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Pet Poison Helpline: Dogs are the Real Potheads, Cats Should Avoid Lilies

By Pet Age Staff//December 13, 2023//

Pet Poison Helpline: Dogs are the Real Potheads, Cats Should Avoid Lilies

By: Pet Age Staff//December 13, 2023//

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Press release: Pet Poison Helpline

According to case data released by Pet Poison Helpline, marijuana is on this year’s Top 10 Pet Poisons list for dogs, while cats don’t seem to be too interested in sampling the “jazz cabbage.” Chocolate, however, is a toxin that has cross-over appeal to both species.

Pet Poison Helpline provides toxicology advice for all species of animals, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. Dog-related incidents account for 88 percent of calls, 11 percent are cat-related and the remainder are other species. Here is a list of Pet Poison Helpline’s Top 10 Pet Poisons for all species in 2023:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Grapes/Raisons
  3. Ibuprofen
  4. Xylitol
  5. Bromethalin (Rat Poison)
  6. Marijuana
  7. Onions/Chives/Leeks/Shallots (Allium species)
  8. Anticoagulant Rat Poison
  9. Vitamin D3 (supplement)
  10. Carprofen (pain medication)

“Chocolate is once again our top toxin for all species,” explained Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. “Even though it is widely known that pets shouldn’t consume chocolate-containing products, they constantly find a way. While chocolate consumption is the No. 1 toxin for dogs, it is the No. 2 poison on the feline list.”

Common chocolate poisoning signs include hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, elevated heart rate, hypertension, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors and hyperthermia.

“When we broke down the overall Top 10 Pet Poisons list by cats and dogs, we found some toxins that are specific to each,” Schmid explained. ”

The following is the Top 10 Pet Poisons list for dogs in 2023:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Grapes/Raisons
  3. Xylitol
  4. Ibuprofen
  5. Bromethalin (Rat Poison)
  6. Marijuana
  7. Anticoagulant Rat Poison
  8. Onions/Chives/Leeks/Shallots (Allium species)
  9. Vitamin D3 (supplement)
  10. Carprofen (pain medication)

“Both marijuana and carprofen made their first appearance on our canine Top 10 list last year, and they appear again on our 2023 list,” Dr. Schmid said. “As more states legalize medical and recreational cannabis, the more marijuana-related calls we are receiving. Interestingly, dogs seem to be much more attracted to marijuana, as cannabis didn’t make the feline Top 10 list.”

Carprofen is a prescription pain-relief product approved by the FDA specifically for dogs. While it is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) similar to ibuprofen for humans, it is a safer product for dogs when used at therapeutic dosing levels to treat short and long-term pain.

Following is the Top 10 Pet Poisons list for cats in 2023:

  1. Lilies
  2. Chocolate
  3. Onions/Chives/Leeks/Shallots (Allium species)
  4. Garlic
  5. Ibuprofen
  6. Vitamin D3 (supplement)
  7. Alstroemeria, Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria species)
  8. Amphetamine combos (ADHD medication)
  9. Tulips (Tulipa species)
  10. Daylily (Hemerocallis species)

“Cats are incredibly attracted to plants and flowers, particularly lilies,” Dr. Schmid added. “Three different varieties of lilies appear in our feline Top 10 list, which also includes tulips. Surprisingly, marijuana was not on our Top 10 feline list.”

Many kinds of plants are found or sold with “lily” as part of their name. If you live with cats, it is critical to know which lilies are toxic to your feline friend. The most dangerous and potentially fatal lilies for cats are “true lilies” or those in the genus Lilium. Common examples include Oriental hybrid lilies, roselily, Star Gazer and Casa Blanca lilies — these beautiful, fragrant and affordable flowers are often found in cut-flower bouquets. Other examples include potted Easter lilies or garden plants such as Asiatic and tiger lilies. Additionally, daylilies (Hemerocallis), although not a true lily, may also cause kidney failure in cats.

Exposure to any part of the plant, including leaves, flowers, pollen, or even the water from the vase may result in acute kidney failure in cats. These ingestions are medical emergencies requiring immediate veterinary care. Early decontamination, aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, renal function tests, and supportive care greatly improve the cat’s prognosis. Dogs may experience minor gastrointestinal upset after ingestion of these lilies but do not appear to develop kidney damage.

“While our Top 10 list provides pet lovers with the most common poisons, there are hundreds of toxins that can be dangerous to your pet,” Dr. Schmid explained. “We offer a free poison list on our website that helps pet lovers identify potential toxins and provides common symptoms. If you are concerned about something your pet has come in contact with, or has ingested, contact your veterinarian or call us.”

“If you do need to take your pet to the emergency hospital, we can develop treatment options on your way in,” Dr. Schmid added. “In many poisoning cases, time is critical, and most veterinarians value the additional toxicology expertise. In fact, 96% of veterinarians surveyed said they were likely to recommend Pet Poison Helpline to pet owners.”

In addition to releasing its annual Top 10 toxins list, Pet Poison Helpline created an educational campaign called Toxin Tails to educate the veterinary community and pet lovers on the many types of poisoning dangers facing pets, both in and out of the home. All the pets highlighted in Toxin Tails have been successfully treated for the poisoning and fully recovered.