10 Common Poison Pills for Pets (Beware!)

About one-quarter of all phone calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) are about human medications. Your pet can easily ingest dropped pills or may be given harmful human medications by an unknowing owner, resulting in illness, or even death, of your pet.

The APCC provided us with the 10 most common human medication complaints they receive. Here they are, in order based on the number of complaints:

  1. Ibuprofen – Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) is the most common human medication ingested by pets. Many brands have a sweet outer coating that makes it appealing to pets (think “M&M,” but a potentially deadly one). Ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  2. Tramadol – Tramadol (Ultram®) is a pain reliever. Your veterinarian may prescribe it for your pet, but only at a dose that’s appropriate for your pet – never give your medication to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian! Too much tramadol can cause sedation or agitation, wobbliness, disorientation, vomiting, tremors and possibly seizures.
  3. Alprazolam – Alprazolam (Xanax®) is prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication and a sleep-aid. Most pets that ingest alprazolam can become sleepy and wobbly; however a few will become very agitated instead. These pills are commonly ingested by pets as people put them out on the nightstand so they remember to take them. Large doses of alprazolam can drop the blood pressure and could cause weakness or collapse.
  4. Adderall® – Adderall® is a combination of four different amphetamines and is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. This medication doesn’t have the same effect in pets as it does in people; it acts as a stimulant in our pets and causes elevated heart rate and body temperature, along with hyperactivity, tremors and seizures.
  5. Zolpidem – Zolpidem (Ambien®) is a sleep-aid for people. Pets commonly eat pills left on the bedside table. Zolpidem may make cats wobbly and sleepy, but most pets become very agitated and develop elevated heart rates.
  6. Clonazepam – Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is used as an anticonvulsant and anti-anxiety medication. It is sometimes also prescribed as a sleep-aid. When animals ingest clonazepam they can become sleep and wobbly. Too much clonazepam can lower the blood pressure, leading to weakness or collapse.
  7. Acetaminophen – Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is a very common pain killer found in most households. Cats are extremely sensitive to acetaminophen, but dogs can be affected too. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. It can also cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells so that the cells are unable to carry oxygen – like your body, your pet’s body needs oxygen to survive.
  8. Naproxen – Naproxen (Aleve®, Naprosyn®) is an over-the-counter pain reliever. Dogs and cats are very sensitive to naproxen and even small amounts can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  9. Duloxetine – Duloxetine (Cymbalta®) is prescribed as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety agent. When ingested by pets it can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.
  10. Venlafaxine – Venlafaxine (Effexor®) is an antidepressant. For some unknown reason, cats love to eat the capsules. Ingestion can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.

As you can tell from this list, a medication that does one thing for people does not necessarily do the same for our pets. And although this may be the list of the medications about which the APCC receives the largest numbers of complaints, remember that any human medication could pose a risk to your pets – not just these 10.

You can keep your pets safe by following simple common sense guidelines:

  • Always keep human medications away from pets unless you are specifically instructed by a veterinarian to give the medication;
  • Do not leave pills sitting on counter or any place a pet can get to them;
  • Do not leave pill bottles within reach of pets (You’ll be surprised how fast your dog can chew through a pill bottle.);
  • If you’re taking medications out of the bottle and you drop any of it, pick it up immediately so you know your pet won’t be able to eat it;
  • Always contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any medication not prescribed for them;
  • Never give your medication (or any medications prescribed for a two-legged family member) to your pet without first consulting a veterinarian.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

M. H. Archer, DVM
Loveland Veterinary House Call

Posted in Pet Safety | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rory Walker – Rest in Peace

Rory Walker
2001 – 2016


Rory, our beloved Westie, went peacefully yesterday. He finally lost the battle with heart and lung disease. He was such a pitiful thing when we met him twelve years ago, but he grew into a great personality and a real comedian. He lost much of that over the past year as his health began failing, but was still the sweetest little boy ever.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Five Common Myths About Heartworm Disease in Pets

It’s that time of year again when we tend to think and talk about heartworm disease with our clients.  There is always misconception and confusion around this topic so let’s dig in.  Heartworm is a parasite that lives in the heart and blood stream.  Heartworm disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.  Once the mosquito bites and the larva is in the dog’s bloodstream it takes it approximately 6 months to go through is various life stages to become an adult in the right chambers of the heart.  Imagine angel hair pasta inside your heart.  That makes it difficult for your heart to work over time and will eventually cause heart failure and other related diseases.  The hard thing is that sometimes heartworm infections don’t cause any symptoms other than sudden death.  The symptoms will sometimes show up before this happens thankfully and coughing is usually the first sign.  You may or may not see signs of fatigue, exercise intolerance, or collapse.

Myth #1:  Clients are always telling me that their dog does not have heartworm because they don’t see it in the stool, well you shouldn’t.  It does not live there; it is not an intestinal parasite, it is a blood parasite.

Myth #2:  The next thing clients tell me is that their dog does not live outside so it’s not at risk, wrong!  I hope your dog is going outside at least to go to the bathroom and hopefully for walks.  Also mosquitos do come inside our houses so all animals are at risk.  Indoor cats actually have a higher incidence of heartworm infections.

Myth #3:  My dog only needs to be on heartworm prevention for 6 months – well maybe, it depends on where you live but for the most part (and definitely in Colorado) they need to be on prevention all year round.  With our volatile weather all over the country nowadays it is possible for a mosquito to bite and infect your animal in those 6 months that you think you are safe because it’s “cold” out.  A random fact that I recently learned was that one mosquito can bite your pet 80 times in a single evening.

Myth #4:  My dog does not need to be tested yearly – yes they do and it is important for a number of reasons.  Just like all parasite medications, there are heartworms that have developed a resistance to the prevention.  If your dog is the unlucky dog to get one of these infections, we need to know about it so it can be addressed.  Your dog could have vomited up the medication without you knowing it and was not covered for a month.  User error also comes into play – a large amount of people forget to give it and may skip a month or two so that naturally makes them vulnerable.

Myth #5:  Cats do not get heartworm disease – false.  Cats do get heartworm disease just not as easily as dogs because they are not a normal host.  When cat’s get the disease from a mosquito it is hard to know because they may not show any signs.  They usually do not have as large of a worm burden as dogs and may only have 1 worm in their heart.  The test for cats is not as straight forward as it is for dogs because of this.

So the moral of the story – make sure your pet is on heartworm prevention all year round and test each year too.  This will save you much headache and money because treating a heartworm infection is expensive, has risk, and takes time and many tests to get rid of.  This is a very simplified explanation of heartworm disease so as always, consult your veterinarian with any questions or concerns you may have for your specific pet.

M. H. Archer, DVM
Loveland Veterinary House Call

Posted in Pet Med Articles | Leave a comment

New Mendota Leashes!

Mendota products have be absent from Rescue Pet Supply for a while, but now they’re back!

MT01236Martingale style lead and collar in one. Hand Crafted in the USA – this is a long time favorite with the agility crowd! Fast becoming a favorite of every day dog owners. Made of waterproof, colorfast, durable multi-filament polypropylene solid core roping in all new fashion forward colors features new brushed nickel hardware and oil tanned leather splices. Features a 9/16″ wide neck band made of the same durable polypropylene material. Easily removed and put on at the line, does not have constricting qualities of a choke collar.

Wide variety of sizes and colors from which to choose.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


“Good judgement is the result of experience, and experience the result of bad judgement.”

-Mark Twain

Posted in Pet Tips | Leave a comment

Intestinal Parasites and your Pet

The most common intestinal parasites in dog and cats are roundworm, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, coccidian, and giardia.  The internal parasites live in the intestines of the animal and are passed on through the feces and through the placenta in some cases and through the mother’s milk.  Most parasites are found all over the country and can be passed on to us.  Prevention and treatment of internal parasites is important in the overall health of your pet and in some cases our health.

Roundworms are the most common parasite of dog and cats.  It is passed into the environment in the stool.  Animals and people become infected by drinking infected water or by licking the soil or licking dirt off fur or paws.  Hookworms spread the same way in the environment, people can be infected by walking barefoot over infected soil/sand/dirt.  Roundworms and hookworms can be spread to the puppies or kittens either through the placenta or through the milk.  Tapeworm infections come from the dog or cat eating an infected flea or lice (external parasites).  Tapeworms look like dried rice segments stuck to the fur around the rear end.  Whipworms, coccidian, and giardia are all picked up from ingesting soil or water infected with the parasite as well.

Each parasite causes different symptoms in pets.  The most common symptoms of an intestinal parasite are diarrhea, bloating in puppies and kittens, weight loss, poor hair coat quality, scooting, and seeing parasites in stool or stuck to fur.  In my experience many animals have no symptoms depending on which parasite it is and how high the worm burden is.

Prevention consists of making sure to pick up animal feces as soon as possible as to not contaminate the soil.  Avoid places where their might be a large amount of feces from untreated animals (i.e. the dog park).  For people, prevention consists of good hygiene, washing hands after touching animals or soil, and making sure to wear shoes when outside and then take them off and not walk through the house with shoes on.

Treatment consists of various deworming agents depending on which parasite(s) is(are) present.  Different parasites require different tests and dewormers to treat them.  Most parasites can be found in a fecal sample from your pet.  Depending on what part of the life cycle the parasite is in you may or may not be able to detect them.  Giardia is notoriously hard to find and may require more than one fecal sample to find it.  It is good to have your pet’s feces checked at least once a year by your veterinarian; twice a year depending on which part of the country you live in and what risk factors your local environment provide.  There are so many different dewormers on the market it is impossible to speak to each one of them.  They can come in liquid or pill form and can kill one or many parasites.  Since fleas are the major cause of tapeworms, having adequate flea control is important in preventing future tapeworm infections.  Most heartworm (blood parasite) preventions contain dewormers for some of the most common intestinal parasites so they are being dewormed on a monthly basis.  There are other dewormers that can cover most of the intestinal parasites but there is no one magic pill to get rid of all of them.  Giardia and coccidia require their own individual treatments.  Puppies and kittens can get parasites through the placenta and/or milk so having a deworming protocol from your veterinarian is very important for the safety of the mother and the babies.

There are many, many, more parasites out there that can also infect animals.  That is why a fecal sample to your vet is vital to identify which parasite your pet has and that will determine which dewormer is right for your pet.  If you just go buy a “wormer” off the shelf at the local feed store, there is no way to know if you are treating the right parasite or if there is more than one parasite present.  Prompt treatment will help your pet feel better, lessen internal intestinal damage, and decrease the chance of your pet infecting you or another animal.  Good hygiene and prompt removal of feces from the environment goes a long way to help prevent everyone from getting intestinal parasites.

M. H. Archer, DVM
Loveland Veterinary House Call

Posted in Pet Med Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Pet Safety Products Keeping Your Pet Safe While Driving

Video Source: youcarnews.com

While most pet owners feel great pleasure in taking their pets for car rides, experts suggest that they must not forget to keep their furry friends properly restrained. Pets without restraints can not only cause a good deal of distraction for the drivers but can also become a projectile during accidents. Hence, proper pet safety equipment is almost a necessity for car trips, not only for your own good but also for the safety of your loving pet.

However, it has been found that most of the pet restraints fail to meet the safety standards. In fact, certain crash tests conducted to prove this point has revealed that 25 out of every 29 pet safety care products for cars, trucks and other vehicles fail to work during crashes in one way or the other. Pet products do not fall under the category of consumer products. Hence, they can easily bypass all kind of regulations or oversight.

This kind of revelation can be quite intimidating for pet owners who love to or need to carry their pets along in their vehicles on road trips. If the pet restraints fail to serve their purpose during accidents, it can not only put the pet owner and their family at risk but can also pose a huge threat for other drivers on the road.

Thankfully, not all pet safety care products fail to deliver on quality.

Avail Effectively Designed Pet Safety Products in the Market

Even when most pet safety products today complain of having faulty designs, there are some that serve their purpose most efficiently. One such product that deserves to be trusted is a large or medium Booster/Carrier/Car Seat from Pet Gear.

This product is extremely handy when it comes to travel with your pet without hampering your driving ability or convenience. The firm yet cozy Booster or Car Seat helps to keep your pet comfortably secured using your car’s seat belt system. Not only this; it is also designed with several pockets to keep your leash, snacks or other pet needs safely. You can conveniently use this car seat for dogs weighing up to 15 pounds.

The Pet Gear Booster/Car Seat is easy to install and does not require any special tools for its installation.

With great customer reviews, the Carrier/Booster from Pet Gear is a product you should certainly try out when your sole concern is pet safety in the car. The product is trustworthy and seamlessly designed for ensuring optimal safety for your pet.

Posted in Pet Safety | Tagged , | Leave a comment