Making sure your pet is healthy and happy is a big responsibility, but always worth it. One job as a pet owner is to prevent your pet from consuming toxic material. This includes over-the-counter and prescription human medications. Pets metabolize drugs very differently from humans. Below is a list of common medications that are toxic to pets.
1. NSAIDS: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, NSAIDs, are used to treat inflammation, fever, and general body pain in humans. Common NSAIDs are Advil, Aleve, and aspirin. Just one pill can have a negative effect on a pet. Cats, dogs, birds, and other small pets can develop severe ulcers as well as kidney failure from NSAID ingestion.
2. Acetaminophen: Tylenol is used to treat minor pains and reduce fevers. Cats are especially sensitive to this drug. Tylenol can damage the red blood cells, greatly reducing their ability to carry oxygen. In dogs, liver failure and red blood cell damage can occur.
3. Benzodiazepines and Sleep Aids: These medications include Xanax, Klonopin, and Ambien. They help improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. While they’re very helpful for humans they can have the oppositive effect on pets. Dogs can become agitated if they ingest sleep aids. Other symptoms include severe lethargy, incoordination, and slowed breathing. Liver failure can occur if a cat ingested benzodiazepine.
4. Antidepressants: Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to pets to help with depression or anxiety. Common antidepressants include Effexor, Lexapro, and Prozac. Unfortunately, an overdose can lead to severe neurological issues such as sedation, incoordination, tremors, and seizures. Oddly enough, cats like the taste of Effexor and will eat the entire pill. But just one pill can cause severe poisoning in our feline friends.
5. ADD/ADHD Medications: Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin are commonly known medications used to treat ADD and ADHD. These medications contain potent stimulants such as methylphenidate and amphetamines. Just small dosages can result in life-threatening seizures, tremors, heart problems, and elevated body temperatures.
6. Thyroid Hormones: Pets, particularly dogs, can have underactive thyroids, too. A dog’s dose of thyroid hormones is much higher than a human’s. Large overdoses in dogs and cats can result in tremors, panting, rapid heart rate, paranoia, and aggression.
Always keep medications stored safely away and out of reach from your pet. Before you administer any medication to your pet, consult your veterinarian first to determine if it’s safe and appropriate for your furry friend. If you have any questions or concerns about any medication, contact the Pet Poison Helpline experts at (855) 764-7661 today!