10 Human Medications you should never give to your Dog

Unlike popular belief, you should take precautions while administering human drugs to dogs. Most drugs work wonders in both humans and animals, but that doesn't mean you should start giving your pills to your dog.

Did you know, nearly 50% of all calls received by Pet Poison Helpline involve human medications – both over-the-counter and prescription.

Why does medicine work differently on humans and animals?

Yes, most drugs meant for humans contain compounds that create altering effects when given to dogs

Pets like dogs and cats respond to human medication differently, mainly because of two reasons:

Body size

The safe dose of a medication is expressed as “mg/kg” – in other words, the active ingredient per kg of body weight. So, the maximum safe dose of a substance for a 70kg human will be about 20 times higher than it is for a 3.5kg cat.

Biological differences

Humans are generally better at dealing with poisons than any other mammal species. A useful rule of thumb used by medical and veterinary toxicologists is that “if it’s poisonous to humans, it’ll kill pets; but if it’s safe for humans… it may still kill animals.”

10 Human Medications Harmful to Pets

Here is a list of ten human medications that are severely harmful to pets. Ingesting these medicines can cause fatal health deterioration or even death.

NSAIDs

NSAIDs stand for Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and indomethacin. These drugs are readily available in many households. People use these to treat pain, inflammation, and fever in people.

Ingesting even one or two pills can cause serious harm to dogs, including stomach and intestinal ulcers. In cases of overdose, renal damage can occur. When ingested orally, most achieve peak concentrations in the blood within three hours.

The most commonly seen side effects of these medications are gastrointestinal irritation and damage to the GI tract.

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen includes Paracetamol and Tylenol that are used for the relief of fever and aches and pains in humans. However, it may lead to liver failure and red blood cell damage in dogs and cats.

Acetaminophen poisoning in dogs can lead to liver injury or even liver failure. The tell-tale signs of Acetaminophen poising include lethargy, loss of appetite, belly pain, jaundice, and swelling of the face and paws.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are medications used to treat the major depressive disorder, anxiety, and chronic pain conditions in humans. Some commonly used antidepressant for dogs include Buspirone, Fluoxetine, and Clomipramine. However, excess ingestion of antidepressants can cause serotonin syndrome. It can lead to serious neurological problems such as sedation, incoordination, tremors, and seizures.

The serotonin syndrome sign usually comes on rapids in dogs, anywhere from 10 min to 4 hours. Veterinarians will generally pump out or induce vomiting to remove toxins.

ADD/ADHD Medication

ADD/ADHD medications are prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, Eveko, Focalin XR are a few of the popular ADHD prescribed drugs.

It contains potent stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate that doesn't do well to dogs. Even minimal ingestions of these medications can trigger a higher heart rate, high blood pressure, elevated body temperature, and life-threatening symptoms like tremors and seizures.

Benzodiazepines (Sleep Aids)

Benzodiazepines are prescribed to reduce anxiety and help people sleep. Common sedatives include Xanax, alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, etc. It induces sedation to help reduce anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, seizures, etc.

When a dog ingests Benzodiazepines, it can cause severe sedation, in-coordination, aggression, agitation, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can trigger respiratory and cardiovascular depression.

Birth Control

A birth control pill is administered to prevent pregnancy in women. Most birth controls are combination pills containing a mix of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of its packaging, dogs often find it irresistible. Small dosages typically do not cause any harm to dogs. However, large ingestions can trigger bone marrow suppression.

ACE Inhibitors

ACE Inhibitors like Zetril, Benazepril, Captopril, and Altace are commonly used to treat high blood pressure. It's also used in dogs to treat chronic CHF. However, when ingested in a higher amount, it can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, and dogs' weakness. The tell-take signs of ACE inhibitors poising include weakness, stumbling, and dropping blood pressure level.

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are used to treat high blood pressure. It can cause your heart to beat more slowly and with less force, which lowers blood pressure. Atenolol is a common beta-blocker medication used to treat certain heart disease types and high blood pressure in dogs. However, you should be careful about overdosing your dog with beta-blocker as it can cause a severe drop in blood pressure and heart rate.

Thyroid hormones

Interestingly, the dose of thyroid hormone needed to treat dogs is much higher than a person’s dose. If a dog accidentally ingests thyroid hormones pill at home, it rarely results in problems. However, large acute overdoses can often trigger muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate, and aggression. Levothyroxine, Synthroid, and Armour desiccated thyroid are few examples of thyroid hormones.

Cholesterol Pills

Cholesterol-lowering pills like Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor can cause mild ailments in dogs, such as vomiting and diarrhea. The poising can be treated by taking it to the vet to remove the toxins from the stomach.

 

How to Prevent Accidental Poising in Dogs?

A recent article in the Veterinary Times reported that almost 10% of pet owners admitted using human medicines to treat their pets.

It’s also easy for dogs to accidentally ingest human pills. The medicine bottles lying around the house, such as tables and open countertop, make it accessible for dogs’ reach. Here is how you can prevent accidental medication poising in dogs.

  • Never leave loose pills in a plastic bag. The bags are too easy to chew into.
  • Keep the pill and pill container in a cabinet out of reach of dogs.
  • Never store your own medications near your pet's medications.
  • Keep the contact detail of Pet Poison Helpline and your veterinarian with you at all times.

 

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Des Moines, to learn more about preventing pet poisoning.

7 Tips to Maintain Healthy Oral Hygiene in Dogs

The dental problem isn’t only persistent in senior pets. A young pup or an adult dog can suffer from poor dental hygiene too.

Did you know, by the age of three, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs develop some form of gum disease.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common problems in dogs that start from a young age. It becomes more prevalent in elderly dogs. Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles to form plaque. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar resulting in a deteriorating gum line. It produces toxins that lead to bone and tissue damage. Bad breath is usually the first sign of a dental problem in dogs.

The unchecked dental problem poses a lot of risk in dogs.

  • If your pet remains uncured from dental disease, they are at a higher risk of heart, kidney, and liver disease
  • Bacteria under the gum can travel to different internal organs.
  • Dental disease can result in bad breath, painful chewing and tooth loss.

A broken tooth is a major concern among pets. Chewing on hard surfaces or materials can render their teeth weak. A broken tooth can expose the tooth's nerve, which can be a painful experience for your pet

7 Tips to Maintain Oral Health in Dogs

Here are renowned veterinarians' seven tips to prevent plague, gum irritation, and oral infections in dogs

Quality Food

Proper oral hygiene starts with the choice of food you provide to your dog. Quality food with essential vitamins and minerals, preferably made with whole foods, will nourish their body and keep oral hygiene in check

Avoid foods made with by-products, meals, and cereal grains, including starch, as they are more apt to stick to your dog’s teeth.

A dog meal should have 30% protein, 25% fats, and 30-70% carbohydrates. Chicken, beef, turkey, lamb, fish, fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids), meat fat, Canola oil, sweet potatoes, peas, Barley (pearled), Oats, Brown rice, whole wheat, whole corn, etc., are the healthiest meal choices for any dog. If you're buying canned food, make sure it's made from organic food matter and has optimum supplements of micro-minerals and trace minerals.

Brush their Teeth Regularly

Like humans, dogs need to keep their teeth clean and prevent bad breath. Although dogs chew bones to remove tartar and residue from their teeth, this isn't nearly enough

You can use a traditional method of brushing teeth with toothpaste for your dog. You can use a human toothbrush with soft bristles, or you can choose double-headed with the brushes at a 45-degree angle to clean below the gum-line, like those offered by companies like Petosan

For toothpaste, try to get canine toothpaste that's safe to swallow. Your dog is less likely to spit after each cleaning. Human toothpaste contains fluoride that is extremely poisonous to dogs, so avoid regular toothpaste.

Vets suggest that you should start brushing their teeth when they are still a puppy. This can help keep a habit.

Use Chew Bones and Chew Toys

Chewing on a hard surface can help scrap and clean teeth naturally. Offer raw chew bones and chew toys after each meal and encourage them to chew on them for a bit.

When using bones, make sure they're uncooked and large, preferably from a cow. A small bone can easily break or splinter. Keep an eye when it's chewing on a bone to make sure it doesn’t swallow broken pieces.

Avoid commercial chew bones that are usually made from starches. It can have the opposite effect as chewing on a cow bone. When choosing chew toys, ensure to get chew toys made from hard rubber or nylon that aren't toxic

Choose Dry Food other Soft Food

Soft food is more likely to stick to the teeth and cause decay. When buying commercial food product for your pet, preferably choose dry food such as kibble. Most dogs eagerly accept dried beef ears or snouts, dried tendons, esophagus, and similar pieces. The dried meat also helps to keep their teeth clean.

Most dog foods prepared at home both solid-liquid. If you regularly provide your dog with soft food, make sure to clean or wipe their teeth daily. This will help prevent residue and plague build up around their teeth

Offer Vegetables and Fruits for Snacks

Vegetables and fruits are natural sources of micro-minerals and trace minerals. Like Protein, Carbs, and Fats, dogs need an optimum amount of minerals such as zinc, vitamin, calcium, and phosphorus daily.

Introduce a variety of vegetables and fruits in their daily snacks. Carrots or carrot slices, apple slices, or a chunk of squash or pumpkin are good snacks for dogs.

Feed appropriate amounts to your dog based on its size; never more than ten percent of its overall daily calorie intake.

Routine Dental Check Up

An annual or bi-annual dental checkup is essential to make sure your dog's oral hygiene is perfect.

Some of the tell-tale signs of bad dental care include; bad breath, change in chewing habit, pawing at the face or mouth, excessive drooling, misaligned or missing teeth, red and swollen gums, etc. These problems require immediate veterinary solutions.

To ensure proper teeth cleaning, the veterinarian will usually perform routine dental cleaning to use tools to remove the teeth' plaque and tartar. A special polishing paste that smoothens any scratches in the teeth' enamel keeps their teeth shiny and plague free.

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Make a Routine

Keep a routine of dental cleaning, veterinarian visits, and dental problems. This will help you determine what kind of assistance your dog will need in the future regarding dental problems.

It's always better to get pet insurance covering preventive care, veterinarian visits, and dental health problems.

It's always wise to prevent the dental problem from exfoliating. Dental extractions in a bad or decayed tooth can easily cost from $10 to $1000 for a molar root canal

Get in touch with Urban Pet Hospital & Resort, the best pet hospital in Urbandale, to learn more about preventive care for healthy oral health. We also provide dental checkups and surgical services through our certified veterinarians.