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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Jagdish Mittal

We must take extra precautions to save our beloved pets from poisonous materials present in our houses


I'm a bit surprised that fish oil would be on the toxin 7yr old Lab/Catahoula is approx 100 lbs...she was born with shallow hip joints and has shown early signs of displasia, so our vet has her on glucosamine and fish oil every day. I imagine that eating a whole bottle of fish oil capsules would definitely make a dog sick, but one a day? We take the same thing ourselves, so it's part of our "pack of three" nightly "dinner med" routine.


The $65 call can be free. Sometimes the manufacturer of the product will pay the cost of the call for u. I called about pesticide ingestion & all I had to do was provide the product name & lot number. I didn't have to pay the fee...


I'm sorry, but I'm not going to sit here and watch stupidity get the best of everybody. I own 3 dogs; a boxer, an American bulldog, and a 165 lb labrador. I am Republican. I don't get into politics with people. I take excellent care of my animals. I can't afford to pay $65 to call the animal poison control line.. I have a veterinary Dr who will answer questions regarding poisoning worries regarding my animals, though. I find it appalling to see people act like this. When I am in an urgent care situation, the emergency room doesn't make me pay for their services up front for a reason; medical care is pricey!

Tina Richardson

%65 is rather pricey and I think they could reduce this or we could call a vet...however, I totally agree with this statement only from the standpoint of some people really can't afford the vet or proper food. A pet does require responsibility just as a child does. I hear people all the time say they can't afford spay/ you can afford puppies or kittens??? No! Then we have more pets being taken to the shelter or abandoned or shelter animals die because these kind of people that can't afford to be responsible and they give the puppies or kittens away to people who could be adopting and saving a life. does take money to be responsible and there is a point when either you can do it or not. Granted some of these people CAN afford it but just refuse to do it and others make the necessary sacrifices to be responsible but I think there is a point when someone needs to say I just can't afford to take care of a little one right now. Yes though I think you need to plan for emergencies too. If you have a kid eat poison would you be the same way and make "improvises" or say you can't afford it? You need to be able to handle normal visits as well as emergencies that come up.


not a word about lilly and plams?

kelly b.

What really surprised us was we let someone live with us for 6 months. The day se had to move out someone in her fmaily poisoned our dog. THAT'S OK, TAWNY IS ALIVE[ GREAT VET ]everything is documented and NO-ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO-ONE GETS NEAR OUR LITTLE RESCUE DOG EVER AGAIN..


As a Homebrewer, Why no mention of Hops as a natural poison. If your dog eats enough hops it will get severe hypothermia.


How pathetic and sad! Just spent the last 20 minutes trying to find ANY useful information in this forum. Wow, All anybody seems to care about is who is right and who is wrong. I have a Bumper Sticker on my truck, it reads, "Sterilize Stupid People". How encompassing that statement is!


I cannot believe you have to pay $65 for a phone call?!?! That in itself is ludicrous.. Any type of information help line here is free where I come from o.O

A trip to the vet is $65 here.