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D2005-10

Dear Daisy Dog

I gave my Cairn terrier my own cold medicine because he was sneezing, and he became so agitated that I had to take him to the emergency clinic.

The emergency vet explained that the pseudoephedrine in the single pill I had given him caused the problem, and that three pills could have been fatal. Please warn your readers.

Daisy Responds

You did it better than I, and your timing was superb.

March 20 to 26 is National Poison Prevention Week, sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

We usually think of poisons as harsh chemicals, but your letter reminds us that medications which are safe for humans can be toxic to pets.

Pseudoephedrine, the over-the-counter decongestant found in Contac and many other cold, allergy and sinus products, can subject us dogs to hyperactivity and nervousness, as well as increased heart rate and blood pressure.

While pseudoephedrine has an especially narrow margin of safety in dogs, all human and animal medications carry some risk.

Protect your dog by checking with your veterinarian before giving him any medication not prescribed specifically for him.

Child-proof containers do not deter those of us dogs who like to chew, so store medications in a cabinet above the counter.

If you must put a potentially toxic material in a lower cabinet, secure the door with a child-proof latch.

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