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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Cheryl Craycraft

I have two rescued dogs with severe allergies & secondary infections, most likely resulting from the overuse of vaccines, poor quality foods & environmental factors. After spending a lot of money with a conventional vet, I finally found relief for them with a holistic/homeopathic vet. Please do your own research on this modality of care. It has been a God send for my dogs. There are lots of free holistic medicine sites to guide you. You can find holistic vets in your area by visiting www(dot)ahvma(dot)org. The easiest navigation there is to choose a practice type, then select your state. Some holistic vets will consult over the phone for you.


It's a very hard thing to do but sometimes it has to be done and I would starve myself before I did it any other way. After you read this link if you don't have a tear in your eye or a lump in your throat then I say you don't deserve a pet. Yes it will cost you but I'm sure you will agree.



fred greenwood

$65.00 fee was very interesting topic and i'm glad to be an american, we have the freedom to debate our true feelings. We all win as long as we are FREE to debate.

Leslie Davis

Many of us cannot live without the comfort of our pets. I will spend whatever I have to spend to take care of them, and I only let them go when the quality of their lives has gone. I am fortunate enough to be employed but I am alone. I am putting money aside for my pets ahead of time, and I'll call it the Pet Emergency fund. I read this in several magazines, and it is the best I can do. I can't afford disability coverage for myself, by the way, and I could be facing some scary choices when my own health gives out, but as long as I have the funds, I will care for my pets. This economy had tanked, we are in a depression, and it's not just personal shortcomings that lead to less money!

Lisa Lebowitz

I love our animails and have adopted animals in our home. We also only use toxic and chemical free products in our home for ourselves, the cats, the dogs, and the all 5 fishtanks. I can share with anyone that may be interested. Contact:
Please notate Animals


I talked to a woman at the grocery and she told me Febreze gave her dogs seizures! At first she thought it was a fluke but when she used it a second time it happened again. That's scary especially since directions say to use it on pet areas!


In response to paying $65 for the phone call that's a ripoff! You can look up Anything on the Internet! If its an emergency go to an animal hospital! Please, common sense really isn't a special gift, we all have it, it's just a matter of using it.


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