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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Janet Woodward

There is a poor lady here in UK that has lost three kitties due to her not knowning that the bright orange stamens on lilies...are poisonous to cats. Dont know what you call the Lent Lilies in USA...someone will know.
Keep you and your kitties safe...


Look, you can keep arguing back and forth as to whether the $65 fee is too expensive or not. The APCC is a great resource for those that need it, but it's not the only resource. I would call my vet or local 24 hour emergency clinic before calling APCC. As long as you know what your pet has ingested they can tell you whether they need veterinary care right away (which they may need anyway even after you pay the APCC $65) or they'll give you advice and information for FREE! I've had to call my 24 hour E-clinic a few times and they didn't feel my pet needed to go in but gave me advice on what to do or look out for. Also, getting a book on animal care and first aid is a great investment for any pet owner. Being self reliant can go a long way.

Linda Magee

I definitely would not pay $65.00 for a phone call,I would call the vets office and the person who answers the phone would know something to do and tell you to bring in your pet. My vet will work with you on paying for call. I am also a senior citizen limited income


Pets can be expensive. Point noted and people like me and my husband who have multiple pets can be very much so. We do manage all the medical beefs and good brand dog food. We are lucky. Importantly, it is up to me to keep pets away from chemicals and be aware meds are taken when and only and in correct dosage and pick up the pills my husband drops and doesn't appear to noce. Make sure any poison and poisonous plants are out of reach. Yes. Pets are expensive And a lot of work.but are the greatest joy.


A couple of others to add to the list are as follows: Beneful dog food & Waggin' Train Jerky treats both of which are made by the Nestle-Purina Co. They have Proylene Glycol in them & were the cause of my beloved dog's death. :`(

rose michelson

Put these comments and ideas to good use. Most are valid others well, may be somewhat distasteful to some. However, instead of all the rhetoric why not put this energy to good use and get this changed. Notify celebraties that love animals, like Ellen, or ? get them on the bandwagon and change this!! I think as most that $65 is steep......lets do petitions, contact congressmen etc and lets get this changed!!! It will help us all.


Although my best 4 legged buddy /dog has had the best health care. I find he is only in need of rabies vaccine flea & tic and an annual health asessment. Pet owners may find to look into the risks of over vaccinating as well as the high priced flea & tic preventatives only available at vets Front Line PLUS was causing my boy to be lethargic and I finally noticed to watch him when I applied it just to be certain Due to he has lyme disease and his symptoms from Front Line mimicked these.I found it was FrontLine and thats a big brand pushed at vet offices. I only give him hartguard when necessary not 12 months of it Due to there are no mosquitos in the winter therefore not necessary.I use holistic flower and herbal flea & tic remedies that work much better than FrontLine ever did and he has no reactions.Only no tics and fleas,healthier which FrontLine never prevented from crawling all over him!
With all this being said I also want to state I know pet owners who never take their animals 3-10yrs old to the vet that thrive and have healthy appearances happy as can be and eat whatever they want except poison. They have shiny coats and no skin issues allergies,either. But when I'm waiting at the vets thats all I hear from other pet owners there. So it makes me wonder if all the vaccines,RX,pest meds etc are necessary or the culprits to bad pet health and allergies?


Animals need people to care for them, and people need animals to care for and love, regardless of income! Some people already have their animals when they can afford them, then maybe loose their jobs or get ill. So what if you are one of those people who have no momey troubles, then by all means adopt more animal to care for, why not, you can afford IT!!


If any of you live in San Bernardino CA area, please go see the animals at DEVORE . They are so desperate for adoption and so many get put to death and it is a higher than usual kill shelter. This place has been under scrutiny and on the news and we have people on FB trying to help these animals. A shame how people treat their animals and drop them off because they are old or they are tired of a dog and want a a puppy...wth


Why don't we the pet owners know about the rare side effect of this shot. My pet almost died from it. He had 3 transfusions before the counter active meds took over to stop his immune system.