Top Ten Human Medications that are Toxic for your Dog

Dog and Poison Prescription bottle
Remember our bodies and needs are different. Some very common human medications can be deadly to our canine companions.

Just as you would never share your prescription with your two-legged children, you also shouldn’t share it with your dog…no matter how much it helps you with the same problem your dog has.

From the American Veterinary Medical Association

Here are the top ten medications that should never be given to a dog.

  1. Venlafaxine, also known by the brand name Effexor, is a popular antidepressant. For you. In an animal, it can cause agitation, tremors and even seizures. The AVMA notes that cats, especially, like to eat these, but they would likely cause trouble for your dog, as well.

  3. Duloxetine, the generic name for Cymbalta, is also an antidepressant and causes the same problem for your dog as Venlafaxine can.

  4. Prescription Bottle
    Many over the counter and prescription drugs are deadly to animals.
  5. Naproxen, found in Aleve and Naprosyn, can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure if given to a dog. The best pain reliever for a dog is plain old aspirin.

  6. Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, can cause liver damage and can render a dog’s red blood cells ineffective at carrying oxygen to the body’s organs.

  7. Clonazepam (Klonipin) helps prevent convulsions, insomnia, and anxiety in humans. In dogs, the drug will not only make your dog fall asleep, it may also lower his blood pressure to dangerous levels.

  8. Zolpidem, which makes up Ambien, is a sleep aid. Now think about where you take a sleeping pill. Many people set it on the night stand so they don’t have to get out of bed at midnight when they haven’t been able to fall asleep. Most dogs can easily reach the top of the nightstand to steal whatever they find there. Dogs who ingest Zolpidem will become very agitated and their heart rates will become dangerously fast.

  9. Adderall/ is actually a mixture of four different amphetamines. In kids with ADHD, it can help slow them down. In dogs, however, it has the stimulant effect you might expect from amphetamines. The dog’s heart rate and temperature rise, and they may develop seizures after eating Adderall.

  10. pill with poison logo
    Remember, many medications are deadly.
  11. Alprazolam is the generic name for Xanax, one of the leading anti-anxiety prescriptions used in the United States. Your dog may have problems keeping her legs under her if she takes Alprazolam, or she may become paradoxically hyperactive. Large doses can cause a scary drop in blood pressure. Another drug you should not leave out on the nightstand.

  12. Tramadol, also known as Ultram, is another type of pain reliever. At small doses, it can be used for dogs, but the dose taken by humans is too high for your dog and can cause agitation, disorientation, vomiting, and maybe even seizures.

  13. Ibuprofen, found in Advil and Motrin, is the most common human drug that dogs eat. The outer coating meant to lessen stomach upset is sweet enough to appeal to your dog’s taste buds, but too much ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.

How to keep your dog safe

You know that message on the label that says, “Keep out of reach of children”? Consider your dog to be just as important as your child. Don’t leave your medications (in or out of the bottle) anyplace where your dog can reach them.

Prescription bottle and pills
Never leave meds in a place your dog can reach. Remember dogs like to chew and can easily crack open a plastic bottle.

Remember: having a dog in the house is just about equivalent to having a toddler, even if your dog is older. Dogs require supervision anytime they are allowed to roam free in your house, unless you have done a very good job of dog-proofing.

If you drop a pill, make sure you find it. There is no pill fairy that will come around and sweep it up before your dog gets to it.

If your dog does get into any human medication, contact your veterinarian immediately. If it’s after-hours, call your local emergency vet clinic or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. There may be a charge associated with their advice, but isn’t your pet worth it?

Don’t automatically assume you should make your dog throw up after he or she ingests a poison. Some poisons are best followed by a chaser of something that neutralizes them, while others need to be brought back up. For example, if your dog would happen to swallow drain cleaner, having him throw it back up simply doubles the burn damage done to his esophagus and mouth.

The poison control center can give you the best advice on how to help your dog. They can also tell you whether or not you need to worry, based on the size of your dog and the amount of medication they took.

When you call, be sure to have the pill bottle (or what’s left of it) on hand so you can give the correct drug name and can estimate the number of pills your dog may have ingested, based on the date you last filled the prescription and the number of pills remaining.


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