SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Human drugs that can poison your dog

Many medications that are used safely in humans can cause poisoning of your dog. Never give your animal any medications unless under the directions of a veterinarian.

Keep all prescription, over-the-counter, and illicit drugs out of the reach of your pets, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages.


If a dog ingests a small amount, such as one dropped pill, there may be no toxic effects. However, anti-depressants can cause serious problems if you dog is very small or eats a lot of tablets. The higher the dose, the bigger the problem.  Many different symptoms can be seen depending on the kind of anti-depressant but symptoms can include: lethargy, loss of coordination, disorientation, sedation, agitation, tremors vocalization, fever, dilated pupils, vomiting, irregular heat beats, panting, weakness, and possibly seizures.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

These include ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. NSAIDs can cause digestive tract ulceration and kidney damage in dogs. One regular strength ibuprofen tablet can cause stomach ulcers in a 5kg dog. Symptoms of poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gut, stomach ulceration, and kidney failure.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found in a variety of products, e.g. tablets for Vitamin D deficiency and creams/ ointments for psoriasis. Poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gut, convulsions, abnormal heart rhythm, and kidney failure. Effects may occur some time after ingestion (even several days later) and may be permanent.

Even medications made for dogs such as routine dewormers can cause problems if your dog eats more than the correct dose. So take care and keep all of these away from your dog and make sure these items are not left where a dog may eat them. In addition, many common household and garden products as well as plants can be poisonous for your dog.

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