What’s Poisoning Our Pets: The Top Pet Toxins of 2012
Nearly 14,000 of APCC’s 2012 calls were from worried pet parents of Labradors. Domestic shorthair cats were involved in approximately 10,000 cases (the second-most popular breed involved in APCC calls). Mixed-breed dogs (8,000 cases), Chihuahuas (4,833 cases), Golden Retrievers (4,819 cases) and Yorkshire Terriers (3,800 cases) rounded out the top six.
No matter what kind of pets they had, thousands of pet parents called us about the same products last year. Here were the top five poisons that caused pet parents to call APCC for help in 2012:
1. Prescription Human Medications
APCC handled 25,000 cases regarding human prescription medications in 2012. The top three types of medications that animals were exposed to were: heart medications (blood pressure pills), antidepressants and pain medications (opioids and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
While just 11% of all calls to the APCC are about insecticides, more than 50% of the calls to APCC involving cats pertain to felines exposed to insecticides.
3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications
This group contains acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen as well as herbal and nutraceutical products (fish oil, joint supplements).
4. Veterinary Products and Medications
Veterinary products made up nearly 6% of APCC’s case volume for 2012. Both OTC and prescription veterinary products are included in this group. Watch out for flavored tablets!
5. Household Products
APCC fielded more than 10,000 calls about household products in 2012. Household toxins can range from fire logs to cleaning products.
6. People Food
More than 5% of our cases in 2012 were related to the ingestion of people food. One particularly common food accidentally ingested by pets is xylitol (the sugar substitute). Xylitol can cause seizures and liver failure in dogs.
Chocolate is still the number one people food that pets ingest (we received over 8,500 calls last year). Too much chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures.
8. PlantsMore than 7,000 cases in 2012 were pet parents calling about their animals eating plants. This is one category that cats lead dogs in the number of exposures. Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. Please see our list of toxic/non-toxic plants for more information.
9. RodenticidesWhen putting out baits to kill mice and rats, never underestimate the resourcefulness of your pet. Nearly 4% of calls to the APCC in 2012 were related to baits. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestion can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure or seizures.
10. Lawn and Garden ProductsFertilizers, which can be made of dried blood, poultry manure and bone meal, are very attractive to pets, so it is not surprising that we get many calls (almost 3,600 in 2012) on lawn and garden items.
Think you know your poisons? Take the ASPCA’s I Can’t Believe It’s Poisonous Quiz on Facebook!
And remember: If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.