(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On Saturday, thousands of people across the country will participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to safely dispose of their unused medications.
Leftover prescription drugs can be a dangerous health hazard if they aren't handled carefully, and they can be deadly if picked up by your pet.
“If it’s something that’s expired, we should really be disposing of that medication safely,” Kate KuKanich, Associate Professor at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University said.
Whether they be human or animal prescriptions, loose pills and medications pose a threat to your pet.
“We want to make sure that we are only administering medication to our animals as well as to our family members that our doctors are currently prescribing,” Kukanich said.
Clearing out expired and unused medications in your home helps to keep your family healthy. KuKanich said animal medications should be disposed of the same way you would handle human prescriptions.
Pet prescriptions can be disposed of at prescription take backs along with other human medications. Veterinarians caution keeping all drugs out of reach of your pets or the consequences could be deadly.
Animal advocates like Gary Silverglat from M’Shoogy’s Animal Rescue recommend storing all medications in cabinets or drawers were pets can’t reach them.
“The best thing to do is to be really careful and keep everything locked up,” Silverglat said. “What might be harmless to you, might be deadly to your animals.”
Pets accidentally eating their owners medications is common, but Silvergat said pet parents should avoid taking matters into their own hands when it comes to their pets safety after ingesting a mystery medication.
“You don’t want to do something detrimental to the animal. Don’t do anything right there until you talk to a veterinarian and find out, because what you think might be good can be really harmful to your animal,” Silverglat said.
If you suspect your pet has ingested something harmful, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Hotline at (888) 426-4435 for 24/7 emergency assistance.