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Talking Points on Pet Poisoning
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From the ALVMA Public Health Committee

The ASPCA operates an Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana Illinois. In 2012, the Center handled approximately 180,000 cases of potential poisoning of pets. This averages out to about 500 calls a day. Below is a list of the top 10 poisons animals were exposed to in 2012.

1. Prescription human medications (25,000 cases) such as heart medications, antidepressants and pain medications. This often was caused by people dropping their medication while taking it and the pet grabbing it.
2. Insecticides either used on the yard or on the pets themselves. Cats were the most frequently exposed to these types of poisons.
3. Over-the-counter human medications (18,000 cases) such as acetaminophen (TylenolTR) or ibuprofen (AdvilTR or MotrinTR). Many of these types of medications will taste good to pets and they can be deadly.
4. Veterinary products and medications are next on the list and can be a problem because they often are made to taste good.
5. Household products (10,000 calls) such as bleaches and detergents were 5th on the list.
6. People food also can be a problem for pets. Sugar substitute (Xylitol) is a common food item ingested by pets and it can cause seizures and liver failure.
7. Chocolate is the number one people food ingested by animals and it comes in 7th by itself. Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures.
8. Plants can be toxic to pets. Cats lead dogs in this category of toxins. Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats.
9. Rodenticides were the 9th most common pet poisoning problem in 2012. Care needs to be taken when putting out baits to kill mice and rats.
10. Last but not least on this list are lawn and garden products. Fertilizers may be made from dried blood and manure and can be attractive and dangerous for pets.

Adapted from the ASPCA Pet Toxin web site:

For more information on pet poisons visit the

Download the Pet Poison Prevention poster here.

Download this helpful pet poison infographic here.

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