The Official Top 10 Pet Toxins of 2020

March 25, 2021

The Official Top 10 Pet Toxins of 2020

Every year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) compiles a list of the top toxins commonly reported that year. In 2020 alone, APCC helped more than 370,500 animals, providing their pet parents with lifesaving information and easy-to-use safety guides. This week is National Poison Prevention Week, and the perfect time to share the top 10 pet toxins of 2020. Keep an eye out for these common pet poisons and learn more about how to protect your pets!

Top 10 Pet Toxins of 2020
  1. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications ranks as the number one top toxin for the third year in a row, making up about 17 percent of APCC’s total case volume. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold and flu medicine, vitamins and supplements and joint rubs all fall within this category. These items are often found in homes and in all sorts of hiding places like backpacks and purses.
  2. Human prescription medications including, and most commonly seen, antidepressant, anticonvulsant and cardiac medications. Always make sure your prescription medications–and OTC medications–are in closed cabinets that your pet cannot reach.
  3. Human Food makes up 13 percent of 2020’s total cases. APCC received most of their calls about grapes, raisins, xylitol, onions, garlic and protein and snack bars. Be vigilant about any human food that may be lying around for hungry pets to get to.
  4. Chocolate comes in at number four. APCC handles almost 76 cases per day of chocolate exposure. Dogs seem to love chocolate and if they get into it, could eat enough to get themselves into some serious trouble.
  5. Bouquets and plants jumped from number eight to number five in just one year, with 9,000 more calls than in 2019. Both indoor and outdoor plants can cause a threat to our four-legged friends, so make sure to check out our list of toxic and non-toxic plants before bringing a new plant into your home or garden.
  6. Household toxicants, like cleaning, beauty and home repair products, remained at number six in 2020. With more people home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many took to home improvement projects using paint, adhesives or spackle, all of which are hazardous to pets.
  7. Rodenticide is very common in the winter months when rodents, like mice and rats, come looking for warmth. The ingredients that make rodenticide so appealing to rodents, has the same effect on cats and dogs. If your pet ingests rodenticide, it can cause bleeding, kidney failure, seizures or even death.
  8. Veterinary products moved down on the list this year, but is still very much so a risk. Chewable medications, like calming chews, are super tasty to pets, which means once they try it, they may try to get into the entire container. Make sure these products stay out of paw’s reach!
  9. Insecticide like ant baits, bug sprays and other yard products can be enticing to pets just as much as bugs. Try using pet-safe product alternatives!
  10. Garden products remain at number 10 for the third year in a row. Fertilizers, especially those made from organic products, are delicious to dogs, however, are toxic. Make sure your pets steer clear of the garden or freshly fertilized lawn!

Accidents are called accidents for a reason but keeping the above products out of paw’s reach can decrease the amount of accidents we see in a year.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.