The Official Top 10 Pet Toxins of 2023

March 21, 2024


Each year the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) compiles its data to examine what types of toxins pets commonly encounter. In 2023, the APCC received hundreds of thousands of calls about over 351,000 items/substances that pets were exposed to.

This week is National Poison Prevention Week, which makes it the perfect time to share our top 10 pet toxins of 2023 as a reminder of which household items pet parents should be on alert for.

See the list below, and be sure to keep the following items secure and out of paws’ reach!

1. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold and flu medicines, and vitamins and supplements and joint jubs, remain at number one with 16.8% of the exposures. These items are often found in homes and in all sorts of hiding places like backpacks and purses. People may also accidentally drop their vitamins and supplements or leave bottles of pain medications where pets can access them.

2. Human food and drinks remain at number two with 16.2% of the calls. Protein drinks and bars, xylitol gums, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic make up the largest part of this group. Be vigilant about any human food or drinks that may be lying around or in an open garbage for hungry pets to get to.

3. Human prescription medications continues to rank third with heart medications, inhalers and ADHD medications as the most commonly seen. Make sure your prescription medications—and OTC medications—are in closed cabinets that snooping noses cannot reach.

4. Chocolate continues to rise on the list making up 13% of the exposures seen in 2023. These exposures are mostly seen in dogs; cats do not have sweet taste buds and rarely eat enough to cause clinical signs.

5. Veterinary products have moved up from seventh spot to number five, allotting for 8.3% of exposures. Many of these are ingestions of flavored chewable tablets or soft chews, including calming chews. These chews are super tasty to pets, which means once they try it they may try to get the whole container. It’s best to keep these locked away.

6. Plants and fungi accounted for 8.1% of the exposures. 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.

7. Household products made up 7.1% of the exposures, with deoxidizers (the packets often found in jerky and soft treats) and batteries as the most common ingestions.

8. Rodenticides remain at number eight with 6.5% of the exposures. Very common in the winter months, rodenticides can be  just as appealing to dogs and cats as they are to rodents. Often times, many pets are exposed when rodents move the blocks from their original locations. If your pet ingests rodenticide, it can cause bleeding, kidney failure, seizures or even death.

9. Insecticides also remain at number nine with 3.5% of the exposures. Ant baits, bug sprays and other yard products can be enticing to pets as much as bugs. Reading labels about correct dilution and putting bags away after use can reduce the exposure risks. Or try using pet-safe alternatives!

10. Recreational drugs joined our top 10 list last year and has remained in the number 10 spot accounting for 2.3% of the exposures this year. While marijuana exposures continue to rise, the biggest gains were in mushroom (psilocybin and muscarine) exposures.

If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888)426-4435.