Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.

Should I Give My Pets Human Medication, Idiots Wonder

Print comment Post Comments
Pet websites and magazines have exhaustive lists of foods that are safe and unsafe for animals to eat. Everyone knows that dogs can’t eat chocolate, but yogurt is perfectly fine, as are flax seed and pumpkin, according to Modern Dog Magazine.

Of course, Ibuprofen is one thing that pretty much everyone should know is unsafe for dogs. But, apparently, many people don’t.
Earlier today, the Daily Telegraph reported on a growing number of pet owners who treat their pets with cheap human meds. Unfortunately, many human medicines cause severe side effects in animals.

Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Advil (PFE), can cause serious ulcers and kidney problems. The drug paracetamol, about which many vets receive concerned phone calls, can cause irreversible liver and kidney problems. And, the obviously terrible -- but not uncommon -- idea to give hyperactive pets anti-depressants leads to vomiting, lethargy and violent seizures.

The report covers British pet owners, who are suffering acutely from the effects of the recession. Even as their economy has slowed, veterinary fees have increased at twice the rate of inflation.

However, while household medications may seem like a good solution to rising pet healthcare costs, they mostly just lead to more vet visits. A pet insurance spokesman quoted in the article warns that while owners may feel they have an animal’s “best interests at heart, they could actually be causing it more pain and suffering.”

Reports on the larger effects of the recession on pet ownership vary. Early in November, the Telegraph reported that pet insurance claims have quadrupled since 2009. Some owners even took out life insurance policies on their animals and then killed them.

In 2009, the New York Times ran a story on dogs who were “victims of greed and mismanagement of wealth.” Many Manhattanites spent thousands on their dogs and then, upon losing their jobs or seeing their wages cut, summarily abandoned them.

Still, before you get too worried about the state of recession era pet ownership, USA Today ran a story early this October saying that US pet spending had actually risen during the recession. According to the story, pet spending should hit a record $50 billion in 2011 and pet ownership has risen 2.1% since last year.

The easy conclusion here is that, as people have less money to spend, they spend what they do have on things they can do at home. The more sordid stories seem to be coming from a small, if visible, minority.

Of course, the easiest conclusion is that people should keep their dogs out of the medicine cabinet.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.