Pets and people medications seldom mix. While many meds commonly prescribed to humans are also prescribed for pets in some form or another, the dosages are not even in the same sphere due to weight differences and reactions. Of the 10 most frequently inquired about medications that pets have accidentally ingested, the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) says five of them are anti-anxiety or sleep aids. Here is a list of those pills and what to look for.
Commonly known as Xanax®, alprazolam is prescribed as both a sleep aid and an anti-anxiety med. The results of accidental ingestion by pets are sleepiness and the wobbles, much like in people. Some animals, however, can become agitated, and large doses can cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure, which could lead to weakness and collapse.
Also known as Ambien®, zolpidem is touted as a non-narcotic sleep aid for insomnia sufferers. When it comes to cats, this medication can also produce sleepy kitties with the wobbles, but in most instances they become agitated and experience elevated heart rates — which is never good in anybody.
This drug, which goes by the registered trademark Klonopin®, is prescribed for at least three conditions, one of which is as an anticonvulsant. The other two, as you may have already guessed, are for relieving anxiety and sleeplessness. In pets the drug causes sleepiness and wobbles, just like the others, but like Xanax® is can also cause lowered blood pressure with the possibility of weakness and collapse.
Prescribed under the name Cymbalta® as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety drug, when pets get into it the outcome can be agitation, vocalization, seizures and tremors.
Also known as Effexor®, this is another antidepressant. What makes this one stand out, though, is that for some strange reason cats apparently love to eat the capsules that house the medication. The other drugs mentioned predominantly come in tablets, which might not appeal as much to discerning felines, but when ingested Effexor® can produce the same symptoms as Cymbalta®.
Keeping Pets Safe
Pets routinely find dropped pills and eat them. If you think you may have dropped any of your medication, do a thorough search of the area. Check beneath and behind things. If they’re quicker on the draw than you are at retrieving it, call your veterinarian or the APCC immediately for instructions. Finally, don’t leave sleep aids loose or in bottles on nightstands, which is where most pets find them. Keep them up, just as if you were dealing with children, because in essence that’s what pets are.