(WFLX) - Accidental pet poisonings are on the rise, and some of the most common toxins are medicines their masters take -- that's right-people pills!
As we ingest more medicines for our daily aches, pains and diseases, it turns out our four-legged friends are also finding their way into the pills with drastic consequences.
For example, Gatsby ingested an entire bottle of prenatal vitamins, Otis ate calcium chews, and Foster found his way into both Benadryl and ibuprofen. "He had eaten the container and ingested some of the medicine also," said Jessica Merchant, Foster's owner
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals tells us its Animal Poison Control Center took more than 180,000 calls last year about pets getting into poisonous substances -- with prescription medicines for humans accounting for the majority of those calls.
"When people take their pills, they drop them on the floor, that little dog is just right there to scoop it up. So heart medications are number one. Also, we have a very high number of animals eating things like antidepressants and ADHD medications," said Tina Wismer, of the ASPCA poison control center
Over the counter medicines also present problems. "It only takes one extra strength naproxen to kill a Shih Tzu-type dog.
Ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure in dogs and cats and acetaminophen can actually cause the blood to change so it can't carry oxygen and cause liver failure," said Wismer.
Supplements make up more of the scares. They are more popular than ever with people, and now more enticing than ever to animals.
"Companies are constantly making more and more palatable supplements. And the soft gels, for example, are made from a gelatin, which is made from cow hide, which might be attractive to an animal," said Dr. Tod Cooperman, of consumerlab.com.
Dogs are more likely than cats to sniff their way into trouble with Labrador retrievers leading up the canine category. But no matter what the breed, how the animal recovers after an accidental poisoning depends on its weight, what kind of medicine is consumed, its prescription strength, and how much they ingested.
"I don't think the companies are going to make changes to their products to keep them safe from pets, but, I think, people can certainly be more aware that these can cause problems for their pets," said Cooperman.
Gatsby recovered on his own, and Otis ended up on an I-V. Foster vomited repeatedly. How can you protect your precious pet? "Make sure that they can't get on the counters, that the medications are kept in locked cabinets um or definitely up high so they can't get to them," said Wismer.
Another big toxin for pets is insecticides -- both the indoor and outdoor options.
Here are some tips to prevent your pet from ingesting dangerous poisons from .