10 Human Pills That Kill Your Dog (How to Keep Your Pet Safe)

Why would any responsible pet parent give human pills to dogs without consulting the vet? The answer is they won’t. However, dogs are born foragers and have been known to ingest pills from the floor. So, what human pills are most toxic to dogs, and what do you do if your pup accidentally eats one (or several)? This article looks at 10 human pills that kill your dog and how to keep your pet safe.

Is it Ever Okay to Give My Dog Human Medication?

Is it Ever Okay to Give My Dog Human Medication

Human medication is indeed recommended for dogs in some cases by veterinarians, leading pet owners to believe that it is safe to administer to their furry friends. However, human pills should only be given to dogs when specifically recommended by a licensed veterinarian and only in the prescribed dosages.

Some human medications that are commonly prescribed for dogs include:

  • Antihistamines, including loratadine (Claritin), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Antidiarrheals/Antinauseants, including bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), Kaopectate, and Loperamide (Imodium)
  • Antacids, including Famotidine (Pepcid AC) and cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • OTC steroids, creams, and gels
  • Topical antibiotic ointments
  • Anti-fungal creams, sprays, and gels
  • Artificial tears
  • Mineral oil
  • Hydrogen peroxide

It’s important to note that none of these OTC medications should be administered without the consultation of a vet. Oral medications must be carefully dosed by weight and can still be toxic or harmful to your dog if given the incorrect dosage.


Antihistamines, particularly, can cause side effects in dogs, including drowsiness and hyperactivity. Antihistamines may also contain decongestants, which should not be given to dogs under any circumstances.

How Can I Prevent My Pet From Accidentally Ingesting Human Pills?

If your dog is understimulated, they are more likely to engage in this unwanted behavior. Keeping your pills locked up or someplace high off the ground is always best to be safe. You can also distract your dog by giving it a few chew toys to play with and taking them for a long walk before leaving the house for the day. These should keep it satiated for the day and prevent it from going on a hunting mission when you are not around.

10 Human Pills That Kill Your Dog

Human Pills That Kill Your Dog

While you should give no human medication to dogs without the vet’s approval, some are more dangerous than others. The following are ten human medicines that can cause fatal reactions in dogs.

Paracetamol: It may be your go-to painkiller, but paracetamols are incredibly harmful when ingested by dogs. An overdose of paracetamol causes liver failure, kidney failure, blood cell damage, and eventual death.

Morphine-Based Pain Medications: Any medication that contains morphine, including Tramadol, Methadone, Fentanyl, and Codeine, is a serious threat to dogs. Accidental ingestion of a few pills can cause extreme wobbliness and severe difficulty in breathing. Fatal instances of toxicity from morphine-based drugs in dogs are not uncommon.

Fat Loss Medications That Includes Caffeine: Many fat medications contain high amounts of caffeine. These fat loss pills are often dangerous for humans, let alone dogs. Caffeine poisoning leads to shivering, seizures, and heart failure.

Naproxen: Another popular human pain medication on our list, Naproxen, can be fatal to dogs even in low dosages.

Vitamin D Supplements or Pills: Anything that contains high amounts of Vitamin D can be dangerous for dogs. Vitamin D poisoning (Yes, it’s a real thing that affects humans) can be fatal for dogs. It often leads to seizures, violent muscle spasms, and heart failure in dogs.

Bodybuilding Supplements: Some pet parents think that bodybuilding supplements will help their dogs grow muscles and get stronger. Bodybuilding supplements contain high amounts of micronutrients. Some of these nutrients can be fatal to dogs when consumed excessively. Dogs are unable to digest these supplements. Dogs often have bloody diarrhea and stomach ailments.

Pseudoephedrine: Pseudoephedrine is a group of human medications used as decongestants. If a small dog ingests as low as three pills can be fatal.

Ibuprofen: According to some statistics, almost 3% percent of all dog owners mistake feeding human painkillers for dogs. Dogs overdosing on Ibuprofen often experience bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, and vomiting.

Alprazolam: Alprazolam is a well-known medication used to control sudden anxiety and sleeplessness. Plenty of safe anti-anxiety pet drugs can help calm the nerves. Feeding Alprazolam can cause severe drops in blood pressure levels and easily be fatal. If your dog suffers from anxiety, it’s best to consult a vet.

Venlafaxine: Otherwise known as Effexor, this human antidepressant is fatal to pets. When ingested, it can cause tremors, seizures, agitation, and vocalization.

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Ingested Human Medication?

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Ingested Human Medication

If your dog has accidentally ingested human medication, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately. It’s essential to establish early whether or not your dog has ingested a toxic dose of medication and whether you need to seek immediate veterinary assistance or continue to monitor the situation.

In addition to human pills being toxic, several other substances can cause pet poisoning and require immediate attention, including:

  • Plants (including Tulips, Poison Hemlock, Branching Ivy, Cyclamen, Jimsonweed)
  • Artificial sweetener
  • Cooked bones
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Garlic, onions, and chives
  • Avocado
  • Grapes

Final Thoughts

While certain human medications may be prescribed to dogs in small amounts, it’s important never to administer human medication to your furry friend yourself – and even more important to keep medications far out of reach of paws and snouts!

If your dog has ingested human pills, contact your veterinarian or the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline immediately. Services like our partner Vetster allow pet owners to speak with a licensed veterinarian 24/7 through video chat from the comfort of their own homes while avoiding unnecessary trips to the emergency room. Book an online vet appointment now!

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