Why You Should Never Give a Dog Your Medicine

Giving your dog medicine that is meant for humans can have harmful side effects and seriously affect your dog's health. Pet owners should always consult with their veterinarian before administering any kind of medication to their dog and should watch out for any prescription or over the counter medication around the house that the dog may ingest.

Harmful Side Effects of Human Medication in Dogs

Giving a dog over the counter medicine can result in an overdose, poisoning, and other health problems. Not only is there potential for incorrect dosage amounts, but medication meant for humans can have unforeseen side effects in animals.

  • NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen and ibuprofen are a leading cause of poisoning in pets, even in small amounts. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Ibuprofen can also lead to kidney disease and naproxen may cause stomach ulcers.
  • Aspirin has been known to cause ulcers and internal bleeding in dogs and may lead to renal failure if administered in large doses.
  • Antidepressants meant for humans may cause vomiting and lethargic behavior. Some antidepressants may cause serotonin syndrome with side effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, fever, disorientation, and seizures.
  • Acetaminophen may cause liver disease.
  • Vitamin D medications like calcipotriene and calcitriol , often used for treating psoriasis, can cause a dangerous increase of blood calcium levels in dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, excessive urination and thirst due to kidney failure and may not start until 24 hours after exposure.
  • Oral medication for treating diabetes in humans may lead to a drop in blood sugar in pets, causing disorientation and seizures.

Dog Poisoning

Signs of dog poisoning may not appear immediately after a dog ingests human medication. If you know your dog has ingested your medicine call your vet or poison control to see what your next step should be. Symptoms to look out for include disorientation, unconsciousness, vomiting, diarrhea and difficulty breathing.

If you believe your dog has ingested any of your medication there are several steps you can take to help you pet.

  1. Stay calm and look around your house for evidence of open medication or other substances your dog may have ingested.
  2. Check to see what type of medication your pet ingested and what amount. Keep the bottle or container nearby to bring to the vet's office if necessary.
  3. Call your veterinarian or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (requires a $60 consultation fee).
  4. Note your dog's symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea or disorientation.
  5. Have information on your dog's breed, age, size and weight ready.
  6. Keep these items ready in an emergency kit: a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 3 USP, to induce vomiting and a turkey baster or medical syringe to administer the hydrogen peroxide.