This time of winter is when the worst of cold and flu season strikes. No one likes being struck down with a cold, surrounded by dirty tissues and fighting off the sneezes, sniffles and sore throats under the blankets. It’s no fun, and that’s why you turn to our Canadian Pharmacy for common over-the-counter medication to help keep that cold at bay and let you get on with your life. One thing that you need to watch however is to be careful with even the most common over-the-counter cold and flu medication can actually be quite deadly for your furry friends at home.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) wants all pet owners to be aware of the dangers and risks that improperly stored or casually placed cold and flu pills can pose to dogs and cats.
Just one tablet of extra-strength acetaminophen, for example, could kill your cat. Cats are especially sensitive to acetaminophen (which is often sold as Tylenol), because it can damage red blood cells and interfere with their ability to transport oxygen, the group says.
In dogs, which tend to be bigger than cats, acetaminophen can cause liver damage as well as red blood cell damage at higher doses.
Pseudoephedrine is a popular decongestant in many cold and sinus products, and acts like a stimulant if accidentally ingested by pets. In cats and dogs, it causes elevated heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature as well as seizures. Ibuprofen (often sold as Advil) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen can cause serious problems even in small doses. Pets are extremely sensitive to their effects, the ASPCA says, and may experience stomach and intestinal ulcers and—in the case of cats—kidney damage.
Even the morning vitamin staple of so many people – Vitamin C, can be a deadly pill for your pets. Even small exposures to Vitamin D analogues like calcipotriene and calcitriol can cause life-threatening spikes in blood calcium levels in pets. Clinical signs of exposure—including vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination and thirst due to kidney failure—often don’t occur for more than 24 hours after ingestion.
In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received 89,000 calls related to pets ingesting over-the-counter and prescription medications.
The ASPCA says if you catch your pet gobbling up medication, you should call your vet right away, even if the pet seems fine, since a poisoned animal might appear fine for several hours or even a day or two after the incident. The ASPCA also has a Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. .
Be sure to take the product’s packaging with you to the vet so s/he can see what’s been ingested. And remember to keep all medications tucked away in bathroom cabinets—and far from curious cats and dogs. We might need a decongestant to get going and get on with our day, but that same pill can be deadly for your favorite furry friend.