The same as humans, sometimes your pet needs medication in order to manage a condition, whether it be pain or anxiety or heart disease or what have you. You may be tempted to use unprescribed medication for your pet to help them feel better. In some cases, such as with arthritis, pets can have similar conditions to humans, which can make the impulse to use unprescribed medication for your pet all the more tempting, while in others, like heartworm disease, they are more pet-specific.
No one likes seeing their pet hurting, especially not if there are medications out there which should be able to help. One of the most common questions we here at Borrett Animal Hospital receive is whether or not it is safe to use unprescribed medication for your pet or if you really do need to take them in before they can get meds that can help. Here are some of the most common questions we get about medication for your pet. Spoiler alert: the answer to if you can use unprescribed medication for your pet is a resounding no. Here’s why.
Can You Use Unprescribed Medication For Pets?
Many people speculate that you don’t actually need a prescription for pet meds and that it’s perfectly fine to just get pet meds online, use over-the-counter human medications for your pets, or to share medications with your pet. You absolutely can not do this, not if you want to help your pet! Many human meds can seriously hurt your pet, such as Tylenol and other such human pain killers. You never know how a drug will affect your pet, so getting any unprescribed medication for your pet exponentially raises your risk for disaster and hurting your furbaby.
There are some pet-specific over-the-counter medications that you can get at vet pharmacies which you don’t need a prescription for that you can purchase, such as for worms and parasites. These are okay, because they do not require a prescription anyway and have been verified to be safe. However, when it comes to more serious conditions, you should always schedule a vet appointment.
There may be sites that claim to sell prescription medications for your pet that you don’t actually need a prescription for, but these are extremely untrustworthy. It’s always better to be safe and take your pet to the vet if you think they need medication than to use unprescribed medication for your pet and be the worst kind of sorry later.
Is It Safe To Share Medication With Your Pet?
If you have a similar condition to your pet, you may be tempted to just share your medication with this. This is bad for multiple reasons.
- Your medication is for you. If you share it, you won’t have what you need to manage your own condition properly.
- Human medications are often very toxic for pets. Your pet will need their own medication for their condition.
- It’s illegal to share medication with anyone, including your pets.
Why Do You Need A Prescription For Pet Meds?
You need a prescription for pet meds for the same reason why you need a prescription for your own meds. Just like humans, there are medications that you can get for your pet that are over-the-counter at vet pharmacies because they have a low dosage and are generally safe. You need a prescription for pet meds for meds that have high potency and potential for side effects. Some examples of pet meds that you need prescriptions for include: antidepressants, antibiotics, anti-seizure drugs, pain killers, sedatives, and more.
Another reason why you can’t use unprescribed medication for your pets but must obtain a prescription is because dosage varies a great deal based on your pet’s weight and species. Your pet may not react well to a medication, or medications may interact negatively with each other. Your vet will be able to determine what kind of prescription is best for your pet, specifically, and their specific symptoms and circumstances.
What About Vitamins Or CBD?
The same as you should consult with your doctor about vitamins or CBD, so should you do so in regards to these things for you pet. The same goes for antibiotics. The type of antibiotic used will depend on what kind of bacteria is causing your pet’s infection, something your vet will be able to determine.
Can You Use Old Prescriptions For Your Pet?
Again, just like you, your pet shouldn’t have old prescriptions. It can be tempting to consider, if you have an old prescription lying around, to just use it instead of going to the vet to get a new one. However, old prescriptions aren’t as effective, and can even become toxic and cause severe side-effects. It’s always best to discard medication once it’s expired. Your vet will be able to advise you on this.
What Can I Do If My Pet Needs Medication?
If your pet needs medication, don’t give unprescribed medication to them! Come to Borrett Animal Hospital so that we can diagnose your pet’s condition and determine what medication would be best for them, specifically. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!