Dr. Google's remedies for your pet, it's risky



Your pet doesn't look well this morning… Are you the type to google recommendations instead of phoning a veterinarian? Do you trust your Aunt Germaine's old recipes or the treatments recommended by someone on Google rather than your veterinary team? This is a mistake that can prove fatal. Here's why.

I will remember all my life that poor cat who arrived in the emergency room desperately trying to breathe. He had his mouth open and we could see that he was struggling to get oxygen. Her owner had given her a Tylenol® the day before because her cat seemed feverish and had a cold, she said. She wanted to do well, but without knowing it, she had unfortunately poisoned him by giving him this medicine…

We will tell ourselves from the outset: it is not a good idea to treat your animal yourself with the means at hand or with your own human medicines. Nor to rely on everything that can be said or offered as treatment on social networks elsewhere. The old saying that says “If it's good for me, it's good for Pitou” is a mistake. You are risking a lot… You may be playing with your companion's life without knowing it.

More harm than good

Playing veterinarian means taking a significant risk for the health of your pet. Indeed, some human drugs should not be used in animals, as they may cause more harm than benefit. The way our bodies process and eliminate certain drugs is not the same as that of animals.

Worse: it varies from one animal species to another. Remember chocolate, so good to eat for us, it can create heart and neurological problems in dogs! This is the case for some products commonly used by humans and sold on drugstore shelves. 

For example, the acetaminophen found in Tylenol®, Tempra® and many other drugs, should be completely avoided in cats, because this molecule causes changes in their red blood cells, inducing serious and severe cardio-respiratory symptoms.

We could also think, wrongly, that it is simply a question of adjusting the dose according to the weight of an animal when we want to treat it with human drugs. Serious mistake once again! 

The dosage of a drug for humans is not the same for a cat or a dog. If you rely on the recommendations on the bottle of medicine for humans and give it to an animal, you risk causing poisoning or undesirable side effects. It is often a matter of species susceptibility for a given drug.

For example, at equal doses, a dog is generally much more sensitive than a human to the potential side effects of anti-inflammatories (gastritis, stomach ulceration, kidney failure, etc.). For example, a human dose of ibuprofen, a product commonly sold in pharmacies, can cause major health problems in dogs.

In addition, the frequency of administration of a drug may be different for an animal than that recommended for a human. For example, a baby Aspirin® can be given every four hours to a young child, but not to a cat. This is too much for the cat, which takes 12 to 15 times longer than us to metabolize this type of medication. We would therefore risk poisoning him.

Opposite effects to ours

I hope I have already convinced you to consult your veterinary team before attempting treatment by yourself, but if you still have doubts, here is another fact: some drugs produce opposite effects or very variable from one species to another. A good example is Valium. 

It produces “calming” effects in humans, but can make some dogs really restless. You will have understood: always check with an animal health professional before starting an improvised treatment coming out of your personal pharmacy. 

It will save you a quick trip to the veterinarian.