6 Common Medications that are Poisonous for Pets | What to Do

When Your Pet Eats Human Medicine

My son takes several medications every day. We have a new dog in our house. He’s a border collie mix, so he’s quite agile and smart. And, a counter surfer. I crate him when I am preparing Kevin’s medications or feedings.

Most parents know to keep medications out of children’s reach, but they don’t necessarily think about those same things in relation to their pets . Pets can also get into medications that are not intended for them and can cause harm.

medicine poisonous for dogs

We need to know which medications are particularly dangerous for your pets. Especially when I saw some very common items on the list. The best thing you can do is keep it where they cannot get to it. I know many clever dogs and some that will counter surf and open cabinets.

Rx in our Households

Yes, some of these listed below are over the counter and not prescription. But, sometimes we may receive a special prescription dosage after a surgery or other event.

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I came across this list the other day and thought I’d share. It was a brochure at my vet’s office. Since many families living with disabilities also live with a full medicine cabinet, it’s good information to have.

  • Pain Relievers-such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, and Tylenol
  • Antidepressants-Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor
  • ADD/ADHD meds-Ritalin, Vyvanse
  • Sleep aids-Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta
  • Muscle relaxants-Lioresal, Flexeril
  • Heart meds-Cartia, Cardizem

I have found that many dogs are really dumb and will eat anything. And some medications are “candy coated” make it more palatable for swallowing, which may make it more appealing for your pet.

Prevention is Key!

The easiest way to not have an emergency is to prevent it. And, medication emergencies are preventable.

The other day I had a granola bar in my backpack which was on the living room floor. Yep, the dogs found it and ate it, and some of the wrapper too. While you might think that your medications in your purse are safe and have no discernable smells, dogs may think otherwise.

  1. Child-proof bottles mean nothing to a dog. Most dogs can quickly chew a bottle open to get to the medications inside.
  2. For the purposes of Rx, think of your pet as a toddler. Don’t leave medications on tables or nightstands.
  3. Keep pets away from the scene if you are preparing medications or feeds. If you drop any medications on the floor, immediately pick them up. Pets are likely to mistake dropped medications as dropped food scraps and eat them before realizing they’re not tasty treats.
  4. Keep human medications and pet medications separate. Medications for animals can have different, and often undesirable effects when used for a different species. Although pets may often be treated with the same medications as people, the doses are usually vastly different, and confusing the doses can be fatal. Also, keep medications intended for different species of pets separate to prevent mix-ups.
  5. Don’t let pets come in contact with or eat medication patches (e.g., nicotine patches) prescribed for you.
  6. Don’t let pets come into contact with or lick your skin where medical creams (e.g., sports creams, topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory creams, fluorouracil topical cream) have been applied.
  7. Never give pets human medications (including over-the-counter [OTC] medications and weight loss products) without consulting your veterinarian. Medications that may seem innocuous, such as ibuprofen, can be fatal for pets.

What to do if your pet swallows your medication.

I’m not a veterinarian, nor do I play one on the internet.

  • If anything happens, just call your vet.
  • Try to determine how much your pet ate.
  • Another good item to have on hand is hydrogen peroxide. It’s often used to make dogs vomit. DO NOT do this except on the advice of your veterinarian, as some medications can have even more adverse effects if you induce vomiting. I just wanted you to know that you may want to keep it on hand as part of your pet’s first aid kit.
  • Know that if you call the animal poison control center, it is not free. It is in the $75+ range, but you also get a case number (so I am told) to take with you. So if your vet needs to talk to them, you won’t pay twice.

Emergency clinics can also be expensive, this is why prevention is the best medicine.

It costs you nothing to keep the medications away from your pet, but a trip to the emergency vet can be very expensive. And we love our pets and they can be therapeutic for our kids, so I’d hate to have them hurt.

Related: What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Bee! My dogs have eaten Spotted Lanternflies, Butterflies and even a Preying Mantis. So I could see this happening.

This post was originally published in 2013 but is updated periodically to fix links.

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