Shires Vets is warning pet owners of the potentially fatal dangers to cats and dogs of leaving cough and cold medicines lying around the house.

With winter in full swing, flu and colds are widespread and many people are stocking up on remedies and medicines.

However, Jess Hulme, clinical director at Shires, is urging people to ensure they keep any tablets, pills and tinctures well away from their animals.

Medications such as aspirin, codeine, paracetamol, ibuprofen tablets and even children’s medicine Calpol can all be very dangerous for pets, as can bottles of cough and cold medicines.

“People should always assume that all human medications are poisonous to their pet, unless instructed otherwise by a veterinary surgeon,” advised Jess.

“Human painkillers can cause intestinal problems, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea, bleeding disorders and even kidney or liver failure in pets like cats and dogs.

“The risk and reactions are so serious they may have to be admitted into hospital for intensive treatment.

“Always bear in mind that cats are even more susceptible than dogs to these toxicities and, unfortunately, they can be fatal.”

When it comes to protecting pets, the advice is simple – keep all medication out of the reach and out of sight of animals.

“Prevention is the key, so keep all medications locked away and well out of your pet’s reach,” added Jess.

“If you are worried about your pet then act immediately and call your vet using the emergency phone number if it’s out of hours.”

For more information on Shires Vets, which has surgeries in Stone, Eccleshall, Gnosall, Loggerheads and Eaton Park, visit