24 May 2016

Human Medications Top List of Toxins Most Commonly Ingested by Pets

According to a recent post by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), about one-quarter of all phone calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) are about human medications.

In fact, according to the APCC’s list of toxins most commonly ingested by pets and reported to their control centre in 2015, over-the-counter medications and human prescription medications are at the top - ahead of insecticides, human food and household items.

While some of these medications are used in both animals and people, the effects and doses needed aren't always the same. A pet can easily ingest dropped pills or may be given harmful human medications by an unknowing owner, resulting in illness, or even death, of the pet.

The APCC provided a list of the 10 most common human medication complaints they receive - in order of the number of complaints.

Ibuprofen – (Advil®, Motrin®)
Tramadol – (Ultram®)
Alprazolam – (Xanax®)
Zolpidem – (Ambien®)
Clonazepam – (Klonopin®)
Acetaminophen – (Tylenol®)
Naproxen – (Aleve®, Naprosyn®)
Duloxetine – (Cymbalta®)
Venlafaxine – (Effexor®)

These medications are the most commonly reported to APCC, however there are a large number of other human medicines that can also poison pets.

Pet safety tips include:
  • Always keep human medications away from pets unless specifically instructed by a veterinarian to give the medication;
  • Do not leave pills sitting on a ounter or any place a pet can get to them;
  • Do not leave pill bottles within reach of pets (dogs can chew through a pill bottle very quickly);
  • Pick up any dropped medication immediately;
  • Always contact a veterinarian if a pet has ingested any medication not prescribed for them;
  • Never give any human medication to a pet without first consulting a veterinarian.

Learn more about human medication poison prevention by listening to the APCC podcast.

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