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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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eileen

There are Emergency veterinarians open 24/7 Find out where they are located and perhaps save the lives of thousands of helpless animals.

Marie

Our dogs got into rat poision the day before Christmas. We were complete wrecks before we got them into a see a Vet. They were all given a Vitamin K shot and vitamin pills. Our Daisy (mini-daushound / shitzu mix) was the worse. We ended up making an Emergency run for a Pet hospital an hour away this was at 4:30 in the evening. By the time we FINALLY found the place the place was closed but THANK GOD we met 1 of the workers leaving. When we told her what was going on she took us in right away. Daisy was REALLY bad shape. She had bleeding in her lungs, was in shock, you could tell her breathing was really bad , she was cold to the touch, etc. My sister who is on Oxygen was giving her oxygen on the way over. They ended up giving her a blood transfusion right away. Even then they weren't making any promises. They didn't want to drain the blood from her lungs because her blood was so thin even after the transfusion. Thankfully by the Grace of God the bleeding in her lungs stopped and they didn't have to drain her lungs. We were able to take her home the next day provided we watched her like a hawk and took back to the hospital if she got in trouble. We have to say it was the BEST Christmas present we ever got. Thankfully all of them have recovered without any lasting effects. They were all on Vitamin K for weeks. We will NEVER use rat poision again. They got the posion by eating a mouse that ate it. Rat poision is nothing to mess around with.

Marilyn B.

I live in Europe a few years ago two female dogs one pregnant were poisened out in the fields at the end of the hunting season. Rat poison was used masked in small balls with ham, cheese, olive oil and other goodies??? they died in the space of a couple of hours, reason being that even though my vets are really near to my home it was a Sunday morning two days before Xmas and the young girl who was in charge hadn't got a clue what to do! I hadn't got my vets' cell phone so was unable to call them. Tragic!!!

Marilyn B.

I live in Europe a few years ago two female dogs one pregnant were poisened out in the fields at the end of the hunting season. Rat poison was used masked in small balls with ham, cheese, olive oil and other goodies??? they died in the space of a couple of hours, reason being that even though my vets are really near to my home it was a Sunday morning two days before Xmas and the young girl who was in charge hadn't got a clue what to do! I hadn't got my vets' cell phone so was unable to call them. Tragic!!!

Pam

Shared - thank you for this!!!

Rich

I assume, when you name 'insecticides' as a primary cause of injury, you are including over-the-counter flea and tick products. Since March of 2010 the EPA has consistently said these products can be extremely dangerous and documented tens of thousands of cases annually of companion animal injuries and deaths caused by these products.

I revere most of your work, but you have not been forthright about this issue over the years.

Diane Peake

I wish there was a lot of publicity regarding xylitol! There should be signs posted about the dangers of it where people purchase it. I don't understand the lack of information there!

Marle Fenno

There has always been a warning on the package of any xylitol product I've purchased, except for gum.

Jane

I clicked on the article Top 10 Most Common Pet Poisons only to find there were only 5 listed. What's up with that? Also, I used to have great respect for the Humane Society in large but no longer do since they turn a blind eye to the abuse of animals in the film industry. However, I do support my local Humane Society here in Florida with pet food and supplies, when I can.

Peggy

I had to post my comment here. My roommate insists on feeding her young miniature pug people food on a daily basis. I mean, this dog eats better than I do, and I am NOT exaggerating, or making a joke. I am sure she is giving her food that she should not be eating. I am sure this is why she gets sick more often than she should be. I have never seen a dog throw up as often as she does. And she always has an excuse. What did scare the hell out of me though was the one time when Nicki got into a piece of candy by accident and blood just started pouring out of her mouth and stuff after she gave her the Vitamin K or whatever it is she is supposed to give a dog when they accidently get into chocolate or something they shouldn't get into. I have never seen anything like that before. I have never seen that much blood before, and she is a small dog, maybe 12-13 pounds at the most. But I do worry about all the people food she gives her. If mommy eats, Nicki eats. And that is the way it is. Nicki will sit there and bark until mom gives her food. Mom actually makes her separate places of food just for here: a plate of eggs, or sausage, or a plate of cut up hot dogs, and so on. And I can't say anything to her. She is a very stubborn woman and set in her ways, and this is the way she is going to do things.

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