March is Pet Poison Awareness Month – your pet getting into something they’re not supposed to is a very real danger. To help raise awareness, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) released its list of Top 10 Animal Toxins of 2018 after reviewing roughly 213,773 cases of potential animal poisonings.

Here are the results:

  1. Over-the-counter medications ranked number one in pet toxins, accounting for 19.6% of calls to the APCC. Included in this category are ibuprofen, naproxen, cold medications, and herbal supplements. Make sure your medications are kept in a safe place, out of reach from your pet!
  2. Human prescription medications accounted for 17.5% of all APCC cases. ADHD medications, antidepressants, and heart medications make up a significant amount of these cases. Again, make sure it is kept away from anywhere your pet can easily get to.
  3. Food comes in at number three, with 11.4% of cases involved Xylitol, grapes and raisins, and onions and garlic. Here is a list of human foods that are toxic to dogs and here is a list for cats.
  4. Chocolate accounted for 10.1% of APCC cases. The popularity of chocolate gifts for occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter adds to the danger.
  5. Veterinary products accounted for 9.3% of cases. Flavored medications and misread labels are a big reason pets run into trouble with veterinary products.
  6. Household items accounted for 7.3% of cases, which includes items such as paint, glue, and cleaning products.
  7. Rodenticide exposure increased to 6.3% of APCC cases. Along with rats and mice, pets find these baits very tasty, but ingestion can be deadly.
  8. Insecticide exposure accounted for 6.2% of cases. Here is more information on what insecticide poisoning looks like in your dog.
  9. Plants accounted for 5.5% of cases. This includes indoor /outdoor plants and even bouquets. The APCC app has lots of helpful information regarding plant exposures as well as other toxins.
  10. Garden products account for 2.3% of APCC cases. While not as tasty, herbicides are often used in areas frequented by pets.

See the infographic below for common dangers in each room of the house provided by the ASCPA.

Symptoms of Accidental Poisoning

With some poisons, your pet will have an immediate reaction but with others, it may take several days before you notice any symptoms. Here are some general symptoms you should look for in pet poisoning:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Pale or yellowish gums
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Nervousness, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, seizures, or coma

Learn more about common dog poisons and common cat poisons.

Do you have an animal poison emergency?

Call the ASPCA 24-hour veterinary diagnostic and treatment hotline:


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