RSPCA Chief Veterinarian Caroline Allen shares concern over the number of owners trying to DIY their pet care at home and warns people never to give their dogs or cats paracetamol as it can be toxic
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A rise in reports of people trying to treat their pets poorly at home has vets worried.
For the past two years, Google has searched “Can I give my dog paracetamol?”. quadrupled, with 14,600 searches in January 2022 alone.
It comes as the cost of living in the UK is skyrocketing and many people may be facing difficult financial decisions.
While it may seem tempting to DIY your pet’s care at home, it can be extremely dangerous and even fatal to your dog’s health.
RSPCA Chief Veterinary Office Caroline Allen told the Mirror: “While we understand that people believe they are trying to help their animals by seeking to treat them at home which can work for a human is often unsuitable for pets and can even be poisonous.
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“Although paracetamol is not toxic to dogs, as it is to cats, treating them with a painkiller at home could delay a diagnosis or potentially worsen certain conditions.
“It is vitally important that pet owners receive advice from their veterinarian first so that their condition can be properly diagnosed and treated with appropriate medication.
“It is worrying to see that there has been an increase in the number of people asking whether or not they can give paracetamol to their dogs.
“It may seem like a cheaper alternative, but home remedies could prolong the problem and ultimately lead to more expensive treatment for your pet.”
Last year, the animal charity received 3,644 calls categorized as “help with vet bills”, a 12% growth from the previous year.
Caroline continued: “It can be tempting to stick your head in the sand if your pet seems sick and you’re worried about the costs, but it can lead to increased problems later on.
“The first step in helping your pet is to contact a veterinarian.
“While it may seem awkward to talk about money, it’s good to talk honestly with your vet about what you can afford as there may be other options.
“Depending on your situation or where you live, there may also be charities that can help you.”
To help minimize the likelihood of an unexpected large bill, the RSPCA recommends:
- Registration with a veterinarian
- Follow your veterinarian’s advice on preventative care, eg fleas and worming
- Insure your pet
Caroline added: “There is help and advice available on the RSPCA website about common ailments seen in pets, but your first contact if you have a problem should always be your vet – explain your situation and in many cases they should be able to give you a range of options.”
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