For several years, human medications have been number one on the ASPCA’s list of common hazards, and 2009 was no exception. Last year, the ASPCA managed more than 50,000 calls involving prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as painkillers, cold medications, antidepressants and dietary supplements. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up medications accidentally dropped on the floor, so it’s essential to keep meds tucked away in hard-to-reach cabinets.
In our effort to battle home invasions of unwelcome pests, we often unwittingly put our pets at risk. In 2008, our toxicologists fielded more than 31,000 calls related to insecticides. One of the most common incidents involved the misuse of flea and tick products—such as applying the wrong topical treatment to the wrong species. Thus, it’s always important to talk to your pet’s veterinarian before beginning any flea and tick control program.
People food like grapes, raisins, avocado and certain citrus fruit can seriously harm our furry friends, and accounted for more than 13,500 cases in 2008. One of the worst offenders—chocolate—contains large amounts of methylxanthines, which, if ingested in significant amounts, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, and in severe cases, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures.
Last year, the ASPCA received approximately 8,000 calls about pets who had accidentally ingested rat and mouse poisons. Many baits used to attract rodents contain inactive ingredients that are attractive to pets as well. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestions can lead to potentially life-threatening problems for pets, including bleeding, seizures and kidney damage.
Even though veterinary medications are intended for pets, they’re often misapplied or improperly dispensed by well-meaning pet parents. In 2008, the ASPCA managed nearly 8,000 cases involving animal-related preparations such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, heartworm preventatives, de-wormers, antibiotics, vaccines and nutritional supplements.
In 2008, the Animal Poison Control Center handled approximately 7,500 cases of pet exposure to chemical hazards. A category on the rise, chemical hazards—found in ethylene glycol antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners and pool/spa chemicals—form a substantial danger to pets. Substances in this group can cause gastrointestinal upset, depression, respiratory difficulties and chemical burns.
Common houseplants were the subject of nearly 6,500 calls to the Animal Poison Control Center in 2008. Varieties such as azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, lilies, kalanchoe and schefflera are often found in homes and can be harmful to pets. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, and can cause life-threatening kidney failure even in small amounts.
Everybody knows that household cleaning supplies can be toxic to adults and children, but few take precautions to protect their pets from common agents such as bleaches, detergents and disinfectants. Last year, the ASPCA received more than 4,000 calls related to household cleaners. These products, when inhaled by our furry friends, can cause serious gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the respiratory tract.
It’s not too much loud music that constitutes our next pet poison offender. Instead, it’s heavy metals such as lead, zinc and mercury, which accounted for more than 3,000 cases of pet poisonings in 2008. Lead is especially pernicious, and pets are exposed to it through many sources, including consumer products, paint chips, linoleum, and lead dust produced when surfaces in older homes are scraped or sanded.
It may keep your grass green, but certain types of fertilizer can cause problems for outdoor cats and dogs. Last year, the ASPCA fielded more than 2,000 calls related to fertilizer exposure. Prevention is really key to avoiding accidental exposure, but if you suspect your pet has ingested something lawn-side, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.
Original Page that above information came from ASPCA
Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2008
Is your pooch cuckoo for chocolate? Does your kitty like deep conditioning treatments? Sadly, not everything we love is good for us. In fact, many common household goods that we take for granted as harmless can be disastrous for our furry friends. In 2008, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, IL, handled more than 140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic household substances, including insecticides, cleaning and beauty supplies and prescription medications.
To help you prevent an unhappy accident in 2009, our experts have created a list of the top 10 poisons that affected our pets last year. Here’s a sneak peek at their advice:
- Top dishonors go to human medications, which accounted for approximately 50,000 calls to the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline in 2008. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up meds accidentally dropped on the floor. “Keep all medications in a cabinet,” advises Dr. Helen Myers, veterinary toxicologist at the ASPCA. That includes pain remedies like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, as well as antidepressants and decongestants, which are all harmful to pets.
- Our efforts to battle home invaders—like bugs and mice—resulted in nearly 39,000 cases of pets exposed to insecticides and rodent bait. Be sure to place toxic rodenticides out of reach of curious canines who might be attracted to their smell. The misuse of flea and tick products can also cause serious problems for cats. Avoid using any treatments not specifically intended for your pet.
- Some of the most delicious people food—including citrus, avocado and raisins—can be poisonous to pets. Last year, the ASPCA fielded more than 13,500 calls of pets exposed to various foods. Chocolate ingestion accounted for nearly half of those cases, so be sure to keep the cocoa hidden from your resourceful cat or dog.
- Household plants may keep your house green and your air clean, but some can cause serious gastrointestinal problems for companion animals who nibble on their stems and stalks. In 2008, plants accounted for more than 6,300 calls to the Animal Poison Control Center. Check out our toxic plant list before your next visit to the nursery.
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested anything toxic, please call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.