Sertraline is a commonly prescribed medication used to treat various mental health disorders in humans, such as depression and anxiety. However, many pet owners are unaware of the potential dangers that sertraline can pose to dogs. It is important to understand the risks associated with this medication to ensure the safety and well-being of our furry friends.

The Toxicity of Sertraline

Sertraline belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. While SSRIs can be beneficial for humans, they can have serious toxic effects on dogs.

When ingested by dogs, sertraline can lead to serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. Serotonin syndrome occurs when there is an excessive accumulation of serotonin in the body, leading to a range of symptoms including agitation, tremors, rapid heartbeat, elevated body temperature, seizures, and even death in severe cases.

Common Sources of Sertraline Poisoning in Dogs

Dogs can be exposed to sertraline in various ways. Some common sources of sertraline poisoning in dogs include:

  • Accidental ingestion of human medication: Dogs may accidentally consume sertraline if they find and chew on improperly stored medication.
  • Ingestion of contaminated food or water: If a dog consumes food or water contaminated with sertraline, it can lead to poisoning.
  • Administration of incorrect dosage: Sometimes, well-meaning pet owners might administer sertraline to their dogs without proper knowledge or guidance from a veterinarian, resulting in an overdose.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Sertraline Poisoning

It is crucial for dog owners to be able to recognize the symptoms of sertraline poisoning to seek immediate veterinary care. Some common signs of sertraline poisoning in dogs include:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Tremors and muscle twitching
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Seizures

Treatment and Prevention

If you suspect that your dog has ingested sertraline or is displaying symptoms of sertraline poisoning, it is vital to seek immediate veterinary care. The veterinarian may induce vomiting to remove the medication from the dog’s system or administer activated charcoal to prevent further absorption.

Prevention is key in protecting our dogs from sertraline poisoning. Here are some preventive measures:

  • Store all medications, including sertraline, in a secure and inaccessible location.
  • Dispose of expired or unused medications properly.
  • Keep an eye on your dog when outside to prevent them from ingesting contaminated substances.
  • Always consult with a veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog.


Sertraline, a commonly prescribed medication for humans, can be highly toxic and potentially fatal to dogs. It is important for pet owners to be aware of the dangers and take precautions to prevent sertraline poisoning in their furry friends. By understanding the risks, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking immediate veterinary care, we can keep our dogs safe and ensure their well-being.


Q: Can I give sertraline meant for humans to my dog?

A: No, you should never give sertraline meant for humans to your dog without proper veterinary guidance. The dosage and treatment protocols for dogs are different from those for humans, and an incorrect dosage can be harmful or even fatal to your dog.

Q: What should I do if my dog accidentally ingests sertraline?

A: If your dog accidentally ingests sertraline, it is important to seek immediate veterinary care. The veterinarian will be able to assess the situation and provide appropriate treatment, such as inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal, to minimize the absorption of the medication.

Q: How can I prevent sertraline poisoning in my dog?

A: To prevent sertraline poisoning in your dog, store all medications securely and out of reach of your dog. Dispose of expired or unused medications properly. Always consult with a veterinarian before administering any medication to your dog, and never give your dog medication meant for humans without professional guidance.



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