Human medication ingestion is the most common call for pet poisoning we receive at the Fraser Valley Animal Hospital. In fact, the Pet Poisoning Help Line reported that of the top 10 most common poisonings in dogs, 8 were human medications, where as in cats 4 out of 10 were human medications. http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/basics/top-10-pet-poisons/
This tells me we need to keep our bathrooms safer! Here are a few easy steps…
1. LOCK UP THOSE MEDICATIONS Do not leave your pill bottles, inhales, boxes or bottles of medication on the counter. Pets explore and love new things to chew. I have had many owners come home to find a half chewed prescription bottle on the floor and no idea if the pet consumed any of the pills or how many. Put those medications in a drawer or cupboard. Take away the opportunity.
2. NEVER GIVE HUMAN MEDICATION TO YOUR PET I am always surprised how many people self medicate their pets. Dogs and cats do have a different metabolism than humans, and many of our medications can make them very sick. ALWAYS check with a veterinarian before giving any supplements or medication.
3. DON’T KEEP YOU PETS MEDICATION WHERE YOU KEEP THE HUMAN MEDICATIONS Mix ups happen easily and frequently. The easiest way to avoid mix-ups is to store the medication in different locations.
4. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL This is basic 101 from veterinary school training. Read the label when you pick up the bottle, when you open it and when you put it back. Bottles look similar and by reading 3 times it makes us focus on the task at hand. When we do something daily it can be easy to get into a routine and complacent, but this system ensures we never give the wrong medication by mistake.
5. TAKE YOUR MEDICATION ALONE It is always a great idea to lock your pets out of the bathroom when you need to take your medication. If you drop a pill it gives you time to find it, especially if you own a hoover like Winston – it only takes a split second for them to find the lost pill and have it swallowed. Take away opportunity.
6. CLEANERS Once again lock pets out of the bathroom when spraying cleaners to prevent them from licking. Make sure cleaners are always locked in a cupboard. Also close the toilet bowl lid to prevent pets from drinking the water ESPECIALLY if you use a leave in toilet treatment.
Using these simple steps we hope you never need to call the Pet Poison Help Line or the Fraser Valley Animal Hospital, but remember if your pet has eaten something always call us or check out the Pet Poison Help Lines web page – it has accurate and easy information to determine if your pet needs veterinarian assistance.