Keep Pets Safe From Toxic Medications


Everyday pets get into human and pet medications they shouldn’t.  Overdoses and toxic medications can cause major organ failure and even death.  It’s imperative to keep all drugs out of the reach of your pets, just as you would a child.  Tasty medications like chewable Rimadyl, Heartgard and Nexgard are flavored and have a taste most dogs just can’t resist.  Even though these medications have undergone clinical testing for toxicity and treatment can be available, prevention is key.

This weekend, an employee’s pet got up on the counter and chewed open a pill vial containing five Rimadyl.  Thank goodness the vial was labeled properly, and she knew how many pills were in it.  Unfortunately, those five Rimadyl were considered 50% of Pedro’s toxic dose for his size.  He was rushed to the hospital.  After she induced vomiting and performed blood work, he was put on intravenous fluids to support his liver and kidneys for the past two days. 

pedro on fluids
Pedro at home on IV fluids. The advantage of being an LVT and owner!

Any pet medications, especially ones flavored for palatability, increase the risk of unplanned ingestion and a possible pet emergency.  Follow my quick tips to keep your pet safe from prescription and non-prescription medications.


Tech Tips

  • Know the complications or side effects of the medications you or your pet(s) take(s).
    • This will help you identify any clinical signs you pet may be exhibiting.
  • Put medications in a high secure place.
    • Place all medications in a medicine cabinet, high shelf in a pantry, or other place you KNOW your pet can’t get to.
    • The counter or kitchen table isn’t a good place to store medications. Your pet can easily get up there.
    • Use caution when placing meds on refrigerator tops – especially in cat households.
      • They are curious, and may even knock them down for other pets to get at.
  • Always store medications in their original bottles or vials.
    • This allows you to identify the medication if your pet gets into it.
    • The childproof cap and hard plastic may deter your pet.
  • Be honest with your vet.
    • Trust me. If your pet could have gotten into an illegal substance or narcotic prescription drug, TELL YOUR VET!
    • They are there to help; they do not want to get you in legal trouble. THEY WANT TO HELP YOUR PET.
    • Honesty is always the best policy.

Additionally, NEVER give your pet ANY medication without consulting your veterinarian FIRST. 

  • Many human drugs, like Tylenol and ibuprofen, CANNOT be tolerated by cats and dogs and can cause organ failure, discomfort or death. 

Our employee never thought Pedro, a tiny little terrier mix, could get on the counter. Luckily, she immediately took responsibility for the situation and was able to get the care he needed.


What if she hadn’t gotten to him in time?

  • Pedro’s incident may have resulted in death or organ failure.

What if she had stored the medications properly?

  • Pedro never would have experienced this.

Prevention is always the key to avoiding any emergency.

What have you done to protect your pet from this hazard?  Feel free to leave me your tips or comments.



Author: Aubrie Ricketts

Experienced Licensed Veterinary Technician, Executive Master of Business Administration - University of Nevada, Reno. I love marketing and promoting preventative medicine and pet wellness. I have a dedicated passion for veterinary anesthesia and pain management.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s