Top Toxins That Poison Our Pets

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 2:00pm
Dog laying next to open pill bottle

Happy National Poison Prevention Week! In 2013, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Illinois, handled nearly 180,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which are everyday household items

Thousands of pet parents called our 24-hour poison control hotline last year. Read on to learn more about common household items that resulted in frequent calls to APCC, and find out why they’re so dangerous to our furry friends.

1. Prescription Human Medications

We handled 24,673 cases regarding human prescription medications—the top offender for the sixth year in a row—in 2013. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to include: heart medications, antidepressants and pain medications. Many instances of exposure occurred when pet parents dropped their medication when preparing to take it, and before they knew it, Fido had gobbled the pill off the floor.

2. Insecticides

Insecticides are used in the yard, home and on our animals, and nearly 16% of all calls to our poison hotline in 2013 were related to insecticides. Always read the label before using any insecticide on your pet, in your home or in your yard.

3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications

Over-the-counter human products, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and herbal supplements, accounted for nearly 15% of calls to APCC in 2013. Many of these products are tasty to pets, and some can be life threatening if ingested.

4. Household Products

Our poison hotline fielded nearly 17,000 calls about general household products in 2013. Household toxins range from fire logs to cleaning products.

5. People Food

Human foods are often appealing to pets, especially dogs. In 2013, people foods clocked in as the fifth most common pet poison. Pets can get themselves into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and the sugar substitute xylitol, among other common food items.

Check out our full list of the top 10 pet toxins of 2013. Remember: if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

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Princess's Warriors

Shared this with the good people of N. NV, we hope they write the Animal Poisoning #, it could save an animals life!

Princess's Warriors

We hope that everybody out there will work on having a NO KILL SHELTER, we pulled it off in Reno so maybe you could also.

Carol Williams

i live in Texas City Texas, Galveston County Animal Shelter is located in Texas City, they have been investigated for uthanizing hundreds of dogs and cats . I don't know their address, maybe you can help the animals under their care by telling them how you pulled off having a NO Kill ShELTER in Reno.

Aleta Pahl

I agree, everyone, every organization in New York needs to come together to push hard for a new Animal Control. New York City needs to lead this nation with a progressive example of No-Kill and end the reprehensible treatment of dogs and cats at NYC ACC. This cannot continue any longer with mass euthanization of dogs and cats and no regard for dogs becoming sick there. I hope our new Mayor will see this as a priority!! It has to be investigated.

Eric Vegan Weis...

Coffee is should be at the very top of the Poison List. Coffee is so deadly that a small amount can kill a dog or cat almost instantly. Always cover coffee up and when it is spilled make sure it is quickly cleaned up. Never allow your pets to be exposed to this deadly agent. It puts the heart into tachycardia (rapid heart beat so that it can not pump blood). COFFEE IS DEADLY: KEEP PETS AWAY FROM COFFEE GRINDS OR LIQUID!!! www.weismannutrition com




Just because people do stupid things, doesn't mean they should! Why would anyone feed their dog coffee?


I never had a dog who was interested in coffee, but chocolate does tempt them. For years I've read & heard that chocolate is deadly for them but I recently read that it's okay in small amounts. When I was a child, back in the 40s & 50s we never heard anything about chocolate being bad for dogs & we'd occasionally given them a square from a Hershey bar. Didn't seem to hurt them.

Adrian James

I think it's just good practice to not give them any chocolate. A small amount (relative to body mass) may not hurt them or make them ill, but they shouldn't be conditioned to think that chocolate is a treat for dogs! (or cats, etc)
Also, a lot of "chocolatey" products (like Hershey's) use more cocoa butter to give it a chocolate flavour, so there's a smaller amount in the bar or pudding or what-have you. Those of us who eat purer chocolate (dark chocolate in 75-90% ) should keep that stuff well away. My cats have mostly ignored any chocolate or cocoa powder that's been in their reach, though.
Honestly, I've never had a dog or cat who was interested in drinking coffee to he point you needed to cover a cup or pot or mop up a spill lest they lap it up. But I wouldn't let them drink it either.

Palma Rice

I had a mixed breed dog who loved coffee. That being said, it was instant coffee. I don't know if this made a difference; but he lived a long and happy life.