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Keep your Pets Safe Everyday with These Medication Storage Tips

It’s common nowadays for pets to be on regular medications.  Many pets take medicine like monthly flea and tick prevention as well as monthly heartworm pills.  If your pup is in their twilight years, your list of medications can grow drastically between joint medicine, vitamins and pain medications.  They come in all forms- tablets, liquids, creams, injectables, vitamins, etc.

All of these medications help your pet stay healthy and happy and hopefully lead longer lives.  However, just like our own medications, they are nothing to fool around with.  Medications that are improperly stored can put your pets and even your family members (such as children or spouse) at risk.  Your vet should be the go-to expert on tips and tricks to keep your medications stored safely since your pet’s welfare is their chief concern. However, we have some recommendations that could help you minimize the dangers of your pet medicine.

  1. Store Medications out of Reach of your Children and Pets

It sounds like common sense, but it’s very important to keep pet medications stored in a secure location out of reach of pets and children. However, this can be tricky. What constitutes out of reach? Especially if you have cats that can get into the highest nooks and crannies with ease.  A high, closed cupboard is the most ideal for drugs that also need to be stored at room temperature. If you want to be extra safe, you can lock the cupboard, especially in the instance of extra curious pets or children.  If you have other animals, such as horses, cows or pigs, make sure you treat them in an area that your dog or cat can’t get to.  Smaller animals have been known to be accidentally killed after coming into contact with spilled medications or even eating the fecal matter of treated animals.

  1. Be Cautious of Flavored Medications

Most medicines are very unappetizing.  No one enjoys taking gross tasting medicine, so why would your pet be any different? Many of today’s medications contain flavoring to make them taste better than normal- especially for your pets.  If you have one of these medications and you hide it in a lower drawer or cupboard, your dog (especially if they have a good nose!) can rummage through the cabinet or drawer and find it and have a feast- with devastatingly deadly effects. Most pill bottles are no match for your dog’s teeth, and they can and will ingest it.

Toddlers or young children are often lured by medication flavorings that smell like candy.  It creates the potential for accidental overdose or exposure, which can have terrible consequences.  All the more reason to find a safe space that is out of reach of most pets and children.

  1. Mark your Meds or Separate them Completely from Your Pet Meds

Pet medications should be stored securely just like human medications.  Perhaps the best place to store them is in the same spot as your human medications.  However, if at all possible they should be kept in separate areas.  Confusing pet and human medicines is all too common of an issue, and it can make you or your pet very sick.   There are two easy steps to avoid this problem.  First, check the label every time you reach for meds.  This is a simple, quick way to ensure that no creature is getting the wrong medicine.  This is especially simple since many pet clinics are starting to add logos, or cartoon paw prints on the cap to help instantly differentiate bottles.  Secondly, if you keep your meds in a completely different area than your pet meds, you will never give them the wrong one.  It protects both you and your pet.

  1. Check Expiration Dates and Storage Instructions

Medications have a shelf life and storage instructions, just like your groceries.  If you don’t store them the way they need, they won’t work the way they’re supposed to, and in some cases, they can become dangerous with serious side effects. Some medicines need refrigeration, so check your vet’s instructions thoroughly.

If a medication is expired, it’s automatically off-limits to pets.  They can become dangerous or less effective because of chemical changes that have occurred over time.  Injectable medications that are expired have a high risk of bacteria growing in the vial.  Any drug that’s expired can become toxic.  Dispose of any expired medications to avoid confusion or accidental ingestion.

All of these things are simple and can keep you from seriously hurting your pet or your family.  Take appropriate actions to ensure medicine safety in your home.

Share what you know about keeping medications out of the reach of your pets in the comments below.