Announcing the Top Pet Toxins of 2015
March is National Animal Poison Prevention Month, and we’d like to kick it off by sharing our list of toxins most commonly ingested by pets—and reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)—in 2015. The APCC has revealed that for the first time ever, over-the-counter medications and supplements surpassed prescription medications to take the top spot. Check out the full list below!
- Over-the-counter medications: These medications, including herbal and other natural supplements, attracted the most concern this year for the first time in the APCC’s history, with more than 28,500 cases reported. This category is exceptionally large, encompassing nearly 7,000 products.
- Human prescription medications: Prescribed human medications fell to the second spot on the list, representing nearly 16% of all cases. The types of medication to which animals were most often exposed correlate with the most popular medications prescribed to humans.
- Insecticides: Insect poisons accounted for nearly 9% of the calls to APCC (more than 15,000 cases). If label directions are not followed, these products can be very dangerous to pets.
- Human foods: Pets—especially dogs, who ingest human foods more often than cats—can get into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, alcohol and xylitol. More than 14,600 APCC cases in 2015 involved human foods.
- Household items: Products found around the home made up more than 14,000 cases in 2015. The most common items for this category include cleaning products, fire logs and paint.
- Veterinary medications: Overdoses of medications prescribed by veterinarians represented more than 7% of total cases in 2015. Chewable medications are very appealing to pets, requiring extra caution.
- Chocolate: Chocolate continues be very problematic for pets, accounting for more than 7% of all APCC cases in 2015—averaging more than 30 cases a day. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be.
- Plants: Indoor and outdoor plants represented nearly 5% of the calls to the APCC in 2015. Most of these calls involve cats and houseplants. Be sure to understand the toxicity of plants before putting them in or around your house.
- Rodenticides: Rodent poisons can be just as toxic to pets as they are to the mice and rats these products are designed to kill. Last year, APCC handled more than 8,100 cases involving rodenticides.
- Lawn and garden products. These products, including herbicides and fungicides, round out the top ten, accounting for 3% of all APCC calls. It’s incredibly important to store lawn and garden products out of the reach of pets.
Please visit our APCC section to find out more about items that could be poisonous to your furry friends. APCC is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.