You love your pet, and you only want what's best for them. But sometimes, the medicines that we give to our pets can do more harm than good. Certain medications can be incredibly harmful to pets. For example, acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) is poisonous to cats. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can also be dangerous for dogs.
Before giving your pet any medication, it's important to do your research. Make sure you know exactly what the medication is for, and what the potential side effects could be. If you're ever in doubt, it's always best to err on the side of caution and consult with your veterinarian. They'll be able to give you the best advice for your specific pet.
What medicines can be poisonous to pets?
NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Aleve and Motrin)
Advil, Aleve, and Motrin can all cause gastrointestinal problems in pets, including vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, these drugs can even cause ulcers and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. It may also cause kidney or liver damage, and allergic reactions.
Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)
Tylenol is a medication that is commonly given to humans for pain relief. However, Tylenol is incredibly dangerous for pets and can cause serious side effects. If you give your pet Tylenol, they may experience liver damage, kidney failure, or even death.
Antidepressants (e.g. Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)
Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, and Lexapro are all popular antidepressants that are commonly prescribed to humans. However, what many people don't realize is that these drugs can have serious side effects for pets. Cymbalta, for example, can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Prozac has been linked to aggressive behavior in dogs and cats. And Lexapro has been known to cause seizures in dogs.
ADD/ADHD medications (e.g. Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin)
These drugs are designed for human consumption and can have serious side effects when given to pets. Some of the potential side effects include: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Loss of appetite, excessive thirst or urination, Restlessness, Agitation, tremors, Seizures, High blood pressure, and Rapid heartbeat.
Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (e.g. Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta)
While Concerta, Adderall, and Ritalin may help to improve focus in humans, they can have the opposite effect in animals. In fact, these medications can actually cause pets to become agitated and even aggressive. In some cases, they can also lead to seizures or other serious side effects. Talk to your vet before giving it to your pet.
Birth control (e.g. estrogen, estradiol, progesterone)
Giving your pet estrogen, estradiol, or progesterone can have some serious side effects. These hormones can cause your pet to become aggressive, anxious, and even develop cancer. If you're considering giving your pet any of these hormones, think twice - the risks far outweigh the benefits.
ACE Inhibitors (e.g. Zestril, Altace)
Zestril, Altace belongs to a class of drugs called ACE inhibitors, which are typically used to treat high blood pressure in humans. However, these drugs can cause serious side effects in animals, including kidney failure, electrolyte imbalances, and even death. If you're considering giving your pet Zestril, Altace, talk to your veterinarian first to make sure it's the best decision for their health.
Beta-blockers (e.g. Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)
While these drugs may be prescribed to humans for high blood pressure and other heart conditions, they can have dangerous side effects for our furry friends, including Cardiac arrhythmias, Heart failure, Kidney failure, Seizures, and Death.
Thyroid hormones (e.g. Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid)
Giving your pet Armour desiccated thyroid or Synthroid can have some serious side effects. The most common side effect is an increased heart rate, which can lead to arrhythmias and even heart failure. Other side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and tremors. In some rare cases, these drugs can also cause liver damage.
Cholesterol-lowering agents (e.g. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)
These drugs are used to treat high cholesterol in humans, but they can have dangerous side effects on pets. Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor can all cause liver damage in dogs and cats, and they can be deadly if not caught early.
What to do if your pet has eaten something harmful?
If you think that your pet has been given a poisonous medicine, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. If you have the container of the poison, please bring it with you or take a picture of it if possible.
In the meantime, here are some steps you can take:
1 - If your pet is vomiting, try to collect a sample of the vomit in a plastic baggie. This can be helpful for the veterinarian to diagnose the problem.
2 - If your pet is drooling excessively, wipe away the saliva with a clean cloth so that they can breathe more easily.
3 - In case you are unable to get to the vet right away, using a vomit inducer may be the best way to prevent your dog from getting sick. You should be careful before vomit inducer, so it's extremely important to read and understand the instructions and precautions before using it.
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