Human Medication Hazards for Pets

At this time of year when you’re likely to have guests in your home or to be a guest in someone else’s home and there’s lots of hustle and bustle, it’s important that everyone is careful about pets getting access to human medications.  A dropped pill or one left on the counter can be fatal.  The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association has a useful list of the top 10 human medications most frequently consumed by pets and how they’re affected by them.

It also includes these smart tips on how you and your guests can keep your pets safe.

  • Never leave loose pills in a plastic Ziploc® bag – the bags are too easy to chew into. Make sure visiting house guests do the same, keeping their medications high up or out of reach.
  • If you place your medication in a weekly pill container, make sure to store the container in a cabinet out of reach of your pets. Unfortunately, if they get a hold of it, some pets might consider the pill container a plastic chew toy.
  • Never store your medications near your pet’s medications – Pet Poison Helpline frequently receives calls from concerned pet owners who inadvertently give their own medication to their pet.
  • Hang your purse up. Inquisitive pets will explore the contents of your bag and simply placing your purse up and out of reach can help to avoid exposure to any potentially dangerous medication(s).
  • Update: Carrie on Facebook gave the excellent advice to do a room check of your hotel room if you’re staying with your dog.  Other guests may have dropped medication before your stay.

If your pet does ingest any human medication call The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 1-(888)-426-4435 and you veterinarian.

Video Of How To Give Your Cat A Pill

pills2.jpgCornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has developed a very good series of videos on how to give your cat a pill or capsule.

You can watch the whole video. It’s also broken down into segments:

  1. an introduction
  2. what to gather beforehand
  3. how to restrain your cat
  4. the finger method
  5. the pill-gun method

There are also a number of excellent tips:

  1. how to pill your cat without help
  2. what to do if your cat hides & how to keep the medicating of your cat from causing behavioral problems
  3. how to handle cats that are very difficult to restrain
  4. what to do if your cat keeps spitting out the pill
  5. what it means if your cat foams at the mouth after taking a pill

The tip to coat the pill in butter is a great one, especially for pills that are not already coated. I touched one pill to the tip of my tongue once when we were having a really hard time pilling a cat and that pill was one of the most bitter, lingering, awful things ever—blech. I would also add that you make sure you fingernails are trimmed short so you don’t jab the roof of your cat’s mouth when you push the pill to the back of its tongue. And finally, our cat, Raven, can wait a long time to swallow. We have found that blowing a puff of air in her face sometimes startles her into swallowing.

Don’t miss the instructional videos on how to trim your cat’s claws.