Your Medications Can Kill Your Pet!

By Deb Haines

A medication that does one thing for people does not necessarily do the same for our pets. A pet can easily ingest dropped pills or may be given harmful human medications by an unknowing owner, causing illness, or even death, of your pet. A pet can find pill bottles, ointments etc on counter tops, night stands, low counter tops etc.

Not all animals are able to metabolize drugs in the same way. Some substances that are harmless in people can be extremely toxic to pets. For instance, ibuprofen for dogs can lead to serious stomach and kidney issues, while in cats it is severely toxic and even a tiny dose can be fatal. Other medications may be safe to utilize, but dosing might be significantly different between species.

Always keep medications away from pets unless you are specifically instructed by a veterinarian to give the medication; Even then keep medications lock up or out of reach.

•Do not leave pills sitting on counter or any place a pet can get to them;

•Do not leave pill bottles within reach of pets (You’ll be surprised how fast your dog can chew through a pill bottle.);

•If you’re taking medications out of the bottle and you drop any of it, pick it up immediately so you know your pet won’t be able to eat it;

•Always contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any medication not prescribed for them;

•Never give your medication (or any medications prescribed for a two-legged family member) to your pet without first consulting a veterinarian.

•Always keep the number for your veterinarian and Poison control in case of emergency.


Self-medicating your pet can be so risky is that there are many factors to consider when tossing your pet a pill. You mean well and all you’re trying to do is help your pet with a bout of diarrhea or an injured paw but, administering medications (of any kind) without veterinary supervision can be a dangerous game.

Medication interactions – Not all drugs play nicely with one another. A single dose of aspirin, while not ideal for a dog, would be unlikely to cause major harm. If that pet is already taking prednisone for a skin infection, though, a serious stomach ulcer could occur.

Recreational drugs/street drugs

Let’s be real for a moment…. we are getting weekly posts in here wanting help for their pet because they just ate your illegal drugs, you want help for your dog or cat but you must dance a round the information given to save your butt while your pet is having seizures, vomiting etc, you spook taking your pet to the vet due to explaining what drugs your dog or cat just ate !

You ask what can you do ? Best answer is do not take illegal drugs, and if you want to stay on that wrong path, then find a medicine cabinet and lock those drugs up ! DO NOT USE PILLS AROUND PETS ! DRUGS CAN KILL PETS !

Cannabis (Marijuana) Intoxication in Cats and Dogs

The increased accessibility to the drug has led to an increase in exposure in pets.

How do cats and dogs become intoxicated?

Cats and dogs can become intoxicated by cannabis in various ways; by inhaling second-hand smoke, eating edibles (baked goods, candies, chocolate bars, and chips containing cannabis), or ingesting cannabis directly (in any form). Most exposures are accidental when curious pets discover access to the drug or when they are present in the same room with a person smoking cannabis. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains, which means the effects of cannabis are more dramatic and potentially more toxic when compared to humans. A small amount of cannabis is all it takes to cause toxicity in cats and dogs.

How does cannabis affect cats and dogs?

Like most drugs, the effects of cannabis are based on chemistry. The drug enters the body via inhalation or ingestion and binds with specific neuroreceptors in the brain, altering normal neurotransmitter function. THC interacts with neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. Humans and pets have two types of receptors in their bodies. One type, CB1, affects the central nervous system, and the other, CB2, affects the peripheral tissues. Although not all the pharmacologic mechanisms triggered by cannabinoids have been identified, it is thought that CB1 is responsible for most of the effects of cannabis.

Everything that enters the body has to exit the body. THC is very lipid-soluble, which means that it is easily stored in the fatty tissue in the liver, brain, and kidneys before being eliminated from the body. THC is metabolized in the liver and the majority (65-90%) is excreted in the feces, while a small percentage (10-35%) is eliminated through the kidneys. The drug has to be metabolized and excreted for the effects to wear off.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line, when it comes to cannabis use and pets, is similar to that with other drugs in the home: Be careful. Keep all forms of cannabis, medical or recreational, out of reach of your pet. Consider storage in high cabinets or in locked drawers when not in use. Keep pets in a separate and well-ventilated room, away from second-hand smoke. Remember that pets have a good sense of smell and will be tempted to eat candies, chips, chocolates, and cannabis directly if accessible. If you notice suspicious behavior in your cat or dog and cannabis exposure is a possibility, take your pet to your veterinarian or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital for treatment.


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