WARNING: Some Human Cold And Flu Medicines Are Deadly For Pets

Midsection of woman with puppy standing outdoors during winter. Beware cold and flu medicines.

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According to the ASPCA, cold and flu medicines for people could be fatal to your pet. Over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceutical products, used to ease symptoms of winter-time sickness and other ailments in humans, contain ingredients that are deadly to dogs, cats, and other pets. Animals that ingest these products often require immediate medical attention.

Watch For Deadly Ingredients

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Acetaminophen (found in in Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and vitamin D derivatives are a few of the active ingredients to watch for, but these pet-deadly substances aren’t limited to cold and flu medication.

Many cold medicines have Pseudoephedrine, which is a decongestant compound found in a wide range of cold and sinus medications.

Pseudoephedrine possesses stimulant qualities. It can cause a rise in blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature for your dog or cat. You may notice your pet becomes hyper or nervous and in some cases it can cause seizures. Just 30 mg of pseudoephedrine in a small dog or a cat can result in death.

If Your Pet Eats Cold Or Flu Medication

Pets that eat these substances display a variety of symptoms, including discolored gums, swollen face or paws, seizures, racing heart, and more. Some telltale signs appear immediately, others can take more than 24 hours to appear.

If your pet ingests any human medication, then you should contact an emergency veterinarian right away. If one is not available, then you should call the ASPCA’s pet poison hotline at (888) 426-4435. They may charge $65 for your call; however, when your pet’s life is on the line, the cost is worth it.

Tips For Keeping Medicine Out Of Reach

Here are some ways to make sure the human cold and flu medicines stay for humans only:

  • Make sure to seal all medication when you’re not using it.
  • Put medication away in a medicine cabinet or drawer that your pet cannot open.
  • Clean up any spilled medicine right away and dispose of it in a garbage bin that closes tightly, or in a bin that you keep outside. You don’t want your pet licking medicine-soaked paper towels from the trash or eating pills you dropped under the couch a year ago.

For more information, check out the top 10 deadliest human medicines named by the ASPCA and our article on winter-care facts and myths.

How do you keep your medicine out of your pet’s reach? Let us know in the comments below!