A few weeks ago we had an article on dogs and human pain medication; here is a real life example of what can happen. Please read Juno’s Story
Juno, a 4-month-old Australian Shepherd, is a very active and loving puppy and the light of her owner’s eye. One day her owner became concerned when she began to vomit and was not her playful, normal self. After a poor response to initial treatment, a blood sample revealed her kidneys were shutting down and needed aggressive treatment. After some questions about the possibility of her accidently consuming some medication her owner replied “Oh my gosh – she must have eaten the Advil I’m missing from my purse!” After receiving intensive treatment in hospital she has made a good recovery and hopes to live a full and less eventful life.
This story highlights a few things for us as veterinarians: How dangerous commonly self-prescribed medication can be for our dogs and how easily puppies (just like children) can get into things that can cause them serious injury and or death. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and no name brands), ASA (Aspirin) and Naproxen (Aleve, Motrin) are all drugs in the NSAID class. Unfortunately for dogs, they are less selective for inflammation (the benefit of taking them) and more selective for Stomach and Kidney tissue and more likely to side-effects and veterinary prescribed NSAIDS. In Juno’s case she consumed 8-10 200mg capsules, which caused serious damage to her kidneys, but sometimes even 1 capsule can be enough if administered to manage pain without veterinary supervision. Always ask your veterinarian before you administer any over the counter medication to your pet. Unfortunately, medications are not the only household danger for your new puppy. Think of how you need to baby proof a home and apply the same principles. Tether cupboards closed to prevent access to garbage or household cleaners, place laundry, dish cloths and shoes where your dog will not be able to reach them and prevent access to some foods that are known to be toxic such as chocolate, grapes, raisons and onions. Puppies are very oral and love to play with and chew anything. Laundry and dish cloths are common items that are swallowed and then can become stuck in their bowels and require emergency surgery. We know it’s a lot of work to puppy proof a home, but the cost of not doing this can be catastrophic.
The last point to consider is that puppies are expensive and can become a very unexpected expense if there is an accident. We encourage all owners to consider pet insurance to help with these unexpected expenses. Many providers will offer a free period of insurance as a trial that sometimes can be a lifesaver. Our team is here for you and any questions you may have about your new puppies health care. We wanted to share Juno’s story such that an accident like this may be prevented in the future.