Canton vet warns against giving pets human medications

Doctor says owners should ask before giving any drugs to pets

CANTON, Mich. – Cindy Klots loves her two Labrador retrievers, Cooper and Louie.

"Oh they're definitely family. They go wherever we go. They sleep on our beds," Klots said.

She is also grateful because she nearly lost them when they got into a bottle of painkillers when no one was home.

Klots said she returned home and saw ibuprofen, which had been in a backpack, on the floor. Cooper had gotten out of his crate, found the backpack, bit a hole through it, found the painkillers and started playing with the bottle.

"Took a big bottle of ibuprofen out, and he likes to play with toys, so if you shake that it makes a noise, so he had the ibuprofen in his mouth, but his teeth went through it, shook it until some ibuprofen fell on the ground," Klots said. "You could tell he didn't want to eat it because there was some half-eaten ones but you could tell enough got in his stomach that he ate some ibuprofen."

Klots immediately took Cooper to the veterinarian because she knew ibuprofen was dangerous, but unfortunately Cooper was not doing well the next day. He began throwing up by the evening.

"We had to take him immediately to the emergency room. It was about 11 o'clock at night. When we arrived, we were told he was in second-stage kidney failure and they weren't sure if he'd make it through the night," Klots said. "The hospital put him on IVs and gave him a bunch of medicine and after about six days he was doing better."

Klots said it happened a second time when both Cooper and Louie found ibuprofen in her purse. She said there was a granola bar in the purse and when she got home she saw ibuprofen on the floor. She raced them both the hospital

"Their kidneys' values went up a little bit but they were never at risk of dying like the first time," Klots said. "I was devastated, 'Oh, I made another mistake.' I mean how do you go through your house and constantly look and try to trap them for their own safety go out at all and wonder what are they doing until you come back?"

Klots now takes her pets to Dr. Michael Petty at Arbor Pointe Veterinary Hospital in Canton. Petty said dogs should never be given ibuprofen.

"Even if they recover there's the possibility of lifelong impairment of the kidneys or it could die," Petty said. "The only time you should ever give your dog a pain medication is if it's both being prescribed and monitored by your veterinarian."

Petty said some pet owners want to give their dogs or cats human drugs, but they should never do that  without consulting with your veterinarian first.

"I always like to say that dogs and cats are not small humans and you can't really expect them to react or benefit from a drug in exactly the same way as a person would take the medication," Petty said.

Petty said there are instances when it is OK to give your pets antihistamines, Dramamine or Immodium AD, but always consult with a veterinarian before giving anything to your pet. He said it's important to have a diagnosis first because the drugs might treat the symptoms but you still need to know what's causing the problem.

"Get to the veterinarian first. Don't rely on Doctor Google because something like 75 to 80 percent of all medical advice both dogs, cats and humans is misinforming. It's wrong," Petty said.

Prescription mediation is also a problem if pets get into it. Petty said he has seen some pets die as a result of getting into some heart medication.

Klots wants every pet owner to know that pets can get into drugs into their homes and they need to keep pills safe.

"There are a lot of dangers in your house, ibuprofen, Tylenol and any kind of prescription medicine. Not only what do you have, but what do your guests have when you come in? And don't think because it's child safety that means anything. Both times bottles were closed, they were both child safety proofed, but they bite through them and the medicine comes out," Klots said.

If you pet gets into medication, contact your veterinarian or if after hours the emergency vet. There is also the Pet Poison Helpine (855) 764-7661.

For more information about Petty, click here.

Also, for the top 10 human medications poisonous to pets, click here.

About the Author: