Top 5 pet toxins

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Prescription medications for human use top the list of pet toxins for the fourth year in a row, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Ill., fielded more than 165,000 phone calls in 2011 regarding exposures of pets to potentially poisonous substances. The top five toxins that prompted calls were as follows:

  1. Prescription human medications

    The center received almost 25,000 calls regarding pets ingesting prescription medications intended for human use. A large percentage of the calls were about heart medications and medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

  2. Insecticides

    About 11 percent of calls concerned insecticides such as lawn products, home products, and flea and tick products.

  3. Over-the-counter human medications

    Almost 18,000 calls were about over-the-counter human-use medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

  4. People foods

    More than 7,600 calls concerned chocolate. Xylitol was the second most common human food that prompted calls.

  5. Household items

    The center received nearly 12,000 calls about general household items such as paint, fire logs, and drain openers.

The center's 24-hour hotline is (888) 426-4435.