The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL., handled more than 167,000 calls involving pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances in 2014. Nearly 16% of those calls were from pet parents whose pets got into medicines intended for human use, putting this category at the top of the toxin list for the seventh year in a row.
Here are the 10 most common pet toxins of 2014 ranked in order of call volume:
Human prescription medications are most often exposed to pets, as mentioned above. The prescriptions that caused the most concern correlated with the most popular medications prescribed to humans.
Over-the-counter medications, including herbal and other natural supplements, attracted greater concern this year than in previous years resulting in approximately 25,000 calls. This category is exceptionally large, encompassing more than 6,900 different products.
Insecticides dropped to the third slot this year, comprising 9.1% of calls to the APCC (15,000 cases). These products can be very dangerous, especially if the label directions are not followed.
Household items were the cause for concern in more than 13,500 cases, especially paints and cleaning products.
Human foods are appealing to pets, especially dogs. Dogs can get into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and xylitol, a sugar substitute which can be life-threatening for animals. Approximately 13,200 cases involved human foods in 2014.
Veterinary medications made up 7% of total cases in 2014. Pet parents should be aware that chewable medications are very tasty and pets might ingest an entire bottle if it is not kept out of their reach.
Chocolate ingestion is very common. At the APCC, chocolate calls make up 6% of the total call volume—more than 30 calls a day! The darker the chocolate, the more potential it has to do harm.
Plants represent approximately 5% of the calls to the APCC and moved up a spot since 2014. Most of these calls involve cats and houseplants.
Rodenticides are made to kill mice and rats, but they can also kill pets if ingested. APCC handled more than 7,500 calls about rodenticides last year.
Lawn and garden products round out the top ten, accounting for about 2.7% of all calls. Many of these exposures occurred because people did not store lawn and garden products out of the reach of pets.
Want more poison control information at your fingertips? Download our free APCC by ASPCA mobile app, which features a searchable database of more than 275 toxins as well as helpful information for pet parents of dogs, cats, horses and birds. The app helps users quickly and accurately identify common hazards.
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.
When an animal has been through trauma, the ASPCA Animal Hospital has all the tools, experience and expertise needed to provide life-saving care. But although we are pros at administering medicine and conducting surgery, we know there is only one proven treatment that can heal broken a heart: a loving “forever home.” Here is the story of one such patient, a cat named Dulcinea.
In June 2014, Dulcinea (Dulcie for short) was found as a stray on the Bruckner Expressway in the Bronx, New York. She arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital in pain, suffering from unknown trauma that left her with lower jaw wounds and a burn on her back. She underwent surgery to remove the damaged skin tissue, and was soon transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin her search for a forever home.
At the Adoption Center, Dulcie grew increasingly standoffish. She was wary of people and animals, and it became apparent that her harrowing history had left her with lingering emotional wounds. She was having trouble wooing potential adopters until, four months later, a woman named Susan S. showed up and changed everything.
Last year, Susan lost both of her cats, Marabou and Molly-Plume, to lymphoma less than six months apart. Devastated and missing her feline companions, she agreed to join her daughter, an ASPCA volunteer named Allana, on a trip to our Adoption Center. “Of course we looked around at the cats who needed a home,” Susan recalls. “That’s when a feline behaviorist introduced me to a quiet little 16-month-old female cat who didn’t like being caged, didn’t like other cats and didn’t like people much, either.”
Although Dulcie was, in Susan’s words, “physically well but socially reticent,” Susan was intrigued by the green-eyed kitty. “When she came out of her cage to meet me, she seemed relatively relaxed and allowed me to stroke her head and scratch her chin.” At home that night, Susan’s couldn’t stop thinking about Dulcie, so she returned the next day and made the adoption official. “Although I have had a shelter cat or two all my adult life, Duclie is the first one with an ASPCA ‘pedigree,’” she says with a smile.
At Susan’s apartment in Manhattan, Dulcie made herself right at home. Susan says, “On arrival, she got a quiet private room, a cozy bed and all her necessities right at paw…Food, water ,litter box, scratching board, small toys. Within a day, she made it clear that she wanted to leave her room to explore. She promptly made the full apartment her own.”
Over the next six months, Dulcie continued to transform. “She has flourished in every possible way,” Susan says proudly. “Her weight has gone from 7.5 pounds to a pleasingly round 10 pounds. Her coat has grown plush and glossy. She has found both her voice (chirp as well as meow) and her purr.” Dulcie now spends her days playing, chasing her toys, and enjoying the sweet life Susan has given her.
Susan adds, “Dulcie is not a cuddler but she is delightfully companionable. She routinely goes to her bed when I go to my bed at night, to her chair when I go to my chair at the end of the day. She’s also exceptionally intelligent and resourceful. It is a ‘happy tail indeed!’”
After traumatic injuries and a terrifying ordeal on the expressway, Dulcie was clearly ready for a peaceful, happy home—and fortunately, she found it with Susan. Congratulations to this happy pair!
Every now and then, we come across special adoptable pets that need a little extra help finding a home. This week, we’re shining our Adoption Spotlight on Kissy, Jack and Janet—a trio of playful Akitas who are sure to make their future adopters very happy!
Kissy, Jack and Janet came to the ASPCA after being rescued by the Oregon Humane Society from a large, commercial breeding facility. Their life in the facility had left them terrified of human contact, so they were sent to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, New Jersey. Over their four-month course of treatment, each dog’s sweet and special personality began to shine through. At the Rehab Center, they learned how to enjoy everyday activities like going for walks, being pet, coming when called and—most importantly—trusting humans again. Now these loving pups are ready to find their forever homes:
Kissy is a curious 5-year-old girl. She may be shy at first, but don’t let that fool you—this pretty lady would love nothing more than to play with you and her favorite squeaky toys! Kissy likes to play with other dogs and would be thrilled to go home with a patient adopter who can love and care for her.
Looking for a goofy, but clever, new best friend? Jack is your guy. This sweet boy loves going for walks and playing with his favorite toys. Jack loves his dog friends, but may need some training to help improve his manners.
Janet is an energetic girl who loves snow and zooming around a fenced yard! She can be reserved around new people, but this curious girl will warm up for walks through the woods with her new family. Janet likes other dogs and would love to go to a household with a dog friend she can play with.
These sweet dogs have been through a lot and they have so much love to give. They would like nothing more than to find forever families to call their own. If you’re interested in adopting or want to learn more about Kissy or Jack, please visit www.bigeastakitarescue.net or call (609) 388-7004. For more information on Janet, please visit www.sammyshope.org.
Great news: this week offers a very special opportunity to get involved and help animals in your community. National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 12-18, is the perfect time to make a difference. Here are three ways you can help.
Host a pet food and supplies drive. Animal shelters are always in need of basic supplies that can be found around your home or at your local grocery or discount store including food, towels and bedding, cleaning supplies, toys and other pet care supplies. Consider hosting a supplies drive to gather items from your friends and family members to donate.
Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. Help fight for the passage of stronger anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and local levels by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade As a Brigade member, you’ll have the opportunity to help pass important legislation for animals within your region.
The ASPCA was excited to honor award-winning actresses Hilary Swank and Edie Falco at our 18th annual ASPCA Bergh Ball on Thursday, April 9. Emceed by actress Lake Bell and designer Isaac Mizrahi, the “pup art” -themed event was held at New York City’s Plaza Hotel and helped raise funds for the ASPCA’s lifesaving work on behalf of homeless, abused and neglected animals.
Swank received the ASPCA Compassion Award, which recognizes individuals in entertainment and the arts who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare by utilizing their creative talents and prominence to bring attention and action to the plight of vulnerable and homeless dogs and cats.
Falco received the ASPCA Voice for Animals Award, which recognizes influencers who use traditional and modern media to increase awareness and inspire action on behalf of animal in crisis in the United States.
“Hilary Swank and Edie Falco have as much compassion as they have talent, and we’re thankful they’ve chosen to dedicate considerable time and energy to help animals in crisis,” said ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker. “The work they’ve done has helped save and protect countless lives, and the ASPCA is proud to recognize their commitment with these awards.”
The event also featured playing cards that showcased photos of dogs at cats at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City, as well as dog and cat prints by Andy Warhol, licensed by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Posing as jokers in the deck are Bravo’s Andy Cohen, with his dog Wacha, and actor Nathan Lane, with his dog Mabel.
Thanks to everyone who attended, and congratulations to our 2015 award recipients!