Can I Use Expired Pet Medications?

Do you have pet medications sitting in your medicine cabinet, unsure whether to keep or toss them? It can be a tough decision to make. On one hand, holding onto leftover medication can save you money or a trip to the vet. On the other hand, is it safe to give expired pet medications? Let’s delve into this topic with the guidance of Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital.

Check the Expiration Date

When sorting through your pet’s medications, the first step is to check the expiration date. All prescribed pet medications have an expiration date. You can usually find this date stamped on the medication bottle or printed on the prescription label. If there is no expiration date and the medication is over six months old, it should be considered expired. Mixed liquid medications are generally only good for a week or two after being reconstituted.

Expiration dates are crucial because they help us understand how and when to best use the medication. As a medication nears its expiration date, it undergoes chemical changes due to exposure and environmental conditions. These changes lead to a loss of effectiveness, decreased potency, and potentially harmful chemical alterations.

The shelf life of a medication is determined by its manufacturer. Some drugs are dated to last several years, while others may only last weeks or months. It is best to adhere to the expiration date determined by the manufacturer, as visible changes may not always indicate that the drug has gone bad.

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What Expired Pet Medications to Keep

You should not keep any expired pet medications. Administering an expired pet medication can have the following consequences:

  • It may fail to improve your pet’s condition.
  • It could delay your furry friend from receiving appropriate treatment.
  • It may contribute to antibiotic resistance.
  • It could cause potential drug interactions or medical concerns that hinder effective treatment.

While it’s important not to keep expired pet medications, there may be non-expired medications worth holding onto. Be sure to follow any storage instructions regarding temperature, humidity, and light exposure on the label. However, it’s crucial to avoid the temptation to administer them without consulting a veterinarian. A quick phone call can help you avoid potential risks or drug interactions.

It’s also worth noting that while some human medications are used in pets, others can be toxic or require different dosages. Resist the urge to administer these medications without veterinary guidance.

Proper Disposal

Now that we know which medications to keep and which to dispose of, it’s essential to know how to dispose of them properly. Simply throwing drugs in the trash can cause problems, especially if there are small children or pets in the house who might rummage through the garbage.

It’s also important to note that our water systems are not equipped to remove drug residues, so flushing or pouring drugs down the drain is not ideal.

To properly dispose of unwanted drugs, follow these steps:

  • Call local law enforcement to inquire about any local drug take-back programs.
  • Utilize local drug drop boxes.
  • Look for a pharmacy disposal program near you.
  • Pay attention to disposal locations that can accept controlled substances, as they require special licensure.
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While some medications may be worth keeping, most expired pet medications should be disposed of properly. We want the best care for your pet, and using medications that have been appropriately prescribed and are at their peak efficacy is the best practice.

For more information about pet care and medication, visit Katten TrimSalon.