By: Lisa Malkin, Director of Veterinary Services for Humane Veterinary Hospitals
Each year, more than 100,000 pets are accidentally exposed to toxins, resulting in emergency trips to the veterinarian or phone calls to Pet Poison Control hotlines.
What are the most common poisons and toxins ingested by pets, and where are they found?
Not surprisingly, the greatest risks to pets are found around the home. Plants, foods, human medications, cleaning supplies, and automotive products are responsible for the vast majority of pet poisoning cases reported to veterinarians and poison control centers.
Here are a few of the most common, as reported by the Pet Poison Helpline and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:
- More than 1,000 common plants can be toxic to pets. While not all toxic exposures are life-threatening, it is important to take any potentially harmful exposure seriously.
Lilies, azaleas, aloe vera, sago palm, English ivy, philodendron, hydrangea, poinsettia, dieffenbachia, and oleander are among the leading causes of poisoning among pets and should be avoided.
- Many foods that we commonly eat can also present a poisoning risk to pets. Highest on the list are products containing alcohol or caffeine. Caffeine-containing products such as coffee, coffee beans, and chocolate can result in life-threatening conditions, including tremors, arrhythmias, seizures, and death.
Other common foods pets should avoid include avocado, citrus fruits, grapes, raisins, coconut, nuts, garlic, onions, yeast dough, and any processed foods containing the sweetener Xylitol.
If you believe your pet has ingested any of these substances, contact your vet or local animal poison control center.
- Household & Automotive Products. Many household and automotive products also pose a poisoning risk to pets. Bleach, ammonia, household cleansers, jewelry cleaner, and antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol are highly dangerous to pets and should be stored in sealed containers where pets cannot access them.
Many common cosmetic products — such as soap, mouthwash, deodorant, nail polish, nail polish remover, nail glue, sunscreen, toothpaste, and shampoo — also present a poisoning risk to pets and should be stored away from places your dog or cat (or rabbit, ferret, or other furry friends) can reach.
- Human Medications. Many of these drugs are not appropriate for use by animals. Human doses of medications are often too potent to be safely ingested by pets.
In Case of a Pet Poisoning Emergency
If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, do not wait for symptoms to appear. Immediately call your veterinarian, the local vet emergency hospital, the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
To ensure your pet’s overall health, visit hvhospitals.org and schedule a routine checkup, today!