Dogs and cats are sometimes pretty similar to people. They’re social with us, have the same basic needs, and can wear clothes (when we dress them up).
But the similarities are only skin deep. On the inside, a dog or a cat has a very different system that yours or mine.
Here’s where that starts to be a big deal: pain medication.
Give your dog or cat the wrong pill to help arthritis or other pain and you might be sending your pet to an early grave. And it’s not just a dosage thing. It’s a chemical thing.
Here are the top human pain medications that you should not give to your pets.
This drug is commonly touted as one of the safest pain killers. And it is... for people. Not so much for cats and dogs.
Tylenol can cause liver failure and severe damage to red blood cells. If your dog or cat shows signs of toxicity: vomiting, difficulty breathing, facial swelling, or disorientation, get her to an emergency veterinary clinic right away.
On the whole, dogs are a bit less sensitive than cats. At least bigger dogs are, with their larger body-weight. A 50 pound dog being able to handle one or so Tylenol tablets before the drug levels became toxic.
A medium-sized cat could die from just one 250mg tablet.
As a rule, do not give your cat or dog Tylenol.
This is another safe-for-humans-but-deadly-to-pets drug out there. It’s a mild painkiller for us, but a plain ol’ killer for animals.
Ibuprofen causes stomach ulcers and kidney failure. If it’s not caught in time, it can kill. If you see your dog vomits along with having black tarry stools and shows general weakness, it may have ate some Ibuprofen.
If you give your pet ibuprofen and see these symptoms, it’s vet-time.
As a rule, ibuprofen with pets is a big no.
Motrin is another name for ibuprofen. Same active ingredient. Different branding.
Even the junior strength version of Motrin still has 100mg of ibuprofen and is not safe for dogs and cats.
No Motrin for furry friends.
Once again, Advil is another name for ibuprofen. Strange, hey?
Wondering what the difference is between Advil, Motrin, and straight ibuprofen is? There isn’t really one.
Thinking of giving Rover of Patches some Advil? Think no.
Some pets can tolerate small doses of Aspirin. Its less lethal than the medicines above, but it’s still a really good idea to talk to your vet first. Best not to just start tossing chemicals into your cat or dog and hoping they work.
Your vet will evaluate your pet’s age, other medications, and sensitivities to see if aspirin can be handled. Even then, you might have to use baby aspirin.
Aspirin can cause stomach problems. Your vet may recommend using a coated version of the pill to treat arthritis pain.
Not every dog will tolerate aspirin well. Smaller dogs should only receive baby doses under veterinary care.
And cats? They metabolize aspirin slowly so are much more prone to overdose. Only give very low doses under veterinary care.
Cat aspirin overdose symptoms include loss of balance, vomiting with or without blood, diarrhea, depression, and mood changes. If you suspect your cat has ingested aspirin, seek immediate veterinary care. Aspirin overdose in cats can lead to death.
Watch out for aspirin with enteric coating. This kind of coating has been called a “hard candy” coating and changes how aspirin is absorbed in human bodies. In dogs and cats, it can set conditions for an overdose.
The ruling for aspirin is maybe, only with a vet.
Pet-safe Pain Relief
Rimadyl is one of a few safe drugs for pets. It’s formulated specifically for cats and dogs.
Many vets prescribe Rimadyl relieve pain due to osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia – both common to larger breeds of dogs.
With any medications, some risks remain inevitable. An overdose could lead to renal failure, gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and seizure. An allergic reaction can lead to rash and swelling . Seek immediate veterinary care if you suspect an allergic reaction.
Cats can take Rimadyl in much smaller doses – about 1mg per pound. Some veterinaries do not prescribe Rimadyl for cats at all, though . Severe pain (post-operative, for example) can be treated with morphine-type drugs.
For joint pain related to aging and obesity, some vets simply opt for natural alternatives such as supplementing with glucosamine.
It’s important to check with a veterinary before attempting to treat your pet with human medication. You understandably want to soothe and comfort your beloved pet by any means possible, but doing so can come at a huge cost.
Reactions to ingesting medication can require overnight vet care, expensive treatments such as intravenous fluids, and further pain and suffering for your pet – and your wallet.