Is It OK to Use Leftover Medication If My Dog Gets Sick?

is it ok to use leftover medication if my dog gets sick

As pet parents, we always want to do what’s best for our furry friends, especially when they are unwell. It can be tempting to reach into the medicine cabinet and administer medications from a previous illness when your dog shows similar symptoms. However, this practice could lead to harmful consequences and is strongly discouraged by veterinarians.

Medications Are Tailored to Specific Illnesses

Just like in human medicine, veterinary medications are prescribed based on the specific illness, its severity, and the overall health status of the pet. The antibiotic that was used for your dog’s skin infection last summer may not work for a respiratory infection. Similarly, the pain medication used after a surgery might not be suitable for arthritis pain. Each medication has a specific purpose and should only be used when prescribed by a vet.

medications are tailored to specific illnesses
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Dosage Adjustments

The dosage of a medication is calculated based on the weight, age, and health condition of the dog at the time of illness. If your dog has gained or lost weight since they last took the medication, or if their overall health condition has changed, the old dosage could be incorrect and potentially harmful.

Medication Shelf Life

All medications have an expiry date beyond which their effectiveness diminishes. Some may even become harmful after expiration. Using expired medication for your dog can lead to ineffective treatment and possibly worsen their condition.

Resistance to Antibiotics

When it comes to antibiotics, it’s crucial to complete the entire course, even if your dog seems to feel better. Failure to do so can lead to antibiotic resistance, a serious global health concern. Using leftover antibiotics could lead to incomplete treatment and contribute to this problem.

dogs resistance to antibiotics
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Potential for Misdiagnosis

Using old medication based on your observation of symptoms could lead to misdiagnosis. Not all illnesses present with unique symptoms. For instance, lethargy and loss of appetite could indicate a wide range of issues, from digestive problems to heart disease. By attempting to treat what might seem like a familiar problem with old medication, you might delay the proper diagnosis and treatment your dog needs.

Don’t Re-Use Your Dog’s Medication

While it’s difficult to see our pets unwell and our intentions might be good, using old medication for a new illness can be harmful and is not recommended. Instead, reach out to your vet at the first sign of illness. Their knowledge and experience are vital in diagnosing and treating your dog’s health problems effectively and safely. Remember, when it comes to medication, it’s always better to be guided by a professional.

Published by Amber Drake

Dr. Drake is an award-winning author and well-known cancer specialist in her field. She is best known for her extensive research on canine cancer prevention and nutrition, her dedication to help dogs live a long, happy life, and for teaching veterinary medicine. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, in addition to being a respected figure in the dog world, she has earned the respect of thousands of dog lovers worldwide.

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