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Back to School Pet Safety

Every August, the Animal Poison Control Center sees an increase in backpack-related toxicities. One of the most common complaints we hear is that an owner’s dog or cat got into a child’s backpack and ingested something problematic, and the yearly top toxins list always includes human medications.
Here are some tips on what to watch out for in the back-to-school season.
These often become receptacles for anything and everything, including:
• Gum (which can contain xylitol)
• ADHD medication (which are often amphetamines)
• Albuterol inhalers
• Over-the-counter medications (especially NSAIDs and acetaminophen)
• Illicit drugs and synthetic marijuana can also find their way into backpacks and cause a variety of signs from depression to agitation and seizures
Lunch Boxes
Along with backpacks, lunch boxes attract items that are unhealthy for pets:
• Grapes
• Raisins
• Onions
• Macadamia nuts
• Old and moldy foods that can cause toxicities


Human medications are the most common exposure in our patients, and you will likely run across a medication in your practice that you’ve never encountered before.
Atomoxetine is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor used to treat ADHD in humans.