Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Poison Dangers for Dogs in 2011


The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline have perused their records for 2011, and determined the “Top Ten List” of potential poisons in our homes and yards that were the most commonly reported during 2011.   

“Each year we examine our records to determine what contributed to the most calls from pet owners and veterinarians,” said Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC and associate director of veterinary services for Pet Poison Helpline. “Since we spent the most time diagnosing and specifying treatments for dog-related emergencies, we’ve broken them down and produced a ‘top ten list’ designed to educate dog owners and provide veterinarians with the latest facts and statistics.”

Below is the Top Ten List from Pet Poison Helpline. Items are presented in order of frequency starting with foods, which accounted for the highest number of poisoning cases in 2011.  

1.     Foods – specifically chocolate, xylitol, and grapes/raisins.

        Certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. The chemical causing toxicity in chocolate is theobromine (a relative of caffeine). The darker, more bitter, and more concentrated the chocolate is, the more dangerous it is. Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener that is dangerous to dogs. When ingested, even in small amounts, it can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar or even liver failure. Raisins and grapes are often overlooked as one of the most toxic foods to dogs, and can result in kidney failure.

2.     Insecticides – including sprays, bait stations, and spot on flea/tick treatments.

        Ingestion of insecticides and pesticides, especially those that contain organophosphates (e.g., disulfoton, often found in rose-care products), can be life-threatening to dogs, even when ingested in small amounts. While spot-on flea and tick treatments work well for dogs, they can be very toxic to cats when not applied appropriately. Cat owners should read labels carefully, as those that contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids (a derivative of the Chrysanthemum flower), are severely toxic if directly applied or ingested.

3.     Mouse and rat poison – rodenticides.

        There are many types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients and types of action, making all of them potentially poisonous to dogs. Depending on what type was ingested, poisoning can result in internal bleeding, brain swelling, kidney failure, or even severe vomiting and bloat. Mouse and rat poisons also pose the potential for relay toxicity, meaning pets – and even wildlife – can be poisoned by eating dead rodents poisoned by rodenticides.

4.     NSAIDS human drugs – such as ibuprofen, naproxen.

        Common drugs including NSAIDs (e.g. Advil®, Aleve® and Motrin) can cause serious harm to dogs when ingested, causes stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as potential kidney failure. The use of human NSAIDs in dogs is dangerous and should never be given without consulting Pet Poison Helpline or a veterinarian.

5.     Household cleaners – sprays, detergents, polishes.

        Strong acidic or alkaline cleaners pose the highest risk due to their corrosive nature, and include common household products like toilet bowel cleaners, lye, drain cleaners, rust removers, and calcium/lime removers. Remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean safe, as some natural products can cause severe reactions. While general cleaners like glass products, spot removers and most surface cleaners have a wide margin of safety, it is still wise to keep them out of reach.

6.     Antidepressant human drugs – such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Effexor.

        Of all prescription medications, antidepressants account for the highest number of calls to Pet Poison Helpline. When ingested, they can cause neurological problems in dogs like sedation, incoordination, agitation, tremors and seizures.

7.     Fertilizers – including bone meal, blood meal and iron-based products.

        While some fertilizers are fairly safe, certain organic products that contain blood meal, bone meal, feather meal and iron may be especially tasty – and dangerous – to dogs. Large ingestions can cause severe pancreatitis or even form a concretion in the stomach, obstructing the gastrointestinal tract.

8.     Acetaminophen human drugs – such as Tylenol and cough/cold medications.

        Sizeable ingestions of acetaminophen can lead to severe liver failure and even dry eye in dogs. However, it should be noted that it is a more significant threat to cats, as a single Tylenol tablet can be fatal.  

9.     Amphetamine human drugs – ADD/ADHD medications like Adderall and Concerta.

        Medications used to treat ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) contain potent stimulants, such as amphetamines and methylphenidate. Even minimal ingestions by dogs can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.

10.   Veterinary pain relievers – specifically COX-2 inhibitors like Rimadyl, Dermaxx and Previcox.

        Carprofen, more commonly known by its trade name Rimadyl, is a veterinary-specific, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. While it is commonly used for osteoarthritis, inflammation, and pain control in dogs, if over-ingested in large amounts, it can result in severe gastric ulceration and acute kidney failure in dogs. 

Just For Fun – Top Ten Breeds and Names

Along with the important information above, the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline pulled from their records the “Top Ten” most common breeds and dog names, accounting for the most emergency calls in 2011.  

The Top Ten Breeds accounting for the most calls to Pet Poison Helpline were:

1.     Mixed breeds

2.     Labrador retrievers

3.     Golden retrievers

4.     Chihuahuas

5.     Yorkshire terriers

6.     Dachshunds

7.     Shih Tzus

8.     Boxers

9.     Beagles

10.   German shepherds 

The Top Ten Dog Names accounting for calls to Pet Poison Helpline in 2011, in descending order of popularity:

1.     Bella

2.     Lucy

3.     Max

4.     Molly

5.     Daisy

6.     Bailey

7.     Charlie

8.     Lily

9.     Maggie

10.   And last but not least – Sadie and Buddy were tied for tenth place!

Enjoy your dog’s companionship in 2012 and keep him safe with these life-saving tips from Pet Poison Helpline. If you think your dog may have ingested something harmful, take action immediately. Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. Pet Poison Helpline is the most cost-effective animal poison control center in North America charging, only $39 per call, including unlimited follow-up consultations.

Published on January 24, 2012
Categorized under: Pet Safety Tips,Uncategorized

31 Responses to “Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Poison Dangers for Dogs in 2011”

  1. [...] designed to educate dog owners and provide veterinarians with the latest facts and statistics.”…This article was not written by does not take credit for [...]

  2. Cheryl says:

    We recently lost our dog to Cocoa Hull poisoning. There were large amounts of it in her last two feces. We really wish that we had known of the danger. Please add this to your chocolate list.

  3. [...] Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Poison Dangers for Dogs in 2011. A good list to review and be aware of. (Pet Poison Helpline) [...]

  4. [...] lethal for dogs. The poison danger does not lie solely in urban environments and, according to the Pet Poison Helpline, rodenticides were the number three cause of poisoning in pets in [...]

  5. [...] month the Pet Poison Helpline released its list of the “Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Poison Dangers for Dogs in [...]

  6. [...] The Pet Poison Helpline has released a list of the Top Ten toxic substances most frequently reported to its service in 2011 (among dogs only.) Along with that list was a [...]

  7. Bodine says:

    People use the cocoa hull chips in their gardens and around the trees and bushes, looks like wood chips..Many puppies /dogs died last year due to that.It is sold at all garden centers, and hardware stores.Beware peoples lawns and gardens with your dog!!!

  8. Arlene Wynn says:

    I have used Cocoa Hulls in the past and never had a problem. I asked about the “chocolate” toxicity of Cocoa Hulls.
    I was told that if the hulls have been treated by heating them (not sure how) they would not harm dogs.
    I used to be able to purchase large burlap bags that stated “Heat Treated”. Can’t find it anymore, so I’ve stopped using it.

    Is it true about “HeatTreated” being okay, or was I just incredibly lucky?

    • Determining the amount of theobromine and caffeine in cocoa mulch is very difficult as it varies greatly from product to product and depends on the processing. For example, steaming or boiling denatures the theobromine. Some mulches undergo other processing to specifically extract the theobromine and caffeine prior to sale; these products may be marketed as “pet safe”. Thus, overall, the content of toxins may vary from nearly zero to very large amounts. In general, small tastes of the product (especially by a large dog) are not likely to be problematic. However, if the dog ingested several mouthfuls, poisoning is possible with certain mulches.

  9. [...] are the No. 1 cause of calls to Pet Poison Helpline relating to prescription medication. Signs a pet has ingested one of these [...]

  10. [...] are the No. 1 cause of calls to Pet Poison Helpline relating to prescription medication. Signs a pet has ingested one of these [...]

  11. Mel says:

    I wish more people were aware of the dangers of NSAIDS for their dogs. They are NOT just another drug that miraculously helps your dog with arthritis pain or soft tissue injury (as it is now being prescribed for).
    There are many side effects and the sad truth is, the vet that inform their clients of these possibilities are few and far in between. See: Rowdy’s Last Vacation

  12. Carol says:

    When we took our healthy 139 lb 7.5 year old Blue Great Dane……our beloved Bishop, to have his teeth cleaned and a skin tag removed, the vet prescribed 227mg of Previcox every 24 hours for pain. After only 3 doses he refused to eat and threw up blood clots the size of my husband’s fists. Being on Sunday, we got him to the emergency vet within the hour. After 9 agonizing days with daily trips to our vet to have his CBC checked, along with several trips during the night back to the emergency clinic, he collapsed on Christmas morning, spent that night at the emergency clinic, all day the next day at our regular vet and finally had to be put down last night. Previcox kills again. Our feelings of outrage are so great they are eclipsed only by our heartache. We had no knowledge of the dangers of Previcox until his second day into the ordeal which has now proven to be too late. The guilt is unbearable! This has to stop!

    • J.Lee says:

      Carol, we are so saddened to hear this. Some dogs tolerate NSAIDs just fine, but some dogs are very NSAID sensitive, so unfortunately, there’s individual variability. Our sympathies go out to you and your family.

  13. HeidiF says:

    I sprayed body spray perfume and didn’t realize my 10 week old puppy was right underneath me. So she must have breathed it in. She is now vomiting and having diarrhea. Could her breathing the body spray have caused that? She also won’t eat (only drink) and just wants to sleep.

    • J.Lee says:

      It’s unlikely to be from the body spray, but you should DEFINITELY bring in your puppy immediately to a veterinarian – they can dehydrate quickly. In the future, please call our 24/7 number, as we do NOT answer comments immediately and is not worth jeopardizing your pet’s life waiting for someone to respond via a comment (as these are not monitored daily).

  14. my friend had two australian shep/golden retriever mixed dogs. one began stumbling around and was dead by morning. the second became ill a day later, and was throwing up what looked like large amounts of field corn. he also was stumbling around and also died. can field corn or deer bait kill dogs?

    • Hi Georgia,
      Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your friend’s loss. For answers to life-threatening, pet health questions, please call our 24/7 Helpline at 800-213-6680 to speak with a veterinary professional. Our team would be more that happy to answer these questions for you.
      Again, we are deeply sorry.
      Pet Poison Helpline

  15. Cindy says:

    My 11 month old puppy has been poisoned from eating the seeds of a Cardboard Palm. Cardboard /Sago palm poisoning kills many pets. We do not know if he will survive yet- it has been two weeks of intensive emergency care day and night. These common landscape plants destroy the liver and there is no antidote. Please tell people about this horrible poisoning from these very common plants- especially in Florida and California yards. Thank you.

    • Cindy,
      We are so, so very sorry to hear about your puppy. Thank you for sharing your story and helping us spread the word of this severe poisoning. We sincerely hope that your puppy recovers.
      All the best,
      Pet Poison Helpline

  16. BMij says:

    We had to put down our 4 year old Boxer down. His seizures were getting worse and one night he didn’t get back up. We took him to the vet and he stayed there for 4 days. He had bloody diarrhea and vomiting. He didn’t get better. It was a hard decision but vet said he was better off. After necropsy, she said intestine and spleen were deteriorating. Also, his brain was swollen from all the seizures. She was sure it was rat poison but we don’t have anything like that.

    • Bcooke says:

      We just went through the same thing with our beautiful 4 1/2 year old boxer Jilly. We found the feces with pink rat or squirrel poison the day after we had to put her down. Until then, we only suspected. We have a big rat problem in our neighborhood, but we deliberately DIDNT put poison out to protect our girl. Boxers eat anything! A squirrel or rat must have dropped it in our yard in its travels. We are so heartbroken.

  17. LB says:

    I have a beagle who has a nose for chocolate. She has probably consumed about two pounds of it so far- and one of those pounds was all at once! She did not get sick or throw up at all. I even had it in y bedroom up on a dresser and she still managed to get to it when I was not home. Lucky for her that she didn’t get sick from it. I’ guessing because it was milk chocolate and not the dark bitter chocolate that I do love. As far as grapes being poisonous — I have been giving my dogs grapes for years! But I buy the seedless– IS that the difference?

  18. [...] Top 10 Most Frequently Reported Poison Dangers for Dogs in 2011 at Pet Poison Hotline [...]

  19. Lily Sieu says:

    @Trifexis was only studied in 352 dogs and HALF were on SOMETHING ELSE???


    This scandal is as bad as the imported melamine laced pet food! EXPLAIN YOURSELVES Eli Lilly and @ELANCO???

  20. edd says:

    My dog ate my Adderall. What do ? The dog wears glasses now and is doing photon physics experiments in my basement. It’s just an innocent dachshund.

  21. […] Poison Helpline. All are common in many homes. As you prepare to welcome a puppy into your home, puppy proof every room to keep your pet happy and […]

  22. Martin Bassin says:

    My puppy, a beagle-dachsund mix, passed away from liver failure. Three or four weeks prior, she ingested some BB gun lead pellets. Could this have been the cause of her liver failure?

  23. lisa75 says:

    My 2 yr old shih tzu passed away this evening. Woke up this morning to vomit everywhere. He look disoriented but went out for his morning walk. Gave him some water with a little Pepto and he vomited that as well. He refused to come back in. This afternoon we came home to more vomit but this time it was all red…he refused to move and his breathing was heavy. Called the vet and he said that all symptoms pointed to Parvo! From where, how, he was a house dog? Sad in Dallas

  24. lera says:

    My 5 year old silky terrier got into some mice bait we had in our basement and started urinating blood and was vomiting the whole night. It happened on a friday so the next morning we took him to the veterinary ER and after hours of being there they couldn’t even tell us what was wrong. He barely made it to Monday when we were able to take him to the vet and she told us she suspected he had gotten into some poison.she said we could put him down or try giving him some vitamin k shots at home which could help. After only 2 days of shots and feeding him through a syringe because he refused to eat ir drink, and many bites to the hands later, he got so much better and is now still with us 2 years later. If your dog ever gets into anything like that ask your vet about these shots. They could save your pets life.

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