phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, cold medication, nasal decongestants
Toxicity to pets
Decongestants work by constricting (or tightening) the blood vessels in the nose (and the rest of the body). The most common types of decongestants are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. These drugs are commonly found in cold, flu and allergy medications (especially those with a “-D” at the end of the name). When accidentally ingested by dogs and cats, decongestants can be deadly as they can result in vomiting, dilated pupils, severe blood pressure changes (hypertension), abnormal heart rhythms and rates, tremors, and seizures. Immediate treatment may be necessary to prevent potentially life-threatening signs.
Read more about common cold and flu medications that can be toxic to pets here.
The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.