03 Feb PUFFERFISH AND DOGS
During summer months, the Animal Poisons Helpline is frequently contacted about dogs that have chewed on or ingested beached pufferfish. Pufferfish (also known as toadfish, blowfish or simply blowies) can be found in waters all around Australia and New Zealand. Dogs are often attracted to beached puffer fish and will sometimes curiously pick them up in their mouths before owners can stop them.
Most pufferfish are poisonous, containing an extremely potent neurotoxin in their organs and skin. Following ingestions, it is common for animals to regurgitate recognisable fish. This can then be followed by a rapid onset of weakness or even paralysis which typically begins in the back legs and progresses forward to the breathing muscles. Ingestions can be life threatening and if your pet has ingested a pufferfish, they require urgent veterinary attention.
Whilst on the beach, always observe your pets and do not allow them to approach any washed-up fish. To the fishing enthusiasts, please immediately return any pufferfish that are caught to the water rather than leaving them behind where dogs may eat them. Help us prevent pet poisonings by sharing this post with any dog owning friends or family.
The Animal Poisons Helpline provides free advice to pet owners in Australia and New Zealand and can be reached on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ). If you are a member of a veterinary team in Australia or New Zealand, you can join the Animal Poisons Centre For Vets Facebook group which is regularly updated with toxicology tidbits and poisoning trends. We thank the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development for supporting this post.