The Pet Poison Helpline recently released their list of the top 10 household poisons that generated the most consultations for 2013.  This month, I will go over the canine list, and next month discuss the feline list.  If you believe your pet ingested a toxin, it is always best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.  In many circumstances immediate treatment to either induce vomiting, or administer activated charcoal to bind the toxin can be lifesaving.

Top 10 toxins for dogs

  1.  Chocolate:  Smaller dogs eating dark chocolate or Baker’s chocolate are the most easily intoxicated.
    Photo by André Karwath

    Photo by André Karwath

  2. Xylitol:  This is a sweetener found in sugarless candy and gum.  It causes low blood sugar, and can cause liver failure.
  3. NSAIDs:  These pain killers can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  4. OTC cough, cold, and allergy medications:  Acetominophen, pseudoephedrine, and phenylephrine can all be toxic.
  5. Rodenticides (mouse poison):  Different formulations can cause either internal bleeding, or brain swelling.
  6. Grapes/Raisins:  These can cause kidney failure
  7. Insect bait stations:  The main problem is not what is inside, but the plastic housing causing bowel obstruction.
  8. ADD/ADHD medications:  These can cause seizures or heart problems, and even death.
  9. Joint supplements:  Overdoses can cause diarrhea, and in rare cases liver disease.
  10. Oxygen absorbers and silica gel packets:  Only ones containing iron are a concern.


You can also visit the pet poison helpline at, or call them at
1-800-213-6680 for advice in an emergency (a fee is charged to speak to a professional  at the pet poison helpline).

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