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Lead Poisoning in Dogs: Know the Signs

Lead Poisoning in Dogs: Know the Signs

Lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal found in the earth’s crust. Although it can be beneficial at times, it can also be toxic to humans and animals. Dogs can be poisoned by lead exposure and it’s quite harmful to their body systems. 

It’s important to know the potential sources of lead exposure and how to recognize the signs of lead poisoning in your dog. 


Lead can be found in all parts of the environment like soil, air, water, and lead-based paint. But when it comes to our pets, exposure to lead is most likely due to their immediate environment. Exposure could be attributed to past lead use in paint in older homes, contaminated water, soil, or dust. 

Lead may also be released into the air from industrial worksite sources. Once this happens, lead dust travels and eventually settles into the soil. There is an increased risk that lead may move to the ground water in these situations. 

Fortunately, federal and state regulations help to reduce the amount of lead that people are exposed to in soil, water, air, and especially consumer products like make-up and toys marketed to children. 

Despite the government’s attempts to regulate lead exposure, dogs living in poor conditions, older homes, or near old industrial worksites are vulnerable to toxic exposure to lead. 


Lead poisoning (toxicity) is a condition in which lead is absorbed by the body, into the bloodstream, and distributed to the brain and other vital organs like the kidneys. It is stored in bones, blood, and other tissues in both animals and humans. 

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA), there are signs to look out for if you notice a change of behavior in your dog. 

Acute Signs:


 abdominal pain

 behavior changes




 intermittent seizures

Chronic Signs:

abdominal discomfort





 weight loss


intermittent seizures

 megaesophagus (enlarged esophagus) 


If you suspect your dog has been exposed to toxic levels of lead, start by keeping a thorough list of his symptoms and any changes in behavior. Then, list all the possible causes of exposure (house renovations, peeling paint on the outside of the house, drinking water, etc.). Once you’ve gathered pertinent information, contact a veterinarian for a complete physical examination and blood work. 

lead poisoning in dogsA veterinarian will determine the best course of action for your pet, but you will want to identify the source of lead to prevent future exposure. The best way to protect yourself, your family, and your pets is to have a lead-risk assessment or lead paint inspection performed on your property.

To learn more about how you can identify sources of lead and protect your furry family members, contact AMD Environmental. We can help.