When your pet is feeling under the weather, you naturally want them to feel better as quickly as possible. So, does that mean you can use your own medications to address their symptoms and offer them relief?
Actually, no. Not only are human medications often inappropriate to pets; but even when they are appropriate, the correct dosage might vary wildly from our own. How your pet metabolizes medications might differ significantly from how your body processes them. Plus, body weight is a major factor in dosage.
Some of our medications also contain inactive ingredients (additives) that are perfectly fine for us but can be toxic to animals. And finally, the ingredients in any medication can interact with other medications that your pet might be taking. You never want to offer any medication, human or animal, without checking to be sure there are no interaction risks.
Some of the most frequent emergency situations seen by vets include accidental ingestion of human medications, or even intentional dosage by a well-meaning person who only wanted to help their pet feel better. The following items commonly inhabit many home medicine cabinets; while fine for you, they could be toxic for your pet.
- NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Naproxen)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin, Migraine)
- Antidepressants (Cymbalta, Lexapro, Prozac)
- ADD/ADHD medications (Adderall, Ritalin)
- Sleep aids (Ambien, Lunesta)
- Blood pressure medications (Altace, Coreg, Tenormin, Toprol, Zestril)
And on the topic of accidental ingestion: Remember that your pet explores their environment orally. This is especially true of young pets, like kittens and puppies. When encountering an unfamiliar food-like object, many pets test it out with a lick, chew, or even complete ingestion. Keep your medicine cabinet out of reach for pets, just to be sure.
Finally, remember that medications often lurk in purses and luggage. Watch out for your own mistakes, and politely remind guests to keep medications securely zipped away in their bags.
If you suspect accidental ingestion of a medication, call us so that we can see your pet right away. And when your pet is feeling sick, let’s discuss safe and appropriate ways to help them feel better soon.