What to Do If Your Dog Swallows Your Medicine

If your dog got hold of your prescription pills or OTC drugs, would you know what to do?

Dogs are snoopy.  Often if something lands on the floor, they claim it as theirs, regardless of whether it is good for them or not.  If your dog swallows anything that belongs in the medicine cabinet, it is important to take quick action! Would you know what to do?

Pay Attention to What Your Dog Eats

It isn’t true that dogs won’t eat something that isn’t good for them. Most dogs will chew on anything they can get in their mouth! It is important to realize that there are many things that can harm your dog, including  human foods and plants that you may have in your yard right now.  Every dog owner should become familiar with the foods that dogs can’t eat and the plants that can make dogs sick to minimize the chances of them getting sick or worse.

I am a neat person and try to keep things my dog shouldn’t eat out of her reach, but things happen and my dog is quick to scoop up whatever might fall to the floor.  My “drop it” command works sometimes, but often she is intent on retaining the prize she has found and continues to chew as I am rushing toward her, barking the command. There have been many times I have slipped my finger in my Maltshipoo’s mouth in an attempt to determine what she is chewing on and retrieved crickets, price tags, plastic ties, rocks and rubber bands from her little mouth. 

What if Your Dog Swallows Drugs?

If your dog accidentally gets hold of one of your prescription or OTC pills, you need to take immediate action.  Usually it is obvious what your dog has gotten into, based on the bottle that is overturned or the wrapper you pull from her mouth.  But while it helps to know what has been ingested, it is more important to contact your Veterinarian right away while the pill is still in her stomach.

Before You Induce Your Dog to Throw Up

Before deciding to induce vomiting in your dog, it is important that you contact your Veterinarian or Emergency Animal Clinic for directions, because in some situations you would not want to induce vomiting.  Dog-first-aid-101.comprovides the circumstances in which you would want to avoid this action.  In general, it should be avoided when they have ingested a caustic household or garden substance that would burn your dog’s esophagus when it comes back up.  

If you are not sure who to call locally, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. (A consultation fee may apply).  Their on-line pet care section is a valuable resource for any pet owner.

My Dog Ate My Pills, Doc!

When a dog ingests medicine that is not their own, you must take quick action. Contact your Vet and follow their instructions.  If it is still in their stomach, in most cases the doctor will give you directions for getting it to come back up. 

When I found my dog chewing on a plastic packet that had once contained some type of OTC medicine, I panicked. I realized that it must have fallen to the floor when I was cleaning out the kitchen junk drawer.  I was not absolutely sure what it had been because she had chewed most of the plastic bubble and paper backing, but the antihistamine in my drawer looked like a likely match. 

I immediately contacted my Veterinarian’s office and they gave me the following instructions since she had just eaten it and the pill was still in her stomach.

  1. I was instructed to add one tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide to a small cup of water or milk and let her drink it.  I used milk.
  2. I was told that if she didn’t vomit within 20 minutes to repeat. 
  3. They wanted a call back as soon as she had thrown up.

My dog lapped up the liquid concoction and within five minutes she was up-chucking everything in her little stomach, including her breakfast.  She threw up several times until her stomach was completely empty of food and threw up a foamy substance a few times after the food was gone. I felt bad and good at the same time.

Followup With Your Vet After Your Dog Vomits

In my followup call to the Vet’s office, they instructed me to give her plenty of water and a little food, and to watch her to make sure she doesn’t appear dehydrated or have any symptoms that indicates any further action is needed.

My dog wasn’t too peppy for the next hour, but she drank some water, ate a few pieces of bread and then took a nap. In no time at all she was outside barking at the hummingbird in our backyard and back to her normal antics.

Make every effort to keep all drugs out of your puppy’s reach, just as you do your children.  But if you realize that your dog has swallowed a pill or eaten something she shouldn’t, you must take quick action by contacting your Veterinarian’s office or an Animal Emergency Clinic immediately for instructions.  Chewing on things may seem fun for your dog, but if they swallow medicine intended for humans it could be fatal.  Fast action can save your canine buddy!


Dog First Aid 101

ASPCA Pet Care


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User Comments
  1. Larry Fish

    On December 18, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Great article, thanks for the tips.

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