Are Your Kids Heading Back to School? Read our Pet Safety Tips

September 10, 2015

Back to School Pet Safety Tips

Each fall, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) sees an increase in back-to-school related pet poisonings. One of the most common issues involves dogs getting into kids’ backpacks and lunchboxes. Fortunately, most of these exposures are fairly easy to prevent if pet parents know what to watch out for. Here are a few safety tips from APCC experts for this back-to-school season:


After a long school day, many kids dump their backpacks on the floor when they arrive at home. If possible, designate an area in your home for backpacks out of reach of your pets.

Some dogs are very good at unzipping backpacks and helping themselves to the contents inside. If you have young kids who aren't able to reliably place their backpacks in a secure area, or if you have very crafty pets, the next best thing is to be very careful about what is packed in your child’s backpack.

Common backpack contents like sugar free gum (with xylitol), raisins and medications should never be accessible to pets

APCC commonly receives calls related to ADHD medications (which often contain amphetamines), albuterol inhalers and over the counter pain medications—all of which can cause serious and life-threatening toxicity in dogs and cats.


Kids often leave leftover food in their lunchboxes. APCC has received reports of pets becoming very ill after getting into lunchboxes containing toxic foods such as grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts and occasionally, moldy foods. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for a complete list of potentially dangerous items.

We’re wishing your family a happy—and safe!—back-to-school season.