Poison Control

If your animal ingests any toxic or questionable item, immediately call our emergency phone line at (406) 862-3178 to speak to an on-call veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Help Center at (888) 426-4435.

With various dangers lurking in corners and cabinets, the home can be a minefield of poisons for our pets. In 2008, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL, handled more than 140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which included everyday household products. Don’t leave it up to Fido or Fluffy to keep themselves safe. 

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your PetWarm Weather HazardsMedications
People food like grapes, raisins, avocado and certain citrus fruit can seriously harm our furry friends. One of the worst offenders—chocolate—contains large amounts of methylxanthines, which, if ingested in significant amounts, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, and in severe cases, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures. Here is a list of human foods to avoid:Alcoholic beveragesAvocadoChocolate (all forms)Coffee (all forms)Fatty foodsMacadamia nutsMoldy or spoiled foodsOnions, onion powderRaisins and grapesSaltYeast doughGarlicProducts sweetened with xylitol such as chewing gum and some peanut buttersIn our effort to battle home invasions of unwelcome pests, we often unwittingly put our pets at risk. One of the most common incidents involved the misuse of flea and tick products—such as applying the wrong topical treatment to the wrong species. Thus, it’s always important to talk to your pet’s veterinarian before beginning any flea and tick control program. Other warm weather hazards include:Animal toxins – toads, insects, spiders, snakes, and scorpionsBlue-gree algae in ponds and standing waterCitronella candlesCocoa mulchCompost piles and fertilizersFlea productsOutdoor plants and bulbsSwimming-pool treatment supplies and chemicalsFly baits containing methomylSlug and snail baits containing metaldehydeFor several years, human medications have been number one on the ASPCA’s list of common hazards. In one year, the ASPCA will manage more than 50,000 calls involving prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as painkillers, cold medications, antidepressants and dietary supplements. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up medications accidentally dropped on the floor, so it’s essential to keep meds tucked away in hard-to-reach cabinets.Common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets – even in small doses – include:Pain killersCold medicinesCancer medicationsAntidepressantsVitaminsDiet pillsBirth control pillsMedical marijuana in any form
Cold Weather HazardsCommon Household HazardsHoliday Hazards
Last year, the ASPCA received approximately 8,000 calls about pets who had accidentally ingested rat and mouse poisons. Many baits used to attract rodents contain inactive ingredients that are attractive to pets as well. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestions can lead to potentially life-threatening problems for pets, including bleeding, seizures and kidney damage.AntifreezeIce meltsRat and mouse baits and poisons – there are two types of rodent poisons: one is an anticoagulant will cause bleeding from different areas such as nose, rectum, penis, etc. The other type will cause and increase in thirst, frequent urination, vomiting, weakness, muscle twitching, seizures, and eventually death. Symptoms do not appear immediately but from 18 hours to several days later. Within 4 hours of ingestions, it is imperative that vomiting is induced and your pet brought to the veterinarian immediately. If it is not possible to induce vomiting at home, bring your pet to the veterinarian right away.A category on the rise, chemical hazards—found in ethylene glycol antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners and pool/spa chemicals—form a substantial danger to pets. Substances in this group can cause gastrointestinal upset, depression, respiratory difficulties and chemical burns. Everybody knows that household cleaning supplies can be toxic to adults and children, but few take precautions to protect their pets from common agents such as bleaches, detergents and disinfectants. Last year, the ASPCA received more than 3,200 calls related to household cleaners. These products, when inhaled by our furry friends, can cause serious gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the respiratory tract.Fabric softener sheetsLiquid potpourriMothballsPost-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)Common houseplants are the subject of nearly 8,000 calls per year to the ASPCA Poison Control Center. Varieties such as azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, lilies, kalanchoe and schefflera are often found in homes and can be harmful to pets. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, and can cause life-threatening kidney failure even in small amounts.Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomachElectrical cordsRibbons or tinsel can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction – most often occurs in kittensBatteriesGlass ornamentsMistletoe and hollyAmaryllas and azalea plants
Non-toxic substances 
The following substances are considered to be non-toxic, though they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals:Water-based paintsToilet bowl waterSilica gelPoinsettiaCat litterGlue trapsGlow sticks/jewelryAnt baits

Visit www.aspca.org/apcc to learn how to poison proof your home.