Category Archives: Medications

Human Medications for Dogs: Never Give to Your Dog


 Pets are a lot like kids. They depend on you for their safety – and you can never be too careful. Your most important job as a pet parent is to keep your pet healthy. So today, I want to give you some information about toxic medications that could potentially save your dog’s life.

Just because a medication is safe for humans DOESN’T mean it’s safe for dogs. I’ve seen cases where pet parents with the best intentions accidentally poisoned their dog with common over-the-counter medications because they didn’t understand the dangers. That’s why you should NEVER give your dog medication without first checking with your veterinarian.

Here are 3 common over-the-counter medications that you should NEVER give to your dog:

1. Aspirin – Aspirin interferes with platelets (which help the blood to clot). So if your dog has a wound or laceration, aspirin would make it harder to stop the bleeding. Aspirin is especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs, like steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Dogs may experience gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure.

2. Ibuprofen – This over-the-counter medication is a popular way to treat pain and inflammation in people – but for dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. Well-intentioned owners may give their dog what they consider to be a “safe dose” – but it can easily lead to bleeding stomach ulcers and eventually kidney failure. And, if left untreated, this can be fatal. Symptoms include poor appetite, vomiting, black tarry stools, vomiting blood, abdominal pain, weakness and lethargy.

3. Acetaminophen – Medicating your dog with acetaminophen without consulting a veterinarian is dangerous. (Pets also consume tablets that are dropped on the floor or left around the house.) Dogs are less sensitive to acetaminophen than cats are. For example, a 50-pound dog would need to ingest more than seven 500 mg tablets to suffer toxic effects. For a cat, one 250 mg acetaminophen tablet could be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic amount of acetaminophen (one pill or more), contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately. Common brands of acetaminophen include Tylenol®, Percocet® and aspirin-free Excedrin® among others.

So remember to keep all medications out of your dog’s reach and NEVER give your dog any medication without first consulting your veterinarian. If you ever suspect that your dog has ingested any of these medications (in any amount), please contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Human Pain Medications for Dogs

Are over-the-counter medications safe for my dog?

Much of the time, the answer to this is “no!” Even for those that can be used, many of the time, a more effective dog-specific alternative exists. In fact, inadvertent overdosage of a human medication is one of the top reasons people call the Pet Poison Control Hotline.

Antihistamines, such as Benadryl and Tavist, are some of the more commonly used over-the-counter medication for dogs. Veterinarians may also occasionally recommend over the counter antacids such as Pepcid for certain conditions. Because canine dosages can differ from human dosages, it’s important to get directions specific to your pet if these medications are recommended.

Pain medications is the number one category where owners seem to have problems when it comes to dosing their dog with human medications. Aspirin, Tylenol, and NSAIDS are often given to pets with very variable results. Best case scenario, they just don’t work. Worst case scenario, a pet can go into renal failure or suffer from ulcerations in the GI tract. Worse still, even one Tylenol is enough to kill a cat! (I know this is a dog article, but it never hurts to remind people.)

Although it may be tempting to skip the office visit and try an Aleve instead, my clients who spent thousands of dollars in the vet hospital after a pet develops bleeding ulcers can confirm: it’s not worth it. Safe and effective veterinary pain medications are always a better choice.

Despite how we think of them, dogs aren’t just small, furry humans. The fact is, there are many differences in the way dogs metabolize drugs compared to people. This can have tragic consequences. Never dose your pet with a drug meant for you without talking to your veterinarian.                             By Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

 

 

3 Medications You Should Never Give Your Dog

Pets are a lot like kids. They depend on you for their safety – and you can never be too careful. Your most important job as a pet parent is to keep your pet healthy. So today, I want to give you some information about toxic medications that could potentially save your dog’s life. Just because a medication is safe for humans DOESN’T mean it’s safe for dogs. I’ve seen cases where pet parents with the best intentions accidentally poisoned their dog with common over-the-counter medications because they didn’t understand the dangers. That’s why you should NEVER give your dog medication without first checking with your veterinarian. Here are 3 common over-the-counter medications that you should NEVER give to your dog:
1. Aspirin – Aspirin interferes with platelets (which help the blood to clot). So if your dog has a wound or laceration, aspirin would make it harder to stop the bleeding. Aspirin is especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs, like steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Dogs may experience gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure.
2. Ibuprofen – This over-the-counter medication is a popular way to treat pain and inflammation in people – but for dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. Well-intentioned owners may give their dog what they consider to be a “safe dose” – but it can easily lead to bleeding stomach ulcers and eventually kidney failure. And, if left untreated, this can be fatal. Symptoms include poor appetite, vomiting, black tarry stools, vomiting blood, abdominal pain, weakness and lethargy.
3. Acetaminophen – Medicating your dog with acetaminophen without consulting a veterinarian is dangerous. (Pets also consume tablets that are dropped on the floor or left around the house.) Dogs are less sensitive to acetaminophen than cats are. For example, a 50-pound dog would need to ingest more than seven 500 mg tablets to suffer toxic effects. For a cat, one 250 mg acetaminophen tablet could be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic amount of acetaminophen (one pill or more), contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately. Common brands of acetaminophen include Tylenol®, Percocet® and aspirin-free Excedrin® among others. So remember to keep all medications out of your dog’s reach and NEVER give your dog any medication without first consulting your veterinarian. If you ever suspect that your dog has ingested any of these medications (in any amount), please contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately. I hope this helps keep your dog safe from common medications that can be dangerous.
We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Prednisone for Dogs

Prednisone is a powerful synthetic steroid, generally prescribed to reduce swelling and inflammation in dogs, and one with potentially dangerous side effects.

What is prednisone?

What is prednisone? Prednisone is a synthetic steroid that mimics the functions of cortisol, but in a much more powerful and concentrated form.

So what is cortisol? Cortisol is a hormone that is produced naturally in the adrenal glands, located close by the kidneys, both in humans and dogs. One of its functions is to break down glucose and convert it to energy that a dog can use in his daily activities. It has important healing and health functions, as well, and these are the focus of prednisone for dogs, as well as prednisolone, its metabolized variant.

What is prednisolone?

Well, when prednisone enters the kidneys, it is activated as prednisolone. If there is weak or compromised liver function, prednisolone for dogs may be administered instead for the same effects. Both prednisone and prednisolone are catabolic steroids. Their primary function in dogs is to relieve swelling and inflammation that arise due to any number of medical conditions. Let’s learn more about prednisone for dogs, its uses, and its potentially dangerous side effects!

What is prednisone used for in dogs?

Prednisone has a wide range of applications for medical treatment in dogs. Usually, it is deployed in treating severe allergies, or other conditions that involve a great deal of swelling and inflammation.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Breathing problems, such as asthma or respiratory infection
  • Joint pain associated with arthritis
  • Skin irritations or itching due to allergic reactions, eczema, or dermatitis
  • Severe allergic reactions, like anaphylactic shock
  • Addison’s disease, in which adrenal function is compromised
  • Cancer, including lymphoma
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Prednisone and prednisolone for dogs are very useful steroids, but very strong, twice as powerful or more than the cortisol naturally produced by their own adrenal glands. It should be administered with great care and precision.

What is the proper dosage of prednisone for dogs?

Is there a standard prednisone dosage for dogs? Not really. For humans, typical prednisone dosages include 20mg, 10mg, and 5mg. Dogs come in so many shapes and sizes that standard human dosages are far too high for them to tolerate. A dog’s veterinarian will take size, age, weight, and overall health condition, as well as the state of the dog’s liver to process steroids, into account before prescribing a dosage that is individually tailored to them.

How is prednisone administered?

Prednisone and prednisolone are versatile steroids, and are available in a number of formats. Prednisone can be given orally, topically, or by direct injection. It can be prescribed for dogs as tablets, pills, eye drops, liquid, syrup, injection, or topical ointment. A dog’s veterinarian will determine which form and what prednisone dosage are best for a given dog, based on the dog’s condition and particular needs.

Prednisone Side Effects in Dogs

Prednisone side effects in dogs are not mild, and can affect multiple internal and external systems, and yield a number of behavioral changes. Unless the situation is dire indeed, prednisone and prednisolone should be avoided when it comes to treating puppies, very young dogs, and dogs that have diabetes or are pregnant. It is particularly dangerous for young dogs and puppies, since long-term use of prednisone can slow or inhibit their normal patterns of growth and restrict their progress toward physical maturity.

In adult dogs, the side effects of a prednisone regimen intensify over time. Behavioral changes can worsen, leading to random aggressive outbursts or periods of depression. In the digestive system, long-term prednisone use in dogs can lead to the development of ulcers, which repeated instances of vomiting and diarrhea will exacerbate. The increased drinking and urination that dogs experience while on prednisone can negatively impact them as well. Over time, long-term effects of prednisone in dogs include the possibility of urinary tract infections.

These side effects of long-term prednisone for dogs are the tip of the iceberg. As an immunosuppressant, over time, prednisone can affect the basic function of a dog’s immune system, making them far more vulnerable to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Prednisone for dogs can also lead to obesity and diabetes in dogs. Because it mimics and floods a dog’s system with horomones linked to the adrenal glands, long-term prednisone treatments can cause normal adrenal gland functions to shut down completely.

Alternatives to prednisone

We’ve all seen commercials for medications where an announcer with a soothing voice tries to reassure us that “side effects are generally mild,” before launching into a laundry list of serious, or even fatal, side effects. We’re not going to mince words here with prednisone for dogs. It’s a serious and powerful synthetic steroid, and should only to be prescribed by a veterinarian to treat serious medical conditions.

Given the risks associated with prednisone for dogs, it’s logical to ask whether there are any alternatives. For example, is there a generic for prednisone? There are actually several synthetic steroids available for dogs, each with a name longer and less prounceable than the last, such as dexamethasone and triamcinolone. Your dog’s vet will work with you to determine the correct alternative. Is there an over the counter form of prednisone? No. These medications are so strong, they are only available by prescription.

The homeopathically inclined dog owner may ask whether there is a natural prednisone substitute for dogs. It is thought that a number of fruits, vegetables, and natural oils may reproduce the anti-inflammatory effects of prednisone. However, the amount or combination needed to achieve the effects would likely be disruptive to a dog’s normal diet or produce ill effects on a dog’s digestion. If a dog’s condition is serious enough to require steroids such as prednisone or prednisolone, dietary supplements are probably going to prove insufficient.

Has your dog ever been on prednisone?

Another thought that might occur to a dog owner is to give human prednisone from an existing prescription to a dog. This should never be done. As we’ve seen above, human dosages of prednisone are much greater than they are for dogs. Steroids this powerful and that carry this many risks should only be given to a dog under veterinary supervision. Have you ever had a dog on a short- or long-term prednisone prescription? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Melvin Peña

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372