Many pet owners believe that there's no harm in using human, over-the-counter, medications when their pet seems to be under the weather. It seems a fairly rational thought that if your pet is limping, you can just give it an Ibuprofen. Right? Wrong. We need to be very careful what medication is used for our pets. You may actually be doing more harm than good.
For instance, Tylenol or acetaminophen can never be given to cats. Cats cannot metabolize acetaminophen and this can lead to liver failure. Therefore even small amounts can prove lethal to cats. Aspirin use is also not recommended in cats because they cannot metabolize aspirin and this can lead to overdosing.
Antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and ChlorTrimeton (Chlorpheniramine) can be used to treat allergic reactions for pets, or in some cases for sedation purposes. It is okay to use these medications by themselves but you always want to consult your veterinarian before giving them to your pet to ensure you are giving the correct dosage. You also do not want to give them long term. If you are finding yourself constantly giving your pet Benadryl there may be something going on that needs further care, and/or prescription medication. Also, I cannot stress enough that pet owners must be CAUTIOUS about combination products which often contain Tylenol or aspirin components. Alot of over the counter cold and allergy medications containing diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine also contain Tylenol or aspirin. You also do NOT want to give your pet anything additional (even Benadryl) if your pet is on prescription medications or has any ongoing medical conditions. Always, always, check with your pet's doctor before doing this to verify it is safe to give.
Dog owners need to be cautious about using over the counter medications as well - such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and naprosyn (Aleve) to treat pain. Dogs are more sensitive to gastrointestinal side effects with these medications. NSAID's like Advil or Motrin can cause kidney failure in dogs. It is very important that owners only use veterinarian-approved medications, prescribed for the specific pet it is given to, for pain relief.
ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN BEFORE GIVING YOUR PET ANY OTC HUMAN MEDICATION, PRESCRIPTION OR NON-PRESCRIPTION.Alot of items inside your home can pose potential risks for your pet. Soap, sun block, and toothpaste for example can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea. Mothballs if ingested can cause liver, kidney and respiratory damage. If your pet ingests anything in your home, ESPECIALLY HUMAN MEDICATION, please make sure to call poison control and/or your veterinarian immediately.
You can contact the Animal Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435 to report any accidental overdose or possible poisoning.
Stay tuned for a post by us about household hazards and what to keep your pet away from!