Troublemaker: Which dog breed is up to the most mischief?


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Deciding which dog breed to add to your brood at home? Of course you’re considering size, exercise requirements and how much barking you can stand. But have you also considered mischief level? It sounds adorable, but the bigger the troublemaker, the more potential danger your canine might find himself in.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did a little research and found that the Labrador retriever came in first place when it looked at cases handled by its Animal Poison Control Center. The APCC dealt with more than 180,000 instances of exposure to potentially poisonous substances in 2012. About 14,000 of those calls concerned Labs.

In addition, the APCC received far more calls about mischievous dogs than cats. Domestic shorthair cats were involved in about 10,000 cases (second on the list), but canines took nine of the top 10 spots. Mixed breeds (8,000 cases), Chihuahuas (4,833 cases), golden retrievers (4,819 cases) and Yorkshire terriers (3,800 cases) took the remaining top five slots of dog breeds.

“There is no telling what types of calls we will get on a given day at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, but there are clear trends that surface when we analyze our case data,” said Tina Wismer, medical director at the APCC. “Dogs explore the world with their mouths, so it is not surprising that the overwhelming majority of calls we get are from dog owners. The Labrador retriever is one of the most popular breeds in this country, and evidently they get into the most trouble as well.”

You should also be aware of which toxins people’s pets were nosing around in. According to the ASPCA, the top five calls involved these toxins.


1. Prescription human medications

The APCC handled 25,000 cases. The top three types were: heart medications (blood pressure pills), antidepressants and pain medications (opioids and prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Many cases involved the owner dropping pills on the floor as they prepared to take them.


2. Insecticides

Although only 11% of all calls involved insecticides, more than 50% of calls involving cats concerned insecticide exposure. Make sure to read labels before using any insecticide in or around your home.


3. Over-the-counter human products

More than 18,000 cases regarded over-the-counter human products, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen, as well as herbal and nutraceutical products (e.g., fish oil and joint supplements).


4. Veterinary products

Veterinary products made up about 6% of cases. This category includes OTC and prescription veterinary products.


5. Household products

More than 10,000 calls to the APCC concerned household products, which include fire logs and cleaning products.

Other toxins include people food, chocolate, plants, rodenticides, lawn and garden products, automotive products, and bites and stings.