Human Medications Most Commonly Ingested Household Poison, VPI Reveals

Here are the 10 household poisons most commonly ingested by pets.

Methylxanthine, found in chocolate, is one of the most common household toxins ingested by pets.

Veterinary Pet Insurance of Brea, Calif., recently reported that it received more claims for drug reactions from human medications than all other poisoning claims combined in 2007.

Other top household toxins, ranked by the number of claims VPI received in 2007, are as follows:

  1. Drug Reactions (3,455 claims) – Many of these claims involved pets given drugs intended for human consumption, such as over-the-counter pain relievers. Pet owners often give pets over-the-counter or prescription drugs for their ailments, unaware that they can be harmful to the pet, according to VPI.
  2. Rodenticide (870 claims) – Even if these poisons (often in pellet form) are placed away from pets, rodents can carry them to pet-occupied areas..
  3. Methylxanthine (755 claims) – This includes theobromine and caffeine, both of which are common ingredients in chocolate..
  4. Plant Poisoning (466 claims) – Toxic plants include sago palms, tulips, oleander, hyacinths, poinsettias, azaleas, lilies and amaryllis. Onions, grapes and raisins are also categorized under the company’s plant toxicity code..
  5. Household Chemicals (313 claims) – This includes bleach, liquid potpourri, deodorant and other toiletries..
  6. Metaldyhyde (88 claims) – A component of snail bait..
  7. Organophosphate (60 claims) – This group of insecticides works to inactivate acetycholinesterase, which is essential to nerve function in insects and pets. Ingestion can occur through skin absorption or oral intake..
  8. Toad Poisoning (58 claims) – Some species of toad, particularly along the Gulf Coast, secrete a toxic substance when threatened or licked by dogs..
  9. Heavy Metals (48 claims) – This includes mercury, lead or excessive amounts of zinc, iron, cobalt and copper. Pets may be exposed to heavy metals through lead-based paint, ingestion of pennies coined after 1982, vitamins, soil contamination or water pollutants..
  10. Antifreeze (36 claims) – VPI notes that most pet owners are aware of the poisonous potential of antifreeze, but they may be unaware of a pool collecting from a leak beneath a car.


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