Can you guess the top pet poisoning culprits?

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI) has analyzed its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to find the sources behind the hundreds of poisoning claims submitted to VPI every month. Following is a ranking of the nearly 20,000 pet poisoning claims VPI received between 2005 and 2009:

Accidental Ingestion of Medications (pet or human drugs) 5,131
Rodenticide (mouse & rat poison)  4,028
Methylxanthine Toxicity (chocolate, caffeine) 3,661
Plant Poisoning  2,808
Household Chemicals 1,669
Metaldehyde (snail, slug poison)  396
Insecticide 323
Heavy Metal Toxicity (lead, zinc) 288
Toad Poisoning 270
Antifreeze Poisoning 213
Walnut Poisoning  100
Alcohol Toxicity 75
Strychnine 28

VPI policyholders spent more than $6.6 million between 2005 and 2009 treating their pets for poisoning. Accidental ingestion of pet or human medications, the most common type of poisoning, cost policyholders an average of $791 per claim. The most expensive type of poisoning, heavy metal poisoning, cost an average of $952 per claim.

For more information about pet poisoning prevention and poisoning first-aid, please visit the Pet Poison Helpline at

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