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.
Believe it or not, back-to-school time can be dangerous for your pets! Every September our amazing team at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) sees an increase in calls related to pets getting into backpacks.
Why should you keep your pets away from your kids’ backpacks?
Well, backpacks often contain items that can spell big trouble for the health of your furry family members, such as gum (which may contain xylitol), medications and inhalers.
So as your kids head back to school, please be sure to stash backpacks and lunch boxes out of your pets’ reach. And since we can’t watch our pets ALL the time, remember that the APCC is available 24/7/365 at (888) 426-4435. Keep that number handy by requesting a free ASPCA Pet Safety Pack, which contains a refrigerator magnet with the APCC's contact info!
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Renovating a home is rarely an easy task—even when our faithful pets are trying to help! One pet parent, Consie, learned that the hard way when her seven-month-old pup, Martha, decided to lend a paw during a recent renovation project.
Martha got into a jar of putty Consie was using to fill holes in a wall, happily licking at it as if it were peanut butter. Consie immediately took the putty away from Martha and called the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). “It makes sense to contact the experts in animal poisoning, and I didn’t have much time,” says Consie. “Martha could have seriously hurt herself and I needed to know the best course of action immediately.”
Luckily, the putty Martha consumed was non-toxic, but that didn’t mean this well-meaning dog was out of the woods. The amount of putty she consumed could still cause severe constipation, or even bowel obstruction. Amanda, an APCC veterinary assistant, and Dr. Michael Knight, one of the APCC’s veterinary toxicologists, carefully walked Consie through how to induce vomiting in the pup.
A few minutes (and a small mess) later, the putty was out of Martha’s system and the potential danger was mitigated. “Amanda and Dr. Knight gave me excellent advice and stayed on the phone with me the whole time. I’m really grateful to them and the APCC team,” says Consie.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has been helping pet parents like Consie for 35 years, providing invaluable expertise and life-saving information 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. This year, the APCC will take on an estimated 273,000 calls—that’s 500-plus cases per day!
If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. You can also connect with the APCC on Facebook and Twitter.
If you’ve ever called the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), you know it’s a critical resource for pet parents whose animals may have gotten into something toxic. But when it took its first call 35 years ago today, APCC was a tiny University of Illinois service based in a chicken coop.
APCC has come a long way since then. The first poison control center focused solely on animals, the center (called the Toxicology Information service until 1990, when it became the National Animal Poison Control Center) quickly established itself as a pioneer, creating the first toll-free pet poison hotline and developing a life-saving database that helps identify pet poisons. That database is the reason we now know Easter lilies, grapes and raisins, and Xylitol can harm our pets.
The center officially became the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in 2000, and in 2006, it handled its one-millionth case. This year, APCC will take on 273,000 calls—that’s 500-plus cases per day.
With the resources and expertise to handle every type of poison crisis, APCC remains the leader in providing life-saving information to pet parents in need.
If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. You can also connect with APCC on Facebook and Twitter.
Be sure to Tweet APCC a happy birthday wish using #APCC35!
What’s in your Easter basket? Whether you’re celebrating Easter, Passover or the arrival of daffodils, it’s time to show our pets some extra love by keeping them safe from seasonal hazards. Here are a few ASPCA tips for a pet-safe spring!
• Beware of Easter lilies—they can be fatal if consumed by our furry friends. We recommend leaving lilies out of Easter baskets destined for homes with cats, or using safer flower varieties as substitutes. Some pretty alternatives include Easter orchids, cacti and daisies, as well as roses and violets.
• Keep candy bunnies in check—chocolate goodies are toxic to cats, dogs and ferrets. And any treats containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gum and baked goods—may be toxic, too!
• Decorations, especially Easter tinsel, may look festive but can be dangerous. Kitties love to nibble on plastic grass, which can lead to serious health issues.
• Baby chicks and rabbits are not Easter gifts. While these festive babies are adorable, resist the urge to buy; they grow up fast and often require specialized care. Thousands of ex-Easter bunnies and chicks are abandoned each year when their novelty wears off.