What Happens if My Dog Swallows ADHD Medicine?

by Quentin Coleman
    Keep all medicine in a secure container well out of your dog's reach.

    Keep all medicine in a secure container well out of your dog's reach.

    Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Your dog consuming human medicine is an emergency, especially if the pills come from a prescription for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Amphetamines and methylphenidates treat attention disorders in humans, but are highly toxic to canines. Get your pup to the vet immediately if you think he swallowed any medication.

    The consumption of ADHD medication produces various physical symptoms in canines. Muscle spasms, body tremors and enlarged pupils indicate amphetamine and methylphenidate toxicity, according to Pet Poison Helpline. Ingesting these medications can disrupt your pet's digestive system, leading to vomiting and difficulty using the bathroom. Don't hesitate to take your dog to the vet if he shows any of these physical signs. Tremors can turn into full-blown seizures and convulsions as your pet's body continues to absorb the substance. Eating ADHD medicine can be a fatal mistake for a canine, so owners should seek immediate medical assistance.

    Drugs designed to mitigate human attention deficit disorders can have a profound impact on your dog's mental state. He may cower in fear or lash out aggressively without warning or discernible cause. Ordinary actions and events may frighten or disturb him when he's under the influence of amphetamines. Uncharacteristic pacing, anxious vocal sounds and other restless behaviors may be your first warning that your dog has consumed your medication. Excessive panting and drooling are also common indicators of toxicity.

    Managing toxicity in your pet depends on how quickly you can get him to the vet. Expedient treatment is essential for dealing with serious symptoms. Your vet may induce your dog to vomit to prevent digestion of the medication if you get him there within two to four hours of consumption, according to DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital. Tranquilizers are administered as needed to manage fluctuations in your pet's central nervous system. ADHD medications increase your dog's heart rate and blood pressure to dangerous levels, so controlling the pulmonary system is crucial. The vet also may give medication to prevent convulsions and seizures.

    After addressing the immediate risks posed by poisoning, your vet will pursue therapeutic treatment to help rid your dog's body of toxins. Your dog may undergo a gastric lavage, which pushes warm water through his sedated body to flush the digestive system. Your vet also may slip activated charcoal into his stomach to absorb toxins before they enter the bloodstream. He may connect your pet to intravenous fluid supplies to infuse lipids and nutrient-rich liquid directly into his blood. Your dog may need to remain with the vet for up to three days for monitoring and continued treatment depending on the severity of the poisoning.

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    About the Author

    Quentin Coleman has written for several news publications as well as the University of Delaware's public relations department. He also spent more than 10 years working with a local animal shelter to help nurse kittens, treat sick cats and domesticate feral animals. Coleman graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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