ASPCA Issues Alert To Pet Owners During National Poison Prevention Week

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Many common human medications can be hazardous to pets.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is sending a nationwide alert to pet owners during National Poison Prevention Week (March 21 27) about common human medications that can be dangerous and even deadly to pets. Thousands of cats and dogs needlessly suffer and many die each year by accidental ingestion of human medications. In 2003, the Center managed over 28,000 cases involving human medications, and were second only to pesticides as the most commonly reported cause of poisonings in animals. By category, the most commonly reported medications included non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers, antidepressants, cold/flu medicines and diet pills.

"Many pet owners may not be aware that human medications can be dangerous to pets", comments Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. "While these medications can be helpful to humans, they can pose a serious and even life-threatening risk to animals." The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center provides the following tips to help keep pets safe from accidental exposures to human medications:

  • Human medications are not formulated for pets; never give your pets medication unless you are directed to do so by a veterinarian.
  • Keep all drugs out of your pets' reach in closed cabinets. Cats especially have the ability to jump onto tables and countertops, where medications can easily be knocked over. Child-proof containers do not deter dogs from chewing open bottles and ingesting the contents.
  • If you suspect that your pet may have ingested a medication or other poisonous substance, seek medical attention immediately.

For additional information on pet poison safety, visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center's interactive web experience, 'Make Your Pet's Home Poison Safe', at This educational feature is designed to help pet owners learn about common household toxins and guidelines to prevent accidental poisonings in the home.

For more information, or to contact American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, see their website at:

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