Did you know that the U. S. Food and Drug Administration oversees the safety of pet medications, as well as those for humans? In fact, a number of the medication errors that occur with people are similar to show up in the treatment of animals, and since 2008, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has been examining error reports on medications for animals and working to increase their safe use. What they’ve learned can help you help keep your pet safer.
The FDA recommends asking a lot of questions before leaving the vet’s office so you better understand the medications prescribed to your pet. Make sure you have a full grasp of the drugs, their prescribed dosages and how they may interact with any supplements or over the counter medications your pet regularly takes.
- Ask about the name of the drug, its intended effects and potential side effects.
- How much should your pet be given and how often?
- Should the medication be given with food?
- How should it be stored?
- What to do if you accidentally miss a dose.
- What potential reactions should you look out for and call about right away?
When you take your pet to see the vet make sure to bring a list of the drugs it is taking, including over the counter supplements and prescriptions. Discuss those medications with the vet and any meds your pet may be allergic to or has reacted badly to in the past. Also discuss any serious or chronic health conditions your pet may have.
The FDA also suggests that at home you keep the medications in your home organized to help keep errors from happening there. If you keep your medications on the kitchen counter, for example, keep your pet’s medications where you store their food. Keeping them in separate locations can help to reduce the potential for mix ups. Keep your pet’s meds in their original containers and do not share them with other animals, unless directed by a veterinarian.
And a very important point to remember: animals and humans can have very different reactions to common medicines, so don’t give your pet any drugs intended for humans unless your vet says it’s okay.