Top 10 Medications Your Pet Should Never Take

Every year thousands of pets are poisoned by medications that are intended for human consumption.  The Cat Channel printed a list of the most common drugs that are poisonous to pets.


The Pet Poison Helpline which is a 24-hour service staffed by veterinary professionals, reported that almost half the calls they receive involve pets that have ingested either over-the-counter or prescription medicines meant for people. 


Here is the list of the 10 most common medications reported to the Pet Poison Helpline:


1. NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Aleve and Motrin) Common household medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) top the list. The names include ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and some types of Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).


2. Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) Even though this drug is safe, this is not true for pets — especially cats. One regular strength tablet of acetaminophen may cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells.


3. Antidepressants (e.g. Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro) While occasionally used in pets, overdoses can lead to serious neurological problems such as sedation, incoordination, tremors and seizures. Pets seem to enjoy the taste of Effexor and often eat the entire pill. One pill can cause serious poisoning.


4. ADD/ADHD medications (e.g. Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin) Minimal ingestions of these medications by pets can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.


5. Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (e.g. Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta) About half of the dogs who ingest sleep aids become agitated instead of sedate. In addition, these drugs may cause severe lethargy, incoordination and slowed breathing in pets.


6. Birth control (e.g. estrogen, estradiol, progesterone) Large ingestions of estrogen and estradiol can cause bone marrow suppression, particularly in birds. Additionally, female pets that are intact are at an increased risk of side effects from estrogen poisoning.


7. ACE Inhibitors (e.g. Zestril, Altace) Pets ingesting small amounts of this medication can potentially be monitored at home, unless they have kidney failure or heart disease.


8. Beta-blockers (e.g. Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg) Small ingestions of these drugs may cause serious poisoning in pets. Overdoses can cause life-threatening decreases in blood pressure and a slow heart rate.


9. Thyroid hormones (e.g. Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid) Large acute overdoses in cats and dogs can cause muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate and aggression.


10. Cholesterol-lowering agents (e.g. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor) Most “statin” ingestions only cause mild vomiting or diarrhea. Serious side effects from these drugs come with long-term use. 


The Pet Poison Helpline is staffed with veterinary professionals, including board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialists, board-certified veterinary emergency critical care specialists and veterinary technicians specializing in toxicology.  You can reach the helpline at: 800-213-6680.





Laura B.
Laura B.8 years ago


Elaine Dixon
Elaine Dixon9 years ago

good story and glad to know that...

poepiesnoepie k.
Past Member 9 years ago

nice poll.. great help for pet lovers..

Kelly D.
Kelly D9 years ago

Thanks for this!

Susan Suni Ibarra
Susan Ibarra9 years ago

Lilli P. Boy, am I with YOU on this one!!! I, too, had no idea that pet owners would be that stupid. There are such morons out there, including the mother in the news who said first that she killed her son, stuffed him in a diaper bag, and threw him in a dumpster!!! Then she told the baby-sitter that she had already doped her son up with Tylenol to shut him up, and if he started crying and getting out of control, to just give him a bunch more!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There really are evil people like her and Casey Anthony out there in the world with us!!!!! GOD HELP US!!!! THEY NEED CAPITAL PUNISHMENT - - - - THEY NEED TO BE GONE FROM HERE!!! I DO NOT WANT TO BREATH THE SAME AIR AS THEM!!!!

Kat M.
Kat M9 years ago

Every pet owner should read this article.

Maria L.
Maria L9 years ago

I never give my dog drugs, only if vet tells me...

Beth S.
Beth S9 years ago

Thank you for the information--a pet's life could be saved by it.

Wendy Broad
Past Member 9 years ago

I had no idea, but I keep all medications safely away, as you would for children, so there would be no accidental swallowing of medications. It's not hard to do.

Lilli P.
Lilli P9 years ago

I find it hard to believe anyone would be so stupid and give their beloved pets human medications