Dogs on Steroids

Dogs on Steroids

Negative Side Effects of Steroids on Dogs

Steroids are a substance produced in the adrenal glands that circulate throughout the body’s blood stream. They impact a variety of body activities such as the immune and stress response systems, inflammation, nutrient metabolism, and blood electrolyte levels. Pets are often prescribed steroids to suppress inflammation or sometimes the immune system. When an animal does not respond positively to non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids are used only for a short period of time. If the animal’s immune system is not working properly, steroids might be prescribed over the long-term.

However, according to top vets, you never really want your dog to be on steroids for any length of time because steroids have many  negative short-term and long-term side effects.

Even in the short-term, steroids can greatly affect the body. Side effects include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger
  • More panting
  • Loss of energy
  • Higher risk of and worsening of infections (typically bacterial skin infections)
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Making pre-diabetic pets actually become diabetic

When steroids are used for longer periods of time (3 – 4 months), the risks of side effects worsen. Most common long-term side effects include:

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) which occurs in 30% of patients
  • Appearance of blackheads
  • Thin or poor hair coat
  • Poor wound healing abilities
  • Increased hunger which often results in obesity
  • Weaker muscles
  • Blood clots
  • Appearance of hard plaques or spots on the skin due to calcium deposits on the skin
  • More susceptible to bacterial or fungal infections
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s Disease


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Fortunately, however, there are natural, safer alternatives and ways to get your dog off these medications utilizing natural supplements such as the Green Lipped Mussel products.

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Pet Wellness Direct does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We help pet owners to better understand their pets; however, all content on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment. If you suspect that your pet needs medical assistance, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.