Over 60% of American homes have a pet.
In fact, there are over 107 million household cats and dogs in America alone. Now that’s a lot of animals!
And we love our pets, don’t we? That’s why we spend billions of dollars a year to keep them healthy. Or $15.73 billion to be exact.
And pet medications are a big part of this. So if your vet says your pets need meds then, of course, you’re going to make sure they get them.
But not knowing enough about your pet’s medication can be dangerous. And you don’t want to risk making them sicker, do you?
Here are the three things you should know before you start giving your pets meds. Read on to learn more and keep your fluffy friend protected!
Make Sure You Understand Why Your Pets Need Meds
Just like with humans, medication treats a huge variety of illnesses in animals. So you need to understand what is being prescribed and why.
Antibiotics kill bacteria and treat infections. Your vet will usually only prescribe a short course. Make sure you give your pet the full dose, even if they seem better before it’s finished.
Commonly used antibiotics include penicillin and cephalexin.
Antiparasitics prevent internal and external parasites from causing serious damage. These parasites include intestinal worms, protozans, heartworms, ticks, and fleas.
There are two types of drugs that can treat inflammation. These animal pain killers also reduce swelling and lameness.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are milder drugs. So if you’re looking for cat pain medications this is a good place to start.
In contrast, steroid anti-inflammatories treat more severe reactions. For example, they reduce anaphylactic reactions or allergic reactions. They are more commonly used in emergencies.
Opioid pain relievers are probably the strongest drugs your vet will prescribe. But opioids for dogs and other animals are highly addictive, in the same way, that some drugs are addictive for humans.
So make sure you use these drugs with caution. They are not for long-term use.
And recently there has been a significant increase in behavior-modifying drugs for animals. In fact, 83% of vets in America have prescribed anti-depressants for dogs and cats.
Commonly used medications are diazepam and midazolam. But there are also people who encourage the use of CBD oil. Find out more by reading this blog.
Vets might also prescribe specific medications for long-term illness or certain conditions. Remember to always follow their instructions.
Learn How to Spot an Adverse Reaction
If it is your first time giving your pet medication, then remember that each animal is different. And they might react differently to medication.
You should know quickly if your pet has a serious allergic reaction to their medication. And if this happens, seek help immediately.
But luckily this is rare in most pets. So what are the other signs of an adverse reaction?
To start with there are physical changes. Itchy skin, hives or facial swelling indicate an adverse reaction. Vomiting and diarrhea also suggest your pet’s body is rejecting the medication.
Listen out for any respiratory changes. Sometimes it can be hard to pick up on these changes.
If you’re worried make a recording of your pet’s breathing before giving them the medication. That way it will be easier to spot changes.
But there are other behavioral changes that can also indicate an adverse reaction. Lethargy and loss of appetite might show your pet is feeling out of sorts.
And remember, some medications will bring on side effects. So read the information that comes with them to find out if you should worry.
Do Your Research on Prescription Fees
This final one is more about protecting you owners!
As previously mentioned, pet pharmaceuticals is a billion dollar industry. And most outlets will charge a filling fee of anything from $5 to $15. So, if you’re trying to manage your money, how can you save money while looking after your pet?
Well, firstly shop around for pharmacies with lower filling fees. Some vets will try to make you get your prescriptions from specific pharmacies.
But you can always request to get your prescription filled at a cheaper outlet. If they are reluctant it might be time to consider a new vet!
Buying your medications online is another option. If you’re going to do this make sure you buy from Vet-VIPPS accredited pharmacies. There are 18 of these online.
You might buy pet medications without prescriptions from pet stores to save money. If you’re planning to do this, always ask your vet about the medication before giving it your pet.
The Bottom Line
If your pets need meds we know you’re going to get them. But you can take some of the stress out of this experience by keeping these three things in mind!
And for more helpful advice, check out our health blogs here!