ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Lists 10 Most Common Pet Toxins

In recognition of National Animal Poison Prevention Week, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center has announced their list of the top 10 pet toxins of 2017.

The Poison Control Center got nearly 200,000 calls about possible poisoning from concerned pet owners last year.  Here are their top categories:

Human prescription medications

17.5% of last year’s calls were about prescription meds.  The most common?  Antidepressants, pain medications, and heart medications.  The Center notes that while most poisoning cases are accidental, you should never give any drug to your pet without talking to your vet.

Over-the-counter medications

OTC drugs accounted for 17.4% of calls to the Center in 2017.  They range from pain medications to vitamins and supplements to allergy and cold meds.  Like Rx drugs, most of these cases are accidental, and you should avoid giving human drugs to your pet (unless your vet says it’s OK).


People food accounted for over 10% of pet poison calls last year.  Sugar-free foods containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol continue to be a hazard, along with other foods like grapes, avocado, alcohol, and raw bread dough.

Veterinary products

Nearly 9% of pet poison cases were caused by veterinary products.  Of special concern are flavored and chewable pet meds that may entice your dog or cat to eat the whole package.


As a people food hazard, chocolate has a category of its very own.  8.8% of APCC cases involved chocolate.  Dogs in particular are at risk for getting into our chocolate treats and eating this toxic food…especially around the holidays.

Household items

8.6% of cases involved household items like paint, cleaning products, glue, and laundry detergent pods.  Yep, pets are getting into those pods too, and the ASPCA notes that they are an up and coming danger for our pets.


The Center reports that insecticide poisoning cases declined last year.  6.7% of calls involved insecticides (such as ant and roach killer).  Be sure to always store them away from pets and take pets out of any room in which they are being used.


6.3% of cases were linked to rodenticides in 2017.  The ASPCA notes that cold weather is linked to more rats and mice entering homes and increased use of these poisons.  Remember that they are as dangerous to your pets as they are to rodents.


Many plants are toxic to pets.  5.4% of cases involved common plants used in outdoor landscaping and indoor flower arrangements.  Lilies are a special danger to cats and both sago palm and oleander are toxic to both dogs and cats.

Garden products

2.6% of the Poison Control Center’s calls involved garden products like fertilizers, herbicides, and soil enhancers.  Some types of mulches can also pose a danger to pets if ingested.  Keep your pets away from areas that have been freshly treated.


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