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ASPCA / $60 to ask a question?!

1 United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: (888) 426-4435

My dog swallowed some claritin and I was really concerned about her. She's a big dog but she's still a puppy (6 months old).

I looked up the number for animal poison control and gave them a call. Since it's free to call poison control for humans I figured it would be for animals too! Boy was I wrong! They were going to charge me $60 to ask a question. What if the medication had no affect on my puppy? Then I'd be paying $60 to hear someone say "She'll be fine". I think it is ridiculous how the ASPCA claims to care about animals, yet they wouldn't help me help my dog. I was donating monthly to the ASPCA but I refuse to now. Because what have they done to help me lately? Not save my dog! Who happened to be a shelter dog! So I saved her life once, why can't they help me do it again?! I'm very very mad. I got in touch with a local animal hospital who was VERY helpful. After 2 previous ones turned me down and told me they would charge me $90 if they had to call poison control themselves. So much for caring about all animals.

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  • Iz
      21st of Aug, 2009
    -2 Votes

    I went through the same thing with my cat. I woke up to find out he'd figured out how to get into the attic and was covered in fiberglass. I wasn't sure how long he'd been in there, or how much he'd ingested cleansing himself- so I called ASPCA in a panic, and they charged me $60 for some girl to google "cats and fiberglass", tell me she didn't find anything about it being harmful to felines- and then to tell "monitor him- and if he acts strange, take him to the vet"! Really- 60 dollars for that? That was what I was already doing! I felt/ still feel like they took advantage of me because I was in an emergency situation and panicked, so at the time, would be willing to pay the $60 fee. I understand there being a fee, but it should be no more than $15-$20, especially just to tell me to monitor him. The vet would have cost less than that, and I would have taken him there, but they weren't open yet and the emergency vet line told me to call ASPCA.

  • Jo
      6th of Oct, 2009
    +3 Votes

    Claritin is actually one of the ASPCA's corporate clients, so had you called and given them a chance, the consultation would have been free.

    Human poison control centers are funded by the government and your tax dollars, so technically, they are not free either. The ASPCA is a non-for-profit organization, so the only way the Animal Poison Control Center can stay open is by charging that fee.

    Also, under that fee, the pet owner, any treating veterinarians, or anybody really can call back with any questions or concerns at no additional charge.

    The staff there undergo extensive training in toxicology and hold medical licenses.

  • Sm
      22nd of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    The funding that non-profit organizations get from American tax dollars and government funding is for the specific purpose of allowing Americans to get a service they need without being charged. After all, the purpose of non-profit org's and Pro-Bono business is to give service without required charge to Americans in need of said service. Donations, charity and government/tax funding is how they stay open. Now, to obligate a consumer to pay "65 dollars" just to hear their beloved pet will be fine is a prime example of America's hypocrisy at it's finest. In cases where the news is that simple, no fee should be charged - that's just plain pathetic. The world does not offer enough care for pets, and as they become children to most, organizations can take advantage and maximize profit by knowing you have no other option. I believe charging anything is an outrage. However, to make extra profit I would deem it democratically fair to charge pet owners a varied fee whom, at the end of their consultation, actually had taken up considerable time and thought of the experts on staff and receive -pertinent- information on the saving of a pet's life. To charge someone who is simply on the phone for ten minutes and get's a "she is fine", or a "keep an eye on him and think about taking him in for a check up in the morning" is outrageous theft. There are plenty of non-profit organizations who don't back themselves into hypocrisy to fund their programs. For a program whose motto is based on saving the life of a -loved one- simply because they care, they make an awful lot of bank they don't earn out of a "good deed".

  • So
      8th of Sep, 2018
    0 Votes

    @SmithInc No disrespect, but I was wondering what kind of person doesn’t understand that services can’t sustain if they are free. When you used the word “Democratically fair”, that sort of explained it.

  • Se
      26th of Jun, 2012
    -2 Votes

    I called last night because my pomeranian got into my daughters cold pm pill ate maybe 1/2 half of it.. I didnt have 500.00 to rush to ER.. So I needed advice and told me 65.00 but couldnt tell me ahead of time if I wasnt gonna be told that I would need to take him to Er so I would of paid 65.00 just have them tell me I needed to take to An Animal Faciltiy unbelievable talk about greed.. when you're scared and just wants so simple answers as what to do you get that will be $65.00 to answer youre question can't depend on anyone soon there will be a charge to call 911...My dog is fine but thanks to the internet...

  • Br
      16th of Mar, 2014
    +3 Votes

    Honestly, why do you think that your questions should be answered for free? It's not phone-a-friend, it's a legitimate professional service staffed by highly trained veterinarians. They also perform extensive research about toxins, plants, household products, and medications, and will provide detailed instructions for treatment to your veterinarian. They have an extensive database that exists nowhere else. How do you think that it is free to provide this? Sorry if it costs you $65 for advice that may save your pets life. It could very well be the best $65 you ever spent. If you want to just rely on dr google, sure, why not, when has anyone ever posted anything on the internet which was inaccurate? What a bunch of ###s you all are. If you can't spend money to see if your pet is potentially at risk of illness or death, then don't have a pet.

  • An
      18th of Aug, 2014
    -6 Votes

    I called today also and was told a charge of 65 dollars needed to be paid before she could get a vet to look up the answer. I can google myself for free. I called animal control 2 years ago about my dog and there was no charge then so why all of a sudden.

  • So
      8th of Sep, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Anytime51266 One is funded by tax dollars, the other is not. You should have googled for free as a first step, instead of looking for free stuff. That only exists for humans. Animals don’t vote so nobody needs to promise them free stuff.

  • Ju
      11th of Dec, 2014
    -1 Votes

    The reasons you shouldn't be charged a whopping $65 is because 1) it is an emergency TELEPHONE response system. There is nothing costly about a phone call. 2)You don't even speak to an "expert", just some telephone operator who looks up certain keywords on a database. 3) Sometimes it is just useless general advice that people are already doing, so why charge when there is no actual service provided? I've volunteered with the ASPCA for almost fifteen years and watched them become a self righteous organization that turns away so many needy animals now because their reputation and funding can finally afford to do that. Meanwhile, kill shelters like Animal Care and Control in NYC don't have the funding or manpower to even keep the animals they rescue alive despite being forced by the city to accept EVERY animal surrendered to them on a severely limited budget.

  • Te
      16th of Jan, 2015
    +2 Votes

    The staff at the poison control are all legit people. They all are veterinary professionals that use their knowledge they learned in years of schooling and an extensive database of substances animals get into to let you know if your pet will be alright or not. They do not just "google" your answer but ask toxicologists that work there as well.
    Poison control hotlines for humans are funded by the government and your taxes pay for it, why it is free for you to call.
    The animal poison control is non-profit and has to charge a fee to keep their door open.
    Your regular vet may want you to get a case number from them because they are they experts in the field of toxicology, just like how your human doctor refers you to a cardiologist for your heart problem. They refer to the ASPCA for toxic exposures to get you the best and more accurate medical advice out there.
    In no way or shape it is a scam.
    Oh and donations to the ASPCA go to several programs they have, not just one. Your money is being well used for the care and handling of animals.

  • Hl
      10th of Feb, 2015
    -1 Votes

    The ASPCA poison control saved my dog's life. I accidentally gave her Zyrtec D which has pseudoephedrine which is extremely harmful to dogs. I had taken her to the local emergency clinic and they sent me home with acepromazine pills to give her and she would probably be fine. I was not satisfied and after waiting 3 hours there was no change so I called the ASPCA. They were very patient, asked several questions to determine the extent of her poisoning and answered all my concerns. They provided me with a case number and told me to go back to the clinic because there were many more things the vets needed to do to help my dog. They said to have the clinic call them and reference the case number so they were prepared to help. It wasn't until the end of the call that they asked for the money, which helps fund the help they provide. On my way back to the clinic I called the clinic to give them the case number and told them to call the ASPCA. By the time I got there they had received a list of items to do for my dog along with consequences if it didn't work. I will be always greatful for their help and if you don't feel that $65 is worth your dog's life or to help other people's dogs that are in danger than you probably shouldn't own pets.

  • Ju
      6th of Mar, 2015
    -2 Votes

    My Golden Retriever @ 70 lbs. ate a fairly large onion the other night and I know they can be poisonous so I called ASPCA Poison Control last night after the On Call Emergency Hospital told me to call them on my way into there office. I never called ASPCA Poison control on the way and the vet on call seemed puzzled as to why I wouldn't call. I told her she was a veterinarian and I would assume she had some type of education that would be considerably better than me looking up answers on google but she said No... She could treat my dog for toxicity but really had no clue what doses were needed for my dogs weight and based on how much she ingested.

    So, I ended up calling ASPCA while they were making my dog vomit. The ASPCA charged me the fee of $65.00 and there was no way of getting around it. I was assigned a case number and the vet actually had to call the Call In number and speak w/ one of the ASPCA vets to get direction. I was offered two choices of treatment. One was X-rays, fluids, overnight stay, blood work etc. for the tune of $1500.00-$1700.00 or they just administered fluid under her skin to keep her hydrated in addition to the making her vomit. I chose that option and all together it cost me: $336.00.

    I really think that ASPCA charges way to much considering most emergency situations are going to be costly and the customer should be offered the option to pay what they can since so many donations are sent into ASPCA. That's just my opinion.

    Also, if your dog eats onions. Induce vomiting right away: and keep them hydrated. If you do this within the first hour of ingestion your dog should be fine and you won't waste the money like I did.

  • Da
      9th of Oct, 2015
    -1 Votes

    Has anyone tried to dispute the charge that they charge to tell you "You should probably take your dog to the vet" .. ??? Seems ridiculous to charge someone to tell them to take their pet to the vet, when the whole reason for calling the Poison Control is to avoid going to the vet!

  • Je
      27th of Mar, 2017
    0 Votes

    Same experience as many others here. We had our dog get into some rat poison. Quickly googled and gave him Hydrogen Peroxide to induce vomiting. We called this number hoping to receive assurance, or that the dog would be fine given the amount eaten and his size.. No, their only suggestion was - "See a vet". They were much more concerned with collecting their $65 than anything else. I totally understand that the ASPCA is a non-profit, that their funding must come from somewhere, and that someone is consulting a professional veterinarian somewhere about my problem, but for Pete's sake, have some compassion or understanding. If your only suggestion is, 'see a vet' why do you exist? Why not have a website that says, in big flashing letters, "SEE A VET"?

  • Ch
      16th of Jul, 2017
    0 Votes

    I had the same experience. My cat is like a dog and gets into anything that is left out on our counters. She ate an entire milk chocolate bar in the middle of the night and when I woke up she was already experiencing diarrhea. I googled it quick and it said any amount of chocolate could be lethal because of the sugar and caffeine. My cat is a rescue and had panleuk as a kitten (basically distemper for cats) and already has neurological damage from it. I called 3 vets, one of them being an emergency 24 hr hospital, and they all told me to call poison control. I was scared that if I paid the $65 they would just tell me to bring my cat to the vet. I would not be able to afford $65 PLUS vet fees and would be much more willing to actually have someone examine her hands on rather than listen to her symptoms over the phone. I was left with no choice. Poison Control told me I had to pay $65 before they could give me any information. I paid it, then they told me my cat was fine and to keep an eye on her. Wow, thanks...seriously??? It's a money making gimmick and they should not be charging for emergency situations! Especially when they end up just telling you "your pet is fine." Again, my cat is a rescue. She's from North Shore Animal League. I've donated to them and I go to their events regularly. If you want to support a program besides the money hungry ASPCA, I suggest North Shore. They're the nations largest no kill shelter and are truly giving and compassionate individuals.

  • Ka
      11th of Apr, 2018
    0 Votes

    Just last week in April 2018, the ASPCA raided an animal sanctuary in New Mexico called Paals for Life/Dreampower Foundation. Their facebook page is

    Not only does ASPCA conveniently leave out the sanctuary’s real name in the news, but deceived the public into thinking that the Owner was some horrible human who intentionally abused her animals

    The fact is, the 460 acre Paals for Life ranch in New Mexico was a sanctuary for dogs and cats who would otherwise be designated by animal welfare officials as unadoptable or expendable due to physical or mental age-related conditions. This was their mission statement long before the ASPCA raided them.

    The ASPCA’s solution is to bash the sanctuary, steal the animals, destroy the ranch financially, claiming to rescue the animals and bring to their shelters to be put up for adoption? Whaat..?

    When people ask the ASPCA on their FB page about this, the ASPCA refuses to answer and eventually deletes the comment if you keep pressing the issue. In fact, they delete most comments that are not positive or from Donors who want answers.

    My question is why would the ASPCA not help a fellow cats/dogs sanctuary to get back on their feet? Why would they bash them publicly and destroy the sanctuary financially so everyone suffers including the remaining animals?

    There can only be 1 answer and that is that the ASPCA is a fraud. They claim to care about animals but their agenda is really to profit from destroying no-kill sanctuaries like Paals for Life.. Donations and adoptions is all they care about, but I’m convinced that these rescue animals never make it to the shelter to be put up for adoption. 😥

    What can anyone do about this? How can we break this story and let the public know what is really going on?

    Here’s a few great links to research, which provides enough facts to bring heavy suspicion to the ASPCA’s agenda.

    Owner of Paals

    The horrible truth about the ASPCA

  • So
      8th of Sep, 2018
    0 Votes

    The aspca helped save my dog’s life. My little dog got ahold of a potentially fatal medication that the aspca immediately consulted with the vet emergency dr about. Why is it people expect any profession involving animals to offer their services for free as a way of proving they love animals?! I love my job, as many of us do, but nobody is asking us to do it for free to prove that love! And, none of us would agree to do so! We all have bills to pay and that’s what we work for - money to survive! People, were all in the same boat! If you don’t work for free, neither should anyone else!

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