Pets Best Announces Survey Results of Top Toxic Substances for U.S. Dogs and Cats

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Sick dog visits veterinarian after ingesting toxicity.

BOISE, Idaho – Common household items top the list of toxic substances that send pets in for veterinary visits, according to a new survey released by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC (Pets Best).

Toxins are one of the most frequent pet insurance claims submitted by pet owners partly due to the seemingly innocent nature of many substances that can harm dogs and cats.

Chocolate, headache medicine, grapes and raisins can all cause serious harm to dogs and make up some of the most likely substances to set off an emergency situation, according to the Pets Best survey. Cats are poisoned most often with a common flower, lilies, but also are susceptible to headache medicine, onions, chives and garlic.

“The majority of items on these lists are not toxic to humans,” said Dr. Jack Stephens, founder of Pets Best. “I’ve always felt that without that element of personal danger, many people tend to not realize the potentially harmful items that can be accessed by their pets.”
Even the most responsible owners can be surprised by what their pet finds in and around the house. Pets Best hopes that by raising awareness of these toxins that pet owners may be able to prevent these threats to their pets before they occur, keeping both pets and owners happy and healthy.

Both dogs and cats can also land at the veterinarian for more obvious dangers. Mouse/Rat poison is the second most common toxin causing a vet visit for dogs, and the third most common for cats, according to the survey.

The national survey was conducted by Pets Best Pet Insurance via an online survey administered between March 19 and April 21, 2015. A total of 362 veterinarians responded.

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The most common toxic substances veterinarians treat dogs for include:

Rank Substance                                    Percent of All Responses
1 Chocolate                                             47.6%
2 Mouse/Rat Poison                               28.8%
3 Marijuana                                              6.1%
4 Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen        5.2%
5 Grapes and Raisins                              2.0%
6 Xylitol                                                     2.0%
7 Anti-Freeze                                            1.7%
8 Human Medications                              1.4%
9 Mushrooms                                           0.6%
10 Sago Palm                                           0.6%

The most common toxic substances veterinarians treat cats for include:

Rank Substance                                    Percent of All Responses
1 Lilies                                                     41.2%
2 Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen       21.3%
3 Mouse/Rat Poison                               12.1%
4 Dog Flea & Tick Products                    7.8%
5 Onions / Chives / Garlic                       2.9%
6 Sago Palm                                            2.0%
7 Other human medications                    1.7%
8 Chocolate                                             1.4%
9 Other Plants                                         1.4%
10 Amaryllis                                            1.2%

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“If a pet owner suspects their dog or cat has consumed any of these toxins, they should contact their veterinarian immediately,” said Dr. Stephens, “A quick response to the consumption of any toxic substance can mean a huge advantage in saving a pet’s life.”

About Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC
Dr. Jack L. Stephens, founder and director of Pets Best, founded pet insurance in the U.S. in 1981 with a mission to end euthanasia when pet owners couldn’t afford veterinary treatment. Dr. Stephens went on to present the first U.S. pet insurance policy to famous television dog Lassie. Pets Best provides coverage for dogs and cats. Dr. Stephens leads the Pets Best team with his passion for quality pet care and his expert veterinary knowledge. He is always available to answer questions regarding veterinary medicine, pet health and pet insurance. The Pets Best team is a group of pet lovers who strive to deliver quality customer service and value. Visit for more information.

Pet insurance coverage offered and administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company. Independence American Insurance Company is a member of The IHC Group, an organization of insurance carriers and marketing and administrative affiliates that has been providing life, health, disability, medical stop-loss and specialty insurance solutions to groups and individuals for over 30 years. For information on The IHC Group, visit: Additional insurance services administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC are underwritten by Prime Insurance Company. Some existing business is underwritten by Aetna Insurance Company of Connecticut. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products.

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Pets Best is a proud member of the North America Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).


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