Activated charcoal has the quality of being able to absorb and therefore, bind, toxins found in the gastrointestinal tract. For this reason, it is often given to dogs that have been poisoned, dogs that have been given a drug overdose or simply, dogs that may have accidentally ingested toxins.
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Activated charcoal presents in various forms such as powders, granules or 5g compressed activated charcoal tablets commonly found in most pharmacies. It sometimes comes in a liquid form along with sorbitrol in order to to increase its transit time in the gastrointestinal tract.
The easiest way to administer charcoal according to the book '' Dog Owner's Veterinary Handbook,'' is by using activated charcoal compressed tablets. The dosage is one 5g compressed tablet for 10 lbs. of weight. However, it is best to consult with a veterinarian in order to determine the most effective dose and the frequency of administration.
To avoid choking or aspiration pneumonia, activated charcoal should be administered carefully and never to unconscious pets or pets that do not have the ability to swallow. Activated charcoal may at times cause constipation, diarrhea and vomiting.
Activated charcoal will not work for all cases of exposure to toxins, therefore it is best to consult with a veterinarian or poison control. For instance, activated charcoal should not be used in case the dog ingested a caustic substance.
While activated charcoal may work well for several cases of poisoning, it is not a cure all. Often, therefore, dogs may still require immediate supportive and symptomatic care from a veterinarian.