As humans, when it comes to pain or illness, we have a plethora of over-the-counter medicines that we use to get ourselves back on our feet. As a result, many of our minor ailments are easily remedied without a visit to the doctor. So, you may be forgiven for thinking this approach is acceptable for the furry friend in your life, aka your loveable hound! After all, if aspirin or ibuprofen rids us of pesky aches and pains, why wouldn't it do the same for our dog? So, are human medications safe for dogs?
Unfortunately, the reality is human medications for dogs can be extremely dangerous. In fact, many are toxic to dogs and can cause serious health problems.
Why Human Medications for Dogs is Dangerous
Can cause harmful side effects
Human medication can cause harmful side effects in dogs and even worsen their current health issues. While it may seem like the obvious solution to reach for the aspirin the next time your hound is unwell, dogs process medication differently than humans. So, what might be a safe and effective dosage for a human can be deadly for a dog!
Can be toxic
Pain medication is one of the most common medications pet parents give their dogs without consulting a veterinarian. After all, no pet parent wants to see their hound in pain; however, human pain medication for dogs, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, while effective in humans, is considered too toxic for safe use in dogs. The same goes for other human medications, including cold and flu medications or vitamin supplements.
Can cause harmful interactions
Some human medications can interact with other medicines your dog is already taking, causing serious side effects, and negatively impacting their health.
What to Do if Your Dog Accidentally Ingests Human Medicine
Realizing your hound has accidentally eaten some of your medication can be hugely worrying; below are some guidelines on what to do.
1. Remain calm
Contact your local vet or the ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Hotline).
2. Have the below information to hand before you call:
- Name of the medication
- Tablet strength (milligram)
- How many tablets were swallowed
- The time of ingestion (when did your dog eat the pills?)
- Your dog's breed, weight, and age
- Are they displaying symptoms of poisoning? (vomiting/diarrhea/disorientation)
- Current dog medications they are taking
Never treat your dog at home!
Follow the vet's/poison centre's instructions carefully, as ingesting human medication can have deadly consequences for your pet. In most cases, you may be told to induce vomiting, followed by a visit to the emergency vet. However, some cases require intravenous fluids or treatment with specific antidotes or medicines to counteract and neutralize the effects of the toxin your dog has swallowed!
List of 10 Human Medicines That Are Toxic to Dogs
Some of the most common toxic medicines dogs ingest can be found on your bedside table!
Always ensure medications are stored out of the reach of paws and jaws of naughty hounds!
The Bitter Pill for Concerned Hound Parents
The side effects of using human medications for dogs can be detrimental to your hound's health and, in some cases, cause death. Even if you didn't witness your dog swallowing the medication, but the container is chewed, and you suspect tablets are missing, it's time to contact your vet! Remember, it's always better to be safe than a devastated pet parent!