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
5. Yorkshire terriers
7. Shih Tzus
10. German shepherds
The Top Ten Dog Names accounting for calls to Pet Poison Helpline in 2011, in descending order of popularity:
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.