Human meds for pets? Only sometimes |

Human meds for pets? Only sometimes

Julie Sutor
Special to the DailyAlthough they look good together, dogs and human meds can be a dangerous combination.

SUMMIT COUNTY – If your pooch is in pain after a long hike, it may be tempting to soothe its suffering by throwing a caplet of ibuprofen in her dog dish.Or if you’ve gotten stuck pet-sitting for your best bud’s all-too-hyper pup, maybe you’ve wondered what effects a Tylenol PM might have on that bundle of unbridled energy.Well, resist those temptations.Some over-the-counter human drugs can be used to treat pet ailments, but most are dangerous – even lethal – in human doses.

“Animals aren’t people, and things that people can take often aren’t acceptable for animals,” said Mark Cowan of Buffalo Mountain Animal Hospital in Silverthorne. “There are some drugs that can cross over and be helpful, but I would contact the vet first.”Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, though helpful in knocking out a human headache, can pose a danger to animals, especially cats. These drugs include such pain-killers as aspirin, Tylenol and Advil.”Cats don’t have the enzymes to help them digest the drugs. Their livers can’t metabolize it, so it ends up hanging around much longer than in you or me, and it can reach toxic levels,” Cowan said.There are situations in which a vet might recommend treatment with over-the-counter pain medications. A small dose of aspirin might help an animal get through the night if the owners live far from a vet and can’t seek professional treatment until morning. But owners should never play vet with human pain medication, because two regular aspirin, for example, can poison a small dog.

And owners should make sure such drugs aren’t sitting around where pets can get to them, because some have sugary coatings that will appeal to a dog’s sweet tooth.Other over-the-counter drugs are less risky, but still should be used only at the direction of a veterinarian.Antihistamines can be helpful in treating allergies in pets.”It’s not uncommon for dogs to have allergies. You and I get hay fever, dogs can get itchiness or they can be allergic to their food. The purebred dogs tend to have more of those problems,” Cowan said.Diarrhea can be treated with Pepto-Bismol or Imodium. And coughing dogs might get relief from Robitussin, as long as an owner is careful not to use a product that contains additional medication for a sore throat.

And for that wound-up pup with an unnatural love for your $100 running shoes? Lots of obedience training.Vail, Colorado

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