It is not uncommon for well-meaning pet owners to give their own human medications to their pets. Unfortunately, most human medications are not safe for animals and can cause a great deal of damage.
NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Aleve and Motrin)
NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories include common names such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and some types of Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). While these medications are safe for people, even one or two pills can cause serious harm to a pet. Stomach or intestinal ulcers as well as kidney damage or failure can be caused due to the ingestion of the medications.
Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)
Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) is a very safe drug for people, even children; this is not true for pets—especially cats! One regular strength tablet of acetaminophen may cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells, limiting their ability to carry oxygen. In dogs, acetaminophen leads to liver failure and, in large doses, can cause red blood cell damage.
There are veterinary equivalents of these medications that are much safer and more effective for animals. If you suspect your pet needs medical attention, please schedule a visit to your veterinarian and wait for instructions or prescriptions before giving any medication to your pet. If you’ve given these medications to your pet, or your pet has ingested some accidentally, call your veterinarian immediately.