The Pet Poison Helpline reports that approximately half the calls it receives each month are from a frantic pet owner whose dog, cat, or other animal got into medication meant for people. This includes both prescription and non-prescription drugs
. To help curb the number of emergencies, the organization came up with several useful tips for pet parents.
It’s hard to see your beloved pet in pain, which may tempt you to reach for your own medication to help him feel better. However, animals should never take any medication that our veterinarians haven’t cleared and should not take human medication at all. While you want your pet to feel better, giving him an unapproved drug could aggravate the situation even more. It’s better to call us for an immediate appointment if your pet seems to be in a lot of pain.
Keep All Medications Out of Your Pet’s Reach
A common mistake pet owners make is to place their pills into a plastic bag for convenience and then leave them in a place their pet can find them. Dogs and cats are naturally curious and will stiff, tear, and claw at the bag until it opens. The pills seem like a treat to them, which means that just saying “no” might not be enough. Some pets simply have no resistance around something they perceive as a treat.
The Pet Poison Helpline also recommends storing medication for the human and animal members of your family in separate locations. With several pill bottles, it’s easy to mix up who should get what. Not only could your pet get a pill meant for humans, you could take something intended for animals. If you use a pill organizer, keep it on a high shelf and in an area that your pet can’t smell it and let her curiosity get the best of her.
Purses and backpacks should not be left lying around the house where your pet can get into them, whether there’s medication inside or not. Your pet could easily find and swallow the contents. Anything with a strong smell, such as breath mints, are especially attractive to your dog or cat. If you have pill bottles inside, it wouldn’t take much for your pet to chew holes in them.
Most Common Human Medications Consumed by Companion Animals
The Pet Poison Helpline reports that pets chew or swallow these human medications most often:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen and naproxen
- Acetaminophen, including Tylenol
- Medications to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders
- Anti-anxiety medications and sleep aids
- Birth control pills
- Blood pressure pills
- Thyroid hormones
- Cholesterol lowering agents
No matter what type of medication your pet consumed, it’s essential to act promptly. You can reach Grantsburg Animal Hospital at 715-463-2536 or Wild River Veterinary Clinic at 320-629-7474 during regular office hours. You can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline 24 hours a day at 1-855-764-7661. The organization charges a fee of $59 per incident. After hours, you can take your pet to Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service at 11850 Aberdeen Street NE in Blaine, MN or contact them at 763-754-5000.