10 Over-The-Counter Human Medications Toxic to Dogs

Dog owners are concerned about their little pets and try to get their home dog-friendly, but the zone where they actually need first to start is their own medicine counter.

As per research and surveys, nearly 50% of cases received by the vet for pet poison are due to involvement with human medicines, both over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

Pet poisoning due to human medications is accidental or out of ignorance, but the result is horrifying and could be fatal also. A dog owner needs to be extra cautious with medicines if you have a little cuddlesome ball of fur around them.

The list of some common medicines that are over-the-counter human medications toxic to dogs:

NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve, and Motrin)

These are the most common ones, which, are non-steroidal, and anti-inflammatories. These are safe for humans, but even a pill or two can cause severe damage to cats, birds, and small mammals like hamsters. They can get serious stomach and intestinal ulcer or even kidney failure.

Antidepressants ( Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)

These antidepressants are occasionally used in pets, but an overdose can prove to cause serious damage to the pet. It can lead to neurological problems like tremors, seizures, incoordination, and sedation. It could also result in very high blood pressure, elevated heart rate and high body temperature. Usually, pets like cats like the taste of these medicines and thus consume the whole of it can be actually fatal for the little ball of fur.

Birth Control (Estrogen, Estradiol, Progesterone)

Birth control pills come in very attractive packaging that attracts the dogs. A small dosage of these medicines does not cause harm, but a slight overdose can be fatal. It could result in bone marrow suppression. Especially the female pets that are intact are at a greater risk of estrogen poisoning.

Beta Blockers (Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)

Beta-blockers are used to cure high blood pressure, it is safe for human consumption but even if pets ingest a slight amount it could result in serious poisoning. It could prove to be fatal and result in very low blood pressure or a slower heart rate.

Cholesterol-lowering agents (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)

These medicines are commonly used in humans, and even for pets one-time ingestion will cause not much harm and result in vomiting and mild diarrhea. However, if long term ingestion has happened in pets, there could be severe fatal effects.

Thyroid hormones (Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)

Pet can get underactive thyroids, and the dogs are the ones who are highly prone to it. The dose of thyroid medicine needed to cure the issues of thyroid in dogs is high and much more than that of human’s, but if large overdose occurs, then it could result in nervousness, panting, aggression, muscle tremors and increase rapid heartbeats.

ACE Inhibitors (Zestril, Altace)

An angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors are usually used to cure high blood pressure in humans and very rarely in pets. Overdose can cause low blood pressure, weakness, and dizziness. It could also result in kidney failure or heart disease.

ADD/ ADHD medication (Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin)

These medicines are helpful in cases of Attention Deficit Disorder/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and it has potent stimulants like amphetamines and methylphenidate. Thus even a small amount of ingestion of these medicines can prove to be very fatal and life-threatening for the pet. It could result in tremors, seizures, heart problems, and elevated body temperatures and all of these could prove to be fatal for the pet.

Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta)

These medicines help humans to sleep better and reduce anxiety in them. But in case of the pets, it could have the reverse effect. The dogs that have ever ingested these sleep aid pills are agitated rather than sedate. The overdose or even single pill can actually result in lethargy, incoordination, and slowed breathing in pets. However, in the case of cats, these medicines if ingested can result in liver failure.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

It is the most common pain reliever. This drug is very popular and is sold over the counter for both kids and adults. However, these medicines are very risky for pets, especially cats. One regular tablet of medicine can cause serious damage to the cat. It can seriously affect the cat’s red blood cells and thereby its ability to carry oxygen. In dogs also it has a serious effect it can result in liver failure if consumed single pill but if there is overdose then it could damage the red blood cell.

Human Medications Toxic to Dogs
Human Medications Toxic to Dogs

How to Keep Your Dog Safe From Medicines?

Precaution is better than cure and thus keep, the medicines out of the reach of dogs and before giving any medication to the canine consult a veterinarian.  There are small and simple tips that can keep your pet away from accidental ingestion of the medicines and save them from any side effect:

  1. Keep the medication high and out of reach for the pet. The medication should never be stored in plastic pouches or ziplock pouches as it is easy to chew it. Make your guests also practice the same.
  2. Never store your medicines and the medicines of your doggie near each other. As you could accidentally mix the two, most of the dog poisoning case is due to this issue.
  3. When you come back from the market after buying the medicines, keep the bags up and away as the inquisitive pet could actually jump and chew the packet and this small act could prove to be fatal.

Dogs digest or metabolize medicines very differently. So a simple over the counter medication or herbal or Ayurveda medicine could also prove to be fatal for your dog. However, if accidentally your dog has ingested any drug take it to a veterinarian immediately and seek medical help.

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