Do you know which pet poisonsare lurking in your home? Each year, thousands of pets accidentally ingest dangerous but common household items. Onions, grapes, gardening mulch…the culprits are surprising! In honor of National Poison Awareness Month, we’re holding a live Twitter chat with Dr. Tina Wismer, Medical Director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. She’ll be on hand March 27 at 2:00 P.M (EST) to answer all your questions about protecting pets from harmful substances.
We’ll also test your pet poison knowledge with a few trivia questions. Three guests will receive ASPCA swag bags—and one grand-prize winner will receive an Emergency Ready Deluxe Pet First Aid Kit! All participating guests will receive a FREE pet coupon code for 15% off all ASPCA First Aid and responder kits.
In 2012, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Illinois, handled more than 180,000 cases about pets possibly exposed to poisonous substances—and some breeds seemed to make up a lot more of those calls than others.
Nearly 14,000 of APCC’s 2012 calls were from worried pet parents of Labradors. Domestic shorthair cats were involved in approximately 10,000 cases (the second-most popular breed involved in APCC calls). Mixed-breed dogs (8,000 cases), Chihuahuas (4,833 cases), Golden Retrievers (4,819 cases) and Yorkshire Terriers (3,800 cases) rounded out the top six.
No matter what kind of pets they had, thousands of pet parents called us about the same products last year. Here were the top five poisons that caused pet parents to call APCC for help in 2012:
1. Prescription Human Medications
APCC handled 25,000 cases regarding human prescription medications in 2012. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to were: heart medications (blood pressure pills), antidepressants and pain medications (opioids and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
While just 11% of all calls to the APCC are about insecticides, more than 50% of the calls to APCC involving cats pertain to felines exposed to insecticides.
3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications
This group contains acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen as well as herbal and nutraceutical products (fish oil, joint supplements).
4. Veterinary Products and Medications
Veterinary products made up nearly 6% of APCC’s case volume for 2012. Both OTC and prescription veterinary products are included in this group. Watch out for flavored tablets!
5. Household Products
APCC fielded more than 10,000 calls about household products in 2012. Household toxins can range from fire logs to cleaning products.
Can you believe it’s December already? Candy canes, twinkly lights and bow-topped gifts abound. But before we bring out the eggnog, it’s high time we clear the air about one type of holiday décor that has gotten a pretty bad rap: the poinsettia.
Believe it or not, pet parents, these festive plants are not the deadly flowers legend has made them out to be. The myth of the plant’s toxicity actually began in the early part of the 20th century, after the two-year-old child of a U.S. Army officer allegedly died from consuming a poinsettia leaf. As a result of this rumor, the plant has never lived down its poisonous reputation.
Okay, so you still don’t necessarily want your pets to eat them. Because consuming poinsettias may cause mild gastrointestinal irritation, keeping these plants out of pets’ reach is still a good idea. But there’s no need to banish them altogether.
So, what do you say? Let’s give this plant a break—I hear they make quite the centerpiece.
Fall marks the time of year when trees begin to drop their fruit and leaves. In general, this is a good thing, right? But pet parents should be aware that certain tree fruits can be deadly to dogs.
One fruit in particular–the Chinaberry tree (Latin Melia)—is valued for its high quality lumber. Native to Asia, this tree was introduced in the United States around 1830 as an ornamental, but today has become invasive in many areas. As the tree’s marble-sized fruits mature and drop to the ground, dogs sometimes eat and play with them. Natural, poisonous molecules in the fruit can cause severe digestive upset in dogs, often with stomach cramping, bloody vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Seizures can occur in more serious cases, and death can result. We see this problem in dogs every autumn across the United States.
And horse lovers, we need to isolate our noble friends from red maple (L. Acer rubrum) trees. As red maple leaves begin to change colors and wilt, a deadly poison begins to develop. If eaten by a horse, the leaf can cause severe illness and even death. The poison in the wilted leaf has not yet been identified, but it makes its way into the bloodstream where it attacks red blood cells. Once enough destruction of red blood cells has occurred, a horse cannot get enough oxygen to the brain and other vital tissues. Poisoned horses can die if not treated in time by a veterinarian.