Sunday, February 26, 2012

Top 10 Cat and Dog Toxins of 2011

In 2011, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, located in Urbana, IL, received more than 165,900 phone calls regarding pets being exposed to toxic substances.  The 10 most common toxic substances pets were exposed to are as follows.

1. Prescription Human Medications: The Animal Poison Control Center reports it received nearly 25,000 calls regarding pets ingesting prescription human medications last year.  ADHD and heart medications were among the most commonly swallowed prescription drugs.

To prevent your pet from swallowing any prescription medication, take your pills in the bathroom or another room containing tile or non-carpeted floor.  This way you can hear it more easily if a pill happens to fall on the floor.  Being aware that a pill has fallen will give you a chance to search for and pick up the medication before your pet has a chance to ingest it.

2. Insecticides: Eleven percent of calls last year concerned pets being exposed to insecticides.  These products included those utilized in the home, on pets, and on the lawn.  The ASPCA reminds pet owners it is essential to read a product's directions before using it around a pet.  Only use products that are safe to use around pets in your home and on your lawn.  Finally, do not use a product specifically made for a dog on a cat or vice versa.

3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications: Over-the-counter human medications are also toxic to pets.  Common over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (found in Tylenol) or ibuprofen, often found in the home, can actually kill your cat or dog if he or she ingests them.  Always check with your veterinarian before you give any type of over-the-counter medication to your furry friend.

4. People/Human Food: As much as you might want to share your food with your furry friend, you must be careful what you feed your pet.  Several human foods can cause severe damage to your cat or dog if he or she eats them.  Chocolate, for instance, may cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and increased heart rate in pets who have ingested it, according to the ASPCA.

You may find a list of common toxic foods to cats in my earlier posts - Toxic Food to Cats Part 1 and Part 2.  Please note that these are NOT complete lists of all the foods toxic to cats.

5. Household Products: The household products ingested were not specified by the Animal Poison Control Center.  Be sure to keep all small items, such as rubber bands, staples, needles, thumb tacks, and so forth put up in containers where pets cannot access them.  These products may cause dangerous intestinal blockages or tares if ingested.  Likewise, keep all string, streamers, tinsel, yarn, thread, etc. out of your furry friend's reach.  These items can also have fatal consequences if ingested.  Finally, keep all chemical cleaners out of your pet's reach.

6. Veterinary Medications: Some chewable pet medications may taste good to your furry friend.  If he or she ingests more than he or she is supposed to at one time, it may result in poisoning.  Be sure to keep your pet's medication out of reach, such as in a secure medicine cabinet in the bathroom, so that he or she cannot gobble all of his or her pills at once.  If your furry friend eats more medication than your vet recommends per dose, call your veterinarian immediately.

7. Rodenticides: Use rodenticides with extreme caution around pets.  Bait to trap mice may be especially attractive to dogs as it is grain based.  According to the ASPCA, ingesting rodenticides may cause kidney failure, internal bleeding, and/or death.

8. Plants: Cats seem to find chewing on plants irresistible.  There are hundreds of plants toxic to cats and dogs.  For instance, lilies can lead to kidney failure and death for cats who ingest them, according to the ASPCA.  You may reference their list of toxic and non-toxic plants here.  You may also view my list of some safe plants to keep around cats if you enjoy having plants in your home.

9. Lawn and Garden Products: According to the ASPCA, lawn and garden fertilizers may be made of bone meal, dried blood, and/or poultry manure, which attract pets.  If you utilize lawn and/or garden products, it is a good idea to only let your pets roam outdoors when you can supervise them.

10. Automotive Products: Antifreeze, brake fluid, and so forth can be fatal if ingested by your furry friend.  Thankfully, the number of automotive product poisonings has decreased as more people choose to keep their cats indoors, according to the ASPCA.

Taking some simple precautions and pet-proofing your home, lawn, and garden can go a long way in preventing your pet from accidentally ingesting a poisonous substance.

If you believe your pet has been exposed to a toxic substance, please call your veterinarian immediately or contact the Animal Poison Control Center 24 hours a day at: 888-426-4435.


ASPCA: Top 10 Pet Toxins of 2011


  1. That's a really great list. Thank you for sharing this information with all of us. We have child-proof latches on all of our cabinets to keep our curious kitties from getting into things they shouldn't.

  2. Thanks for the great information. I hope it helps a lot of people.

  3. Thank you for very helpful information. Ordinary household items can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, so we have to be very careful.

  4. Mum says thank you for printing the list - she doesn't let us near human medication and she is very careful in the garden but we must say we don't help her with the cleaning!!
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  5. I am glad you have shared this information, especially about human food such as chocolate, which people may not realise about.