Every day veterinarians treat puppies and dogs that have taken human medication; most, which can be or are toxic to our canine companions.
The degree of danger often depends on the type and amount of medication consumed, as well as the size, age, and general health of the dog. Smaller breeds, especially toys, puppies, and older dogs are at higher risk for serious or fatal incidents. Dogs with pre-existing health problems, such as liver, kidney, or heart disease, are also extremely vulnerable.
Consult with your veterinarian before administering any human medications. They will most likely approve a buffered or baby aspirin as a general pain reliever. Follow their instructions!
It is vital for the safety of your puppy or dog to ensure that all medications are out of reach. If you have a climber or a counter-surfer, put your medications in a medicine cabinet, a drawer or a safe closet.
Never store medicine in plastic bags. Make sure that bags, briefcases, backpacks and suitcases that contain medicine are where your pet cannot put them.
A puppy or dog can easily break a medicine container with their teeth! Plastic is like a magnet to them!
Inform the guests of the house about the rules of their medication. Be sure to track your compliance!
Do not store human and pet medications together.
When you count the medications, take your pet out of the room. If you drop one, they’ll find it faster than you!
Store medications in a safe container.
Do not leave medications on the nightstands.
Supervise children and the elderly when they administer their medications. It’s too easy for an accident to happen if you drop the pill, or just give it to the dog!
If you drop a pill, stop and look for it immediately! Don’t wait, you can forget … and a puppy or dog won’t take a second to make fun of you!
Drooling, vomiting, seizures, disorientation, tremors, pale gums, and lethargy are often common signs that a dog has gotten into something that it shouldn’t have eaten.
If you suspect that your pet has taken the medicine, don’t risk it; take them to the nearest vet right away.
Medications and signs to watch out for:
ACE Inhibitors – High Blood Pressure (ie Altace, Zestril …) Especially dangerous for dogs with kidney and heart disease. Take them to the nearest vet right away! Watch for low blood pressure (pale gums), dizziness, lethargy, or weakness.
Cancer Drugs – (ie Fluorouracil) Seriously! Watch for vomiting, cardiac arrest, seizures, coma, and death.
Antidepressants (ie Effexor, Prozac, Cymbalta, Lexapro …) Watch for elevated heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, sedation, tremors, and seizures.
Antidiabetic (ie Avandia Oral, Actos Oral, Avandamet Oral …) Be on the lookout for disorientation, low blood sugar, and seizures.
Benzodizepines – Sleep aids (ie Xanax, Ambien, Lunesta, Klonopin …) Watch for agitation, severe lethargy, disorientation, incoordination, appearing drunk, and slow breathing.
Beta-blockers: high blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms (ie Sectral, Coreg, Tenermin, Toral, Levatol, Inderal, Zebeta …) Serious! Watch for low blood pressure (pale gums) and slower heart rate
Cholesterol lowering medications (ie Lipitor, Zocur, Crestor …) Watch for vomiting and diarrhea.
Cox-2 Inhibitors – Arthritis Medications – (i.e. Celebrex, Vioxx, Rubrin, Previcox, Dermaxx, Metacam, Rimadyl …) Watch for lethargy, vomiting, drooling, shortness of breath, restlessness, pale gums, thirst, loss of appetite, depression, diarrhea, and weakness.
Muscle relaxants (ie Baclofen, Soma, Flexeril, Zanaflex, Skelaxin …) will damage your central nervous system. Be on the lookout for depression, disorientation, weakness, vocalization, seizures, coma, and death.
Narcotics: pain relievers (i.e. codeine, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphine, levorphanol, methadone, hydrocodone, vicodin, benzodiazepeins, barbiturates …) Serious! Don’t waste a minute … take your pet to the nearest vet! Watch for depression, disorientation, drooling, vomiting, lethargy, weakness, vocalization, seizures, coma, and death.
NSAIDs Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ie Tylenol, Ibupropen, Ascriptin, Naproxen …) Watch for pale gums, restlessness, trouble breathing, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. Take your pet to a vet right away.
Cold and Sinus Medications (ie most OTC medications) Serious! Take your pet to the nearest vet. Watch for high blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, seizures, and death.
Thyroid Medications (ie Desiccated Thyroid Armor, Synthroid …) Many dogs are prescribed human thyroid medication. If your dog is getting an extreme dose, watch out for aggression, panting, muscle tremors, drooling, and rapid heart rate.
Tuberculosis drugs (ie Isonziazid …) Serious! Take your pet to a vet right away. Watch for seizures, coma, and death.
Bottom line: If you take precautions and focus when taking or administering medications, you shouldn’t have a problem. But accidents happen. To be prepared. Know what to watch out for and don’t hesitate to take your pet to the nearest vet right away! In a matter of minutes it could be the difference between life and death!