By Sunday, December 8, 2019 14 No tags Permalink

Drug toxicity in dogs is not a topic I run across online much. Could it be I’m not traveling in the right circles?

Even if that’s the case, I still feel comfortable in my assumptions that I am not alone.

Hence the inspiration for this post.

Recently I had somewhat of a scare doling out Harley’s allergy medicine.


It was a crazy busy week, lot’s going on at home and at work, long hours, little sleep.

The alarm went off way too early and I rushed through my morning routine with the Boys trying to make a work meeting on time.

As I sat in the meeting, I replayed all that I’d accomplished before 8am. What I remembered made me gasp out loud which caught the attention of everyone in the room.

My mental video rerun revealed I had given Harley one of my Zyrtec tablets instead of his allergy medicine.

I just knew Harley was slipping into a coma…

I excused myself and ran into the hall to call the vet – 

  • No answer
  • Not open
  • Not good

I dialed my husband to ask him to look at Harley –

  • No answer
  • Not home
  • Not good

I left the meeting in search of a computer. #hadtogo


According to my therapist “Google”, Zyrtec will not “kill” Harley.

That made my hands stop trembling all over the keyboard.

HOWEVER Zyrtec-D contains an active ingredient (Pseudoephedrine) that can be very harmful to dogs. #justsoyouknow

In fact there are several antihistamines (allergy meds) that are “usually” safe for dogs – 

  • Benadryl
  • Zyrtec
  • Claritin

Notice I included the word “usually.” That’s exactly how it is written on the internet. #takecaution

When I returned to the meeting, I whispered to a co-worker why I left the room. She calmly told me not to worry, she’s given Zyrtec to her dog many times when he’s scratching a lot. 

When I asked if this was the advice from her vet – she told me “no” said “her neighbor told her to do it.” #secondgasp


By the time the vet’s office opened up, Doodle Dad called back and according to him, Harley was fine, outside beating up Jaxson on the porch…

The vet told me the same thing. Harley should be fine, no need for alarm.

Thank the Doodle I didn’t give him my HBP meds, that could would have been an entirely different blog post. #sudderthethought

Later that day, I read about acetaminophen toxicity. It is unfortunately quite common in dogs –

Acetaminophen is a medication that is used to treat fever and/or pain in humans. Unfortunately, acetaminophen toxicity in dogs is somewhat common as dog owners attempt to treat their dogs for pain without first consulting with a veterinarian.

Advanced Animal Care

Smaller and younger dogs face a greater risk from just one single dose mistakenly given by their pet parent.


Did you know many of our household medications are toxic to our dogs?

As much as we love our family pets and don’t want to see them suffer, we cannot “assume” what’s good for us – will not harm them.

While we are told there ARE over the counter drugs that are actually safe for our pets – 

  • Aspirin
  • Benadryl
  • Pepcid

You should ALWAYS (can I say it again?) ALWAYS get direction/guidance from your vet.

My co-workers response still haunts me because neither she nor her neighbor consulted a vet before giving their dogs human meds.


Here is a list (although I am sure there are more) of drugs that are toxic to dogs – 

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox)
  • Antidepressants
  • ADD/ADHD Medication
  • Sleep Aids (Benzodiazepines, Xanax, Ambien)
  • Beta-Blockers
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Cholesterol Medications (Lipitor)

Harley’s accidental ingestion of my Zyrtec was not due to counter-surfing – but my lack of attention to detail. Curious pups can find things on their own.

If your dog consumes a drug, contact your veterinarian immediately.

If your vet is not available, call poison control – 

Pet Poison Control:    888-426-4435

Pet Poison Helpline:   855-764-7661

*There may be a $65 fee for using this service, but it could save your dog’s life.


Armed with your vet’s say so, there are a few OTC drugs you can purchase and follow your vets instructions.

There are OTC – 

  • tablets/pills
  • antibiotic gels
  • corticosteroid sprays, gels and creams
  • Antifungal sprays, gels and creams

Just make sure you check with your vet first #notyourneighbor


While my vet did in fact acknowledge some dogs find relief taking Zrytec, she does not recommend we adopt that form of treatment for Harley. An over the counter drug is no match for the severities of his environmental allergies. #ohwell 

Train your mind to see the good in everything – especially Mondays ❤️

  • Madison
    December 9, 2019

    Mom worries sometimes when we go to Gramma’s as she has lots of pills to take every day and sometimes she drops them and can’t find them. If that has happened, Mom is always on her hands and knees combing the floor until she finds them so we don’t eat them. It is scary to think of any pup eating a human pill. So glad Harley is alright.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 6, 2020

      Doodle Dad has that same problem. He is forever dropping a pill and then we all have to stop and look for it. I’ve finally gotten him accustomed to taking his meds over the sink. This was if it falls – it’s going down the drain. LOL

  • Lindsay
    December 9, 2019

    Holy crepes that could’ve been bad – but I’m so glad it wasn’t.
    That’s risky your coworker hasn’t consulted with a vet. I mean, there’s plenty of things I do before calling the vet but doling our meds that I’m not entirely sure are safe? No thanks, my anxiety would be through the roof.

    Glad he’s good. 🙂


    • Cathy Bennett
      January 6, 2020

      I hope she read this post. Sometimes seeing yourself in a different light can help with a reality check. Her intentions were good, but I don’t think I would want to trust giving out med’s without a vet’s approval. XOXO

  • Cheryl
    December 9, 2019

    I’m so glad Harley is ok! I’m also so glad you keep emphasizing about always check with you vet! It’s so important! We have our granddoodle, Cody, a lot. I have re-established a relationship (not sure that’s the correct word) with our vet so I could call and take him in in case a need arose. And yes, he’s been in to see Dr. Ben twice, with a few phone calls in between.
    I do think you need to slow down and relax, all that rushing isn’t good for you either!
    Happy Holidays

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 6, 2020

      Hey Cheryl – I always want to remind people to check with their vet first. I don’t ever want someone to try something because it worked for me and not have a positive response when they do it. I am slowing down now that the holidays are over. I’ve had time to rest and get rejuvenated, I feel amazing and I am ready to tackle 2020.

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    December 9, 2019

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I think most of us huMoms have done something similar and very happy all’s well that ended well. Your experience reminds me to take deep breaths and not rely so much on auto-pilot when I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

    P.S. The porch wrestling image was adorably cute!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 6, 2020

      I panic too. And I keep telling myself to “exhale” I get all worked up over the tiniest issue with them. I think it’s because they can’t tell me what’s wrong, if it hurts, etc…. I’m gonna drive myself crazy one of these days.

  • Lisa
    December 9, 2019

    What a scary experience for you! I knew dogs could be given aspirin and benadryl but have never used human OTC meds on a fur baby. When Cabo licked a stress sore on his leg I did make an oatmeal and aloe vera gel wash to help it heal. I’ve gone to online forums for doodle questions, but always have some doubt in the back of my mind until I can confirm the info with our vet.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 6, 2020

      Hi Lisa – that Oatmeal and Ale Vera get wash sounds interesting. Did it help with the stress sores? Let me know – that sounds like something I’d like to keep in their cabinet.

  • Ducky's Mom
    December 10, 2019

    I always check with our vet before giving Ducky – and Kissy, Callie, and Shadow in the past – any drug intended for humans. At first I was even hesitant to use Benadryl, but the vet assured me it was safe for them so long as I stuck to his dosing instructions. I do have “doggy Xanax” (Alprazolam) for when Ducky’s anxieties get the better of her, but I haven’t had to give her any in over a year.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 6, 2020

      I used to use Benadryl with Harley’s allergies until I realized that they weren’t helping him, just masking the itching sensation. So happy I found the right vet for him and he’s now on med’s that can control the itching, and the infections. These allergens brought on by our environment are a true beast to live with. Ugh!

  • Jan K
    December 10, 2019

    I used to always worry when we had both dogs and cats on medications, that I would get them confused! I also worry about dropping pills on the floor, which is why I worked hard with Luke to learn “leave it”.
    I have given Luke both Benadryl and Claritin. Benadryl had been approved by my vet long ago, but I’m not sure about Claritin. The thing with trying to get information on the internet (as bad as your neighbors!), is that it’s always so conflicting. You could find 5 websites that says it’s fine, and another 5 that say it’s not!
    If I do internet research, I try to stick to reputable websites like WebMD Pets or Healthy Pets. But even professionals can disagree! So checking with your own vet is always the best advice.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 6, 2020

      While the Boys conventional vet offered (often) Benadryl for Harley’s allergy issues, their holistic vet was not fond of the idea. She explained Benadryl was only masking the discomfort and after a while it would become ineffective. She taught me that we needed to get to the root of infection and then find the right recipe to prevent the allergic reactions from occurring. Listening to your vet is key!