Dogs and Medications: Why You Should Never Self-Medicate

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You may have been tempted to pop a tablet of antihistamine on Fido, given that he might be sneezing nonstop due to spring allergies. Sure, it makes sense to put a capsule or a tablet on a sick dog, but should you do it?
Nope. Why? Well, for starters it’s not made for dogs – only for humans.
Little do most people know that most human medications are poisonous to pets, given that they’re different from pet medications – making them as dangerous as chocolate and antifreeze. As responsible dog owners, why should you NOT give them medicines under your own discretion? Here are facts to take note of:

NSAIDs Can Cause Permanent Damage

Do us a favor and pore through your medicine cabinet. We’re guessing that the most abundant pills and tablets you have are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and napoxen. Famous brands include Advil and Motrin, which are common fixtures in American homes.
These medicines are a must if you’re experiencing headaches, body pains and fevers. However, a single pill can cause permanent damage to the kidneys of not only your dog, but also your other pets. Kidney failure, intestinal and stomach ulcers, and even diarrhea aren’t far off the list as well. Aspirin can be safe, but be sure to only give your dogs this medicine if your vet gives the green light.

Pain Relievers Dish out a World of Pain

Other than NSAIDs, pain reliever medications like Tylenol (acetaminophen) are an immediate remedy for any kind of pain – from migraine up to sore muscles. These drugs are safe – even children and pregnant women take them in without any consequences (be sure to ask your doctor though).
In pets however, pain reliever drugs are pain bringers – a dose of this drug can direly affect the blood of both cats and dogs, severely limiting the cells’ ability to carry oxygen. Large doses are a life and death matter, since it has a high chance of leading to liver failure.

Hypertension Medications

High-blood pressure medications, like beta-blockers, are dangerous to pets given that it can cause a major drop in blood pressure and even slow down heart rate.

Meanwhile, ACE inhibitors like Zestril and Altace are relatively safe (and are administered by veterinarians), though overdoses will cause a series of complications comparable to that of the beta-blockers.

Attention Deficit Medications

Attention Deficit Hyperacitivity Disorder is commonly mentioned in news and education-related material nowadays. Children affected with the disorder have trouble in school and may display behavioral problems. Lifestyle changes and medicines are being employed to help treat those with the disorder.
However, ADHD medications, including Concerta and Adderall, contain strong stimulants like amphetamines and methylphenidate which can cause a host of problems if ingested by pets. Even in small amounts, it can cause tremors, heart problems, and seizures, which can be life-threatening.

As responsible dog and pet owners, we all need to keep our medications away from our wards. Although it’s hard to imagine seeing Fido happily gorging on bitter-tasting pills, be sure to keep them out of reach: place them on a glass cabinet or anywhere that happens to be out of reach!

Once you suspect that your dog is ingested these drugs, immediately call your animal hospital or pet poison hotline!

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