Unknown Dangers of PET Medication
Many of us take medication on a regular basis. Maybe it’s every day, for an ongoing condition, or perhaps only as needed for a headache. Most responsible adults know that it’s dangerous to take a medication prescribed for someone else, without a doctor’s advice. And they would never knowingly harm their children by giving them a medication prescribed for someone else.
What about our four-legged children? If your dog is like mine, anything dropped on the floor is fair game, and it’s a race to see which of us can get to it first! But while you may think it’s funny that Fido swallowed your pill, it can actually be dangerous. According to the ASPCA, about one-quarter of all calls to its Animal Poison Control Center are about human medications. Dropped pills can make your pet very, very sick and even, in some cases, cause death. The medication doesn’t even need to be prescription; many over-the-counter medications are also dangerous to pets. The following is a partial list:
Pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen (Aleve) can cause stomach ulcers and kidney damage. Prescription sleep aids (don’t leave them out on your bedside table) can cause elevated heart rates. Anticonvulsants can cause an opposite effect in animals – tremors and seizures. And antidepressants can cause extreme agitation and vocalization.
This isn’t a complete listing by any means – any human medication could harm your pet. Keep your furry friends safe by using common sense and following some simple guidelines:
- Don’t give your pet any medication unless specifically instructed to by a veterinarian
- Don’t leave medications sitting on a counter or anywhere within reach of pets.
- Pick up all dropped medications immediately
- If you do drop a pill and you think your pet has ingested it, call your veterinarian right away
Keep your medication safe and secure, and your pets will be safe as well!
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Anyone who takes medication prescribed for someone else puts themselves at risk of illness or even death – and this applies to your pets, too! Although there are many medications used in both animals and people, the effects, doses needed, and other things aren’t always the same.
What’s Safe for You Could Be Deadly to Your Pet?
As pet owners, we dread seeing our furry friends suffer pain. It’s natural to want to ease your pet’s pain if he’s experiencing illness or discomfort. Every pet owner must be aware that common medications used for adults and even children can be toxic or fatal to your pet. It is always recommended that you contact your veterinarian before administering any medications to your pets. It could be the difference between life and death.
Danger Lurks in the Medicine Cabinet
While some over-the-counter medications are used to treat cats and dogs, there is often a fine line between the effective dose and the toxic dose. Below is a list of some of the most dangerous drugs for cats and dogs:
- Tylenol: Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in this pain reliever, is very toxic in cats. The drug interferes with oxygen uptake in the blood of cats and can result in death if not treated promptly. Acetaminophen (also used in Excedrin and other aspirin-free drugs) can be used in dogs, but the dose is key. Consult with your veterinarian. Acetaminophen overdose in dogs can cause severe liver damage. As few as two regular-strength pills can cause overdose in dogs.
- Aspirin: This drug is also very toxic to cats except in a very low dose. Veterinarians will use aspirin as an anticoagulant for cats with heart disease, but this should only be done under a veterinarian’s supervision, as aspirin can be fatal. Dogs can tolerate this drug and veterinarians will sometimes recommend it for use as a pain reliever. Chronic use of the drug produces side effects.
- Ibuprofen: This is the active ingredient in over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Motrin, and “cold and flu” medications, and is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). This drug is never recommended for cats or dogs, as it can result in severe gastric ulcers or acute kidney failure. Accidental ingestion should be treated immediately. Ibuprofen and other human NSAIDS should never be used in pets, as there are veterinary specific NSAIDS that are less toxic. Drugs like Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Meloxicam are veterinary prescribed NSAIDS, and are much safer for pets.
- Naproxen: This is the active ingredient in Aleve or Anaprox, and is a very potent NSAID. Minute doses can result in severe symptoms of gastric ulcers, stomach perforations, or acute kidney failure in animals, and should never be used in animals.
There are some over-the-counter medicines that are safe to use on your pet and it’s very important that you consult your veterinarian for dosage instructions.
- Imodium: This drug can be used to treat diarrhea in dogs and cats. Collies and related breeds are prone to toxicity from this product, so it shouldn’t be used to treat that particular breed. If the treatment is not effective within 48 hours, stop using it.
- Metamucil: This can be used as a bulk laxative and stool softener in dogs and cats. It is also used to treat fiber responsive diarrhea. However, if your pet is suffering from an intestinal obstruction, Metamucil is not recommended.
Check back next week to learn what to do if your pets are poisoned!