According to the Pet Poison Helpline, 50 percent of the calls it receives are from people whose pet ingested their prescription or over-the-counter medication. It’s even greater than the calls the organization receives for anti-freeze poisoning and holiday accidents. Because of this alarming trend, the Pet Poison Helpline consulted with veterinary experts to provide a list of helpful tips for pet parents. 
 
The first thing to understand is that you should never give a medication prescribed to adults or children to an animal. In fact, you shouldn’t give your pet any medication at all without first speaking to a veterinarian at Battletown Animal Clinic. Your pet requires monitoring while he finishes the course of medication and immediately afterwards.
 
Other Tips to Prevent Your Pet from Eating Your Pills
Although it might be more convenient for you to place your pills in a plastic bag, it’s too much of a risk to your pet’s safety. Plastic bags are much too easy for a dog or cat to scratch and bite to get to what’s inside. Their natural curiosity drives them to investigate anything new, but they have no way of knowing that chewing or swallowing the pills could be dangerous.
 
If you carry a purse, be sure to hang or place it well out of your pet’s reach. With their strong sense of smell, dog and cats may not be able to resist trying to dig into your purse to find the forbidden pills. You should do this even if you don’t carry medication in your purse since ingesting make-up, chewing gum, or other contents of a purse can be harmful for your pet.
 
Keep medications for yourself and your family members away from your pet’s medications. It’s too easy to mix them up and then both you and your pet could become seriously ill. Another thing the Pet Poison Helpline suggests is to keep plastic pill organizers under lock and key or at least a high enough shelf that your pet can’t reach. Pets, especially dogs, may think that the organizer is a new toy to chew.
 
The Top Three Human Medications Ingested by Companion Animals
Companion animals most commonly chew or swallow these types of human medications:
  • Acetaminophen: This drug is especially dangerous for cats because it can damage the red blood cells to the point that it becomes difficult for the cat to transport oxygen. It also causes liver failure and red blood cell damage to dogs in larger doses. You probably know it as Tylenol. 
  • Anti-depressants: An overdose of any human anti-depressant medication can cause incoordination, tremors, seizures, and other serious neurological problems. If the medication has a stimulant effect, it can cause a dangerously high heart rate in pets.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug: These common drugs, including ibuprofen and naproxen, can cause kidney failure, intestinal ulcers, and other serious stomach issues in pets. 
These are just three categories of pills meant for people that can cause an immediate health crisis for a pet. If you suspect your dog, cat, or other animal has gotten into your medication, contact us immediately at 540-955-1151. If the clinic is closed, you can call one of the following:
  • The Life Centre, located in Loundon County, 703-777-5755
  • Valley Veterinary Emergency Service, located in Shenandoah Valley, 540-662-7811
  • Pet Poison Helpline, available 24 hours a day, 855-764-7661
We wish you and your pet well and hope you never experience an emergency like this.
 
Photo credit: indavostrovska / Getty Images