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Top 10 Drugs That Poison our Pets

Top 10 Drugs That Poison our Pets
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Top 10 Drugs That Poison Our Pets

Prescription and over-the-counter medications may help you feel much better, but they can make our pets feel much, much worse. In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handled 89,000 cases of pets exposed to human medications—by far, the most common cause of household poisonings in small animals.

To help you prevent an accident from happening, our experts have drafted a list of the top 10 human medications that most often poison our furry friends. Here’s a sneak peek at their research:

Pets are ultra-sensitive to anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers and kidney damage in cats. Nothing like antidepressants to bring a pet down—they can trigger vomiting, lethargy and a frightening condition called serotonin syndrome. The popular pain remedy acetaminophen is especially toxic to cats, and can damage red blood cells and interfere with oxygen flow.

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant found in many cold remedies, but acts like a stimulant in cats and dogs, who can experience elevated heart rates and seizures. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up meds accidentally dropped on the floor. The solution? “Keep all medications in a cabinet,” advises Dr. Helen Myers, veterinary toxicologist at the ASPCA. “And consider taking your pills in a bathroom, so if you drop one, you can shut the door and prevent your pet from accessing the room until the medication is found.”

Dr. Myers also recommends learning the name, dosage and quantity of all of your prescriptions should the unthinkable occur. “For example, if you keep several medications in a bottle in your purse, put in a known amount,” she says. “So if your dog gets into the bottle, you know what the worst case scenario is.” If your pet does swallow any meds, stay calm and try to assess how many are left in the bottle versus how many might have been consumed. This information is crucial for veterinarians when assigning your pet’s risk level and determining a proper course of treatment.

As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested any human medications—or other toxic substances—please call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435 . To read our expert’s complete top 10 list of dangerous drugs, visit APCC online.

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