What’s Poisoning Our Pets: The Top Pet Toxins of 2012

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 12:45pm
White and grey puppy

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).

2. Insecticides

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.

For numbers six through 10, check out the full list of the top poisons of 2012.

And remember: If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

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am animal advocate

Amanda LeBlanc

Go Vegan, Go Natural.


Only they charge you $65 dollars to give you information about what your pet has eaten!!! And in this economy it really sucks! Some people can't afford a $65 phone call. There should be a way to make a smaller donation it just seems wrong to with hold life saving information


I want to benefit from the poison quiz But do NOT want to sign onto Facebook. I don't like their privacy policy. Please consider putting the quiz on your blog.

Patrick Oliver

Protect your pets!

Linda Milfred

I agree with the previous comment about the poison quiz. I'd like to participate but do not want to sign up for Facebook to do so. Privacy is not their strong point.

Helen Reilly

Our cat Chesty was poisoned by Hartz Mountain flea medication - the kind you apply to the neck. He almost died. The vet did a great job of caring for him, and he recovered. The vet said he'd treated a number of such poisoning cases.


How sad. Maybe Obama can devise another tax on us all so everyone can afford to have a pet whether they can afford it or not. Just like his free cell phones, medical care, and anything else to snare a vote.


Wow. You actually managed to turn this thread into a Obama slam. Congrats. You're officially a crazy person. Most likely a racist, uneducated red-neck too. Go back to watching Fox news and get off the internet psycho.

Shannon Roger

Leave politics out of this, $65 IS pricey. Also, the free phones to which you are referring were actually started by Ronald Reagan. Knowledge is your friend.