How to keep your pet safe from this hidden danger

As a careful pet parent, you know how important it is to keep Fluffy and Fido safe from prescription and OTC pills.

But here’s a danger you may not have thought about.

The FDA recently reported that several cats became very sick with sudden kidney failure and two died after ingesting a topical NSAID pain-killing cream. The poor kitties probably got exposed by licking their owners where they had applied it.

The medication involved contains the drug flurbiprofen, which is similar to ibuprofen. Both drugs are extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Even “very small amounts” can be dangerous, according to the FDA.

But flurbiprofen isn’t the only cream or lotion that can pose a peril to pets. There are some topical drugs that pets should not be allowed to come in contact with. They include:

  • creams containing steroids (hydrocortisone), which can typically cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • zinc oxide, found in diaper rash ointments, poison ivy creams and some sunscreens, which can cause an especially serious reaction in dogs. (If your pet is exposed to one of these zinc oxide preparations, be on the alert for blood in their vomit or stool. If you think they may have consumed more than just a tiny amount, you should definitely have your vet take a look.)
  •  Dovonex, an Rx ointment for psoriasis that can cause kidney failure in both dogs and cats in very small amounts.
  • Rogaine, the hair-growing foam first developed as a drug to lower blood pressure, can have tragic consequences when ingested. If you’re using this product, never, ever let your pet lick your head – and don’t let cats rub their heads against yours.
  • 5-fluorouracil , a cream for skin cancers and “solar keratosis,” is one of the most toxic products out there for dogs and cats, who are unlikely to survive after ingesting it.

Of course, when in doubt – even if you only suspect your best friend might have eaten something toxic — a trip to your vet is always the best idea.

And for a $65 consultation fee you can always call the ASPCA animal poison control line at: 888-426-4435. They’re open 24 hours a day, year-round.


“Flurbiprofen-containing topical pain medications: FDA alert – illnesses and deaths in pets exposed to prescription topical pain medication” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 17, 2015,

“Lotions, creams and prescription medications:” Should my pet be licking me?” Dr. Tina Wismer, VetStreet,