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Pet Poison Helpline Top 10 List of Most Poisonous Household Items that Caused FIDO Emergencies

For many people, January is a time for reflecting on the past year and making positive changes for healthier, more fulfilling and safer lifestyles. The veterinarians and toxicology experts at Pet Poison Helpline are helping make 2014 healthier and safer for pets by providing these “Top Ten Lists” of household items that generated the most poison consultations for dogs in 2013. While not all items on this timely list are highly toxic, the list will inform pet owners about the truly dangerous items in their homes. The items below are presented in order of frequency, with number one being the item that caused the most emergency calls to Pet Poison Helpline.

Dogs: Top 10 Toxins of 2013

1)   Chocolate: Dark equals dangerous! Bakers and dark chocolate are the most toxic, and milk chocolate if ingested in large amounts

2)   Xylitol: This sweetener found in sugarless chewing gum and candy, medications and nasal sprays causes a rapid drop in blood sugar and liver failure only in dogs (not cats).

3)   NSAIDs: Ibuprofen, naproxen, etc., found in products like Advil, Motrin, and Aleve. Dogs don’t metabolize these drugs well; ingestions result in stomach ulcers and kidney failure.

4)   Over the counter cough, cold and allergy medications: Those that contain acetaminophen or decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine, are particularly toxic.

5)   Rodenticides (mouse poison): These may cause internal bleeding (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, etc.) or brain swelling (bromethalin), even in small amounts.

6)   Grapes and raisins: These harmless human foods cause kidney damage in dogs.

7)   Insect bait stations: These rarely cause poisoning in dogs – the bigger risk is bowel obstruction when dogs swallow the plastic casing.

8)   Prescription ADD/ADHD medications: These amphetamines such as Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse can cause tremors, seizures, cardiac problems and death in pets.

9)   Glucosamine joint supplements: Overdose of tasty products such as Cosequin and Move Free typically only cause diarrhea; however, in rare cases, liver failure can develop.

10) Silica gel packets and oxygen absorbers: Silica gel packs, found in new shoes, purses or backpacks, is rarely a concern. The real threats are the iron-containing oxygen absorbers found in food packages like beef jerky or pet treats, which can cause iron poisoning. 


The best thing concerned pet owners can do is get educated on the most common pet toxins, which are listed above, and then pet-proof their homes. However, accidents happen and if a pet may have ingested something toxic, Pet Poison Helpline recommends taking action immediately. Contact a veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. Pet Poison Helpline also has a helpful iPhone application with an extensive database of over 200 poisons dangerous to cats and dogs. “Pet Poison Help” is available on iTunes for $1.99.

About Pet Poison Helpline
Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based out of Minneapolis, is available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals that require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The staff provides treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $39 per incident includes follow-up consultation for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com

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