Protecting Your Pet – Common Medications that are Toxic


Protecting Your Pet - Common Medications that are Toxic

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month, and while there are many things around our homes (foods, cleaners, pesticides, and plants) that are toxic to cats and dogs, this article is going to focus on some of the most common human medications that are toxic to pets.

5+ Human Medications That Are Highly Toxic to Pets

Pets can become poisoned if they accidentally ingest over-the-counter medications or prescription medications that are intended for humans. These are some of the most common, accidentally ingested human medications that are toxic to pets.

1. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
OTC medications that contain ibuprofen and/or naproxen such as Advil, Motrin, and Aleve are dangerous for pets. Prescription versions like Mobic, Celebrex and Feldene as well as some topical ointments like Diclofenac are also highly toxic. Even just a small amount can cause serious harm like serious ulcers and kidney failure.

2. Acetaminophen
Very small amounts of acetaminophen, the drug found in Tylenol can damage a cat’s red blood cells, leading to severe anemia. In dogs, it can cause liver failure in addition to damaging red blood cells. Acetaminophen ingestion is often fatal in pets


3. Antidepressants
Select serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants are prescribed for humans and are sometimes prescribed for pets, but overdoses of these medications can cause severe neurological damage resulting in seizures, collapse, and death. Other antidepressants have a stimulating effect that can lead to high blood pressure and increased heart rate. Just one pill can lead to an overdose.

4. Sleep Aids and Benzodiazepines
These medications are also sometimes prescribed for pets, but inappropriate use or overdosage can have strange effects on pets, leading to agitation, severe lethargy, slowed breathing, and even liver failure.

5. ADD/ADHD Medications
Be very cautious with these types of medications. Even minimal ingestion of medications like Adderall and Ritalin can be fatal for pets.
In addition, birth control, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, thyroid hormones, cholesterol meds, and certain dietary supplements are toxic to pets.

What to Do If Your Pet Is Poisoned

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, seek emergency veterinary care right away. You can also contact the ASPCA’s [Animal Poison Control] for immediate instruction and information.


Prescription Safety At Home

Always be sure to store medications and other toxic substances safely out of your pet’s reach and make sure that everybody in the household is aware of the dangers to your pet. The best protection is prevention, but if your pet does accidentally ingest a medication not prescribed for them, every member of the household should know to contact our office right away.

Remember that even if you think a medication intended for a human is non-toxic for pets, you should never give your pet a medication that wasn’t prescribed specifically for your cat or dog. For more information about medications and supplements that are safe for cats and dogs, we welcome you to talk with our veterinarians at Sleepy Hollow Animal Hospital.