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When you take your pets to the "Dog-tor"...

Here at Harbor Town Pharmacy, we appreciate our four-legged patients just as much as our two legged-ones! Let’s say you take Rocky to the vet and the vet writes you a prescription for a medication you already have in your medicine cabinet. You might think you can just give the medication to Rocky, however it is best to get this prescription filled at Harbor Town Pharmacy. Now let me tell you why.


Each year thousands of pets become ill when they ingest their owner’s medications. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the number one toxin of 2023 was over-the-counter medications followed by human food and human prescription medications. Common over-the-counter medications that can cause issues in pets include acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These agents are approved for use in people but could sicken your pet.


Ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are all NSAIDs used to decrease inflammation and pain in humans. Some agents in this drug class are safe for pets, but the ones in your medicine cabinet are not. If your animal ingests these kinds of agents, they could present with stomach upset, ulcers, liver, or kidney damage.


A common over-the-counter medication that a lot of people probably have in their medicine cabinet is Tylenol. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is approved for use in humans for pain relief but is not a safe choice, particularly in cats. Cats are extremely vulnerable to acetaminophen toxicity due to how they break down and process the medication. This agent can be fatal when ingested by cats. However, both dogs and cats can develop liver damage from the consumption of acetaminophen.

Common human prescription medications consumed by pets include antidepressants, ADHD medications, anticonvulsants, and heart agents. The consumption of these agents can cause a variety of symptoms including the development of seizures, tremors, and changes in heart rate in your animal. For this reason, you always want to make sure your prescription and over-the-counter medications are in closed cabinets that pets do not have access to. If you have any questions about medication storage and strategies, be sure to stop by Harbor Town Pharmacy to discuss this topic with your local pharmeowcist Madison!


The second highest toxin of 2023 was human food which can contain Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol that is often used as a sugar-free sweetener. Xylitol can be a potentially toxic ingredient, particularly in dogs. Its consumption causes a sudden release of insulin which causes the dog’s blood sugar to drop. This can be hazardous and will present with vomiting and weakness. It can also cause liver damage in dogs possibly leading to liver failure. Xylitol can also have effects in rabbits, cows, and goats however cats, ferrets, and people do not experience negative effects of xylitol. This substance can also be found in liquid prescription medications used in humans. For this reason, it is imperative that your pharmacy fills your pet’s liquid prescription utilizing a xylitol-free preparation. Stop by today to discuss this with your pharmacist at Harbor Town Pharmacy!

Knowing what all we can do for your favorite pets, here at Harbor Town Pharmacy, we commonly fill a variety of pet medications including:

-          Oclacitinib (Apoquel) for allergies in dogs

-          Levetiracetam (Keppra)

-          Gabapentin (Neurontin)

-          Alprazolam (Xanax)

-          Phenobarbital

-          Blood pressure medications like Amlodipine (Norvasc)

-          Prednisolone eye drops

-          Latanoprost eye drops

In addition to free treats and medications, other pet-related products we keep in stock include pill pockets! Greenies pill pockets make administering medications to your pets a quick and easy process. We keep a variety of flavors available for both cats and dogs. We would love to take care of your entire family (pets included) at Harbor Town Pharmacy. Stop by and see us today for all your medication needs and a free treat!


Written by: Taylor Walters, student pharmacist



Human vs pet medications: Why you should never share medicine with your pets. Veterinarian   in FOLEY, AL | Dykes Veterinary Clinic. (n.d.).  -should-never-share-medicine-with-your-pets

The official top 10 pet toxins of 2023. ASPCA. (2024, March 21).

Prescriptions and pharmacies: Faqs for pet owners. American Veterinary Medical Association.     (n.d.).            health/pharmacy/prescriptions-and-pharmacies-faq-pet-owner

Updated safety warning on xylitol: How to protect your pets. ASPCA. (2019, May 23).  



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