Back to School Pet Safety

posted: by: New Holland Vet Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

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. This article can tell you more about this medication, signs of ingestion in pets, and how to best treat them.

Candy's Backpack Adventure


Test your toxicology knowledge in treating this case (and check out the article above to help you solve the puzzle): Candy the chocolate Lab is back again this month and has gotten herself into another pickle – this time ingesting atomoxetine out of her 9-year-old human's backpack.