content, and while a small amount of tuna won’t hurt them, if they eat it in large quantities, it can lead to problems.

Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning in Dogs

It’s important to know what to keep an eye out for when it comes to your dog’s health. According to the American Kennel Club, here are a few of the most common symptoms that a dog can exhibit when experiencing mercury poisoning.

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Hair loss
  • Blindness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting blood
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Kidney damage
hungarian vizsla dog poops in the green park
Image By: SasaStock, Shutterstock

What to Do If Your Dog Has Mercury Poisoning

If you suspect that your dog has mercury poisoning or if your dog was around mercury, we highly recommend taking them to a vet as soon as possible to ensure that they get the treatment that they need.

We also recommend immediately calling the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Don’t wait until symptoms present or worsen, as the damage is sometimes irreversible. Get them treatment as soon as possible.

What to Do If Your Pet Was Near Spilled Mercury

Sometimes despite all our best efforts, something happens and your pet ends up near mercury. It’s important to note that some of the most harmful side effects of mercury poisoning in dogs come from the vapors.

Therefore, you need to do everything in your power to clean off your pet as soon as possible (while keeping yourself safe).

Start by washing your dog’s feet before moving on to washing their fur. Once you finish getting all the mercury off, contact their vet and the poison control hotline to ensure that your dog gets the treatment that they need.

You should also thoroughly wash and clean anything else the mercury contacted and any areas your pet contacted after the mercury exposure. For additional information on cleaning up mercury follow the EPA advice.

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Image by: Kozak_studio, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Mercury poisoning is a big deal, so you need to know the symptoms, causes, and likelihood of it affecting your dog. The good news is now that you have a little background knowledge on where you can find mercury in your home and around your pet, so you can start taking the necessary precautions to help keep your pet safe.

If you suspect that your dog has mercury poisoning, please get them the help that they need as soon as possible by contacting ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 and by reaching out to your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

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Featured Image Credit: Beach Creatives, Shutterstock

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