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Common toxicities that all pet owners should be aware of

In our daily lives, we are consistently monitoring what goes into our body, and what may affect our bodies negatively.

However, many pet owners don’t realize how that list of potential risks is much more substantial with our furry friends, especially if they are prone to getting into things they shouldn’t!

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed by Fairfield Animal Hospital

Something that seems fairly harmless to us can be extremely harmful for our pets.

Pet insurance companies have recorded paying out over $2.9-million in one year towards toxicity cases in dogs and cats.

Educating ourselves on these risks is the first step to avoiding a potentially life threatening situation, and an expensive vet bill!

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed by Fairfield Animal Hospital

The ASPCA recently released a Top Ten list of the toxicity calls they received for households in 2018:

1. Over the counter medications accounted for 19.6% (41,865 cases) of recorded cases with ASPCA. These medications include Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, cold medications, and herbal supplements. Although these may be seemingly harmless to us, they can be quite toxic to our pets.
2. Prescription medications accounted for 17.5% (36,916 cases) called into the ASPCA. Heart medications and antidepressants being the most common of this category for being ingested by a pet. Keeping these away in cupboards where they cannot be reached is always the best decision for everybody in the household.
3. Human food came in the third slot this past year, accounting for 11.4% (24,469 cases) reported. The most common foods that are harmful consist of grapes and raisins, onions and garlic, and xylitol (a commonly used artificial sweetener in many human foods, like gum and peanut butter).
4. Chocolate accounted for 10.1% (21,635 cases) which is almost 60 cases per day. It's always a good idea to be diligent on storing sweets and baked goods in an area you know your pet cannot reach. It only takes a minute for them to make their move and gobble up something as tasty as chocolate.
5. Veterinary products made up 9.3% of cases this year. It’s very easy for an animal to overdose on a prescription medication when the taste is designed to entice them. Many owners don't realize that some of their pet’s medications are flavored and very palatable, meaning they may try to gobble down the whole bottle if they can get to it.

<who>Photo Credit: Contributed by Fairfield Animal Hospital

6. Household items came in at #6 this year, 7.3% of calls. It is important to be diligent on keeping items like cleaning products, fire logs, and home improvement products such as paint and spackle in an area that is not accessible by your cat or dog. Unfortunately, they do not know the difference between a harmless product and an interesting new chew toy.
Rodenticides and Insecticides came in at the 7th and 8th spots this year, contributing to 6.3% (13,391) and 6.2% (13,260) of cases in 2018. These types of bait are intended to be tasty and intriguing to pests, but pose just as much of a risk to house pets.
9. Plants accounted for 5.5% (11,857) of cases. A majority of the time, we do not assume a house plant could be fatal. Lilies, Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Sago Palms, Autumn Crocuses, Azaleas, Cyclamen, Kalanchoe, Oleander, and Dieffenbachia, are all listed as the top of the list in poisonous plants for our pets.
10. Gardening Products came in at number 10, accounting for 2.3% of calls to the ASPCA. Studies show that animals tend to be very interested by products like fertilizers.

Awareness is the key to prevention when it comes to our curious little creatures and their well-being.

Knowing your available resources in time of an emergency could save your pets life.

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