ASPCA Names Top 10 Causes of Dog Poisoning

Dogs eating owners' meds prompted 50,000 calls to poison control hot line in 2008.

The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center logged more than 140,000 cases of dogs, cats, and other pets exposed to toxic substances in 2008. The most common call — accounting for almost one-third of those placed to the center’s 24-hour hot line — involved human medications.

Dogs often get pill bottles from counters and nightstands or lick up stray pills from floors. Common medications eaten by dogs include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antidepressants, and decongestants.

Chemicals used to battle bugs and rodents led to almost 39,000 calls to the hot line in 2008. Food, such as chocolate, raisins, and macadamia nuts, as well as house plants, caused tens of thousands of accidental poisonings as well.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s top 10 poisons list for 2008 includes:

1. Human medications;
2. Insecticides, including the misuse of flea and tick preventives;
3. People food, such as onions and grapes;
4. Rodenticides;
5. Veterinary medications given in incorrect amounts;
6. Chemical hazards, such as antifreeze and paint thinner;
7. Plants that are toxic to dogs;
8. Household cleaners like bleach;
9. Heavy metals, including leaded paint chips and linoleum in older homes; and
10. Fertilizer

If you suspect your dog has eaten or swallowed anything toxic, immediately call your vet, a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hot line at (888) 426-4435.

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