If a human has a cold or body ache, they can take medication in their cabinet and feel better in time. What can a dog take if they are experiencing the same symptoms? Are human medications safe for dogs to consume? Sometimes, a veterinarian will need to write a prescription for your dog’s medication. Other times, dogs can take over-the-counter medications with a veterinarian’s permission. However, there are many over-the-counter medications that are unsafe for your dog. See below for the top 10 human medications that are most frequently ingested and poisonous to your dog.  

1. Antidepressants: Common antidepressants include Lexapro and Prozac. These drugs are occasionally prescribed to pets, but overdoses can lead to serious neurological problems. Overdose symptoms include sedation, incoordination, tremors and seizures. Some antidepressants have a stimulant effect which leads to an elevated heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.  

2. Acetaminophen: Tylenol is a common acetaminophen. This drug is designed for humans and dangerous for pets. Acetaminophen leads to liver failure and, in large doses, red blood cell damage in dogs. 

3. NSAIDs: NSAIDs stand for non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, which include common names such as Advil and Aleve.  One or two pills can cause serious harm, such as stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure.  

4. ADD/ADHD Medications: Adderall and Ritalin are common medications. Symptoms include tremors, seizures, and heart problems. Just a small dosage can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems. 

5. Birth Control: Estrogen and Progesterone are common steroids in birth control. One pill may not hurt your dog, but multiple pills can cause trouble. Female dogs who are not spayed have an increased risk of clinical signs from estrogen poisoning. 

6. Beta-blockers: Common names include Tenormin and Toprol. Small ingestions of these drugs can cause serious poisoning in dogs. Overdoses can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure and a slowed heart rate. 

7. Thyroid Hormones: Thyroid hormones used to treat dogs are much higher than a human’s dose. However, large acute overdoses in dogs can cause muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate and aggression. 

8. Benzodiazepines and Sleep Aids: These medications, such as Xanax, are designed to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. They can have the opposite effect in pets. Dogs who ingest sleep aids may become agitated instead of sedated. In addition, these drugs may cause severe lethargy, incoordination, and slowed breathing in pets. 

9. Ace Inhibitors: Zestril is a common ace inhibitor used to treat high blood pressure in humans and occasionally pets. Overdoses can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, and weakness.  

10. Cholesterol Medication: Common names include Lipitor and Crestor. Vomiting and diarrhea are common signs of overdose. Serious side effects from these drugs come from long-term use.  

Contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 if your dog is experiencing any overdose symptoms from medications. Your veterinarian will have more information concerning the treatment plan.