Human Medications That Are Poisonous To Pets

Published by I Love Veterinary

Updated on

I Love Veterinary blog is reader-supported, and we may earn a commission from products purchased through links on this page, at no additional cost to you. Learn more About Us and our Product Review Process >

Every pet owner encountered at least one situation of panic at home when their pet was sick. In these moments they reach for medications in the house that they think are safe for their fluffy family member after a consult with Dr.Google. Here we compiled a list of 10 medications that are poisonous for pets.

Human Medications that are Poisonous to Pets

Get this as a poster for your clinic or classroom!

If you want to know more about other toxic an poisonous things for pets in your home, you can read Human Foods that are Toxic to Dogs.

  1. NSAIDS (e.g. ibuprofen)

  • so dangerous that even 1-2 pills can cause serious damage to pets
  • dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, gerbils, and hamster can develop severe stomach and intestinal ulcers
  • kidney failure is possible
  • may fall into a coma
ibuprofen pills I Love Veterinary
  1. ACETAMINOPHEN and other cold/flu medications

  • even though is safe for children, it is not safe for pets, especially not for CATS
  • one tablet does irreversible damage to the red blood cells in cats thus limiting their ability to carry the oxygen
  • in dogs, leads to liver failure, and in very high doses to damage of the red blood cells
flu medications I Love Veterinary

  • some antidepressants can be used in pets (under strict supervision by a vet) but overdoses can cause serious neurologic problems
  • sedation, lethargy, incoordination, seizures, and tremors are common side-effects
  •  some antidepressants can be stimulants, resulting in high blood pressure and heart rate and elevated body temp.

  • in people are used to reduce anxiety and to help sleep, but in pets may have the opposite effect
  • agitation, but also lethargy and slow breathing may occur
  • in cats, even one pill may cause liver failure
benzodiazepines, xanax I Love Veterinary
  1. ADD/ADHD meds

  • these medications often contain amphetamines and methylphenidate
  • even small doses in pets can cause life-threatening tremors, high body temp, seizures and some heart problems
ADHD meds I Love Veterinary

  • when pets find the albuterol canister, they often get a very high dose of the medication
  • this results in vomiting, very high heart rate and weakness
  • this is due to the intracellular shift of the potassium
Albuterol I Love Veterinary

  • dogs have naturally underactive thyroid glands and luckily they need higher doses than humans so rarely comes to overdose
  • when it does, dogs and cats experience muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, rapid heart rate and aggression
thyroid hormones I Love Veterinary
  1. ACE inhibitors

  • used to treat high blood pressure, this is “the safest” medication
  • ingested in small doses can cause low blood pressure and can be monitored at home (unless the pet has kidney failure or heart disease)
ACE inhibitors I Love Veterinary

  • can cause a life-threatening decrease in the blood pressure and bradycardia
BETA-BLOCKERS I Love Veterinary

  • few pills will not cause any problem (maybe moodiness 🙂 )
  • high amounts, especially estrogen creams, can cause bone marrow suppression
Human Medications that are Poisonous to Pets infographic i love veterinary

Another thing to note is the National Poison Prevention Week, where you can learn more about poison prevention and how to celebrate this week.

Sharing is caring!


Project dedicated to support and help to improve Veterinary Medicine. Sharing information and raising discussions in the veterinary community.


pedialyte for dogs

Pedialyte for Dogs: 2024 Updated

8 min read

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Drop your email below to join I Love Veterinary squad and enjoy regular news, updates, exclusive content, new arrivals and more!