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How to Dispose of Unused Pet Medications

Previously it was believed that flushing unused pet medications down the toilet was the preferred method of disposing of them. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found that this method can cause harm to fish as the medication can find its way into water streams. Plus, it may even help bacteria become resistant to certain medications.

If you keep these steps in mind before you throw out your pet's unused medications, it will help protect your pet, family, and the environment.

Do not flush unused pet medications down the toilet
  • Read the instructions on your pet medications labels before disposing of them.
  • Although flushing is not recommended, the FDA does recommend this for certain medications due to their ingredients.
  • Click here to go to the FDA website regarding proper methods of disposing unused medicines.
Properly disposing medications helps protect your family and pets
  • Remove all personal identification information, like the prescription label.
  • Crush medications or dissolve them in water and mix in a material that absorbs the medications (kitty litter or sawdust work well).
  • After dissolving, place the substance in a sealed plastic bag prior to throwing in the trash can.
  • Check with your local and/or state collection programs for hazardous waste facilities. Some states may allow you to take your unused medication to a nearby pharmacy for disposal.

Pet prescription medications like the ones below may contain personal information on the label.

Talk to your pharmacist
  • If you are still unsure of what to do, contact your local pharmacist. Pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals who can guide you on how to properly dispose of unused medications.
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