A lot of the things we carry in our handbags, backpacks and briefcases are toxic to animals and that has lead to what the Pet Poison Helpline is calling an increase in 'purse poisonings'. Here are the top 5 causes.

  1. Medications. They account for nearly half of the calls to the helpline. We know that almost all prescription meds pose a risk to dogs and cats but over-the-counter painkillers like Advil, Motrin and Tylenol can also cause liver failure and other life threatening problems.
  2. Asthma inhalers. Dogs can easily chew through them and when that happens they can receive 200 human-sized doses at once.
  3. Sugarless mints and gum. The sugar substitute Xylitol that's found in mints, gum and toothpaste is highly toxic to dogs.
  4. Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and nicotine patches. A cat or a small dog can die from eating just 3 cigarettes. If you suspect your animal has gotten into any nicotine-laced product...get them to the vet immediately.
  5. Hand sanitizer. A travel-sized bottle of sanitizer contains enough alcohol to out small animals into a coma.

One final note here: Most of the experts we've interviewed over the years including our good friend Dr. Marty Becker recommend that you always have the Pet Poison Hotline handy and keep your purse and backpack away from your dog and cat.


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