How to Give Over-the-Counter Medication to a Dog
Learn Dose Info and What Human Medications Are Safe For Dogs
Nov 25, 2008 Mia Carter
Many "human" medications can be given to a dog who's sick, but most dog owners don't know which over-the-counter medications are safe for dogs and what medication doses should be given to a dog.
"It's vital that you consult your dog's veterinarian before giving any over-the-counter medication to your pet. Some medications like Ibuprofen and Tylenol® are deadly to dogs. Other human medications will interact with any other medication that the dog is taking. And a few over-the-counter medications cannot be taken by dogs with particular medical conditions. It's really important to clear it with your veterinarian before trying to give medication to a dog," explained Dr. Michael Levine, DVM.
There are many over-the-counter medications that can be safely given to dogs in most cases. These medications should always be included in Pet First Aid Kits in the home.
The following is an overview of what medications are safe for dogs, along with dosing information that specifies how much medication should be given to a dog at each dosing. Common medication side effects for dogs are also noted, along with other medication cautions.
- ASPIRIN® Dosage and Side Effects for Dogs
ASPIRIN® (acetylsalicylic acid or ASA) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with pain-relieving properties. ASPIRIN® can be safely given to dogs on an one-time basis or long-term for moderate pain and inflammation.
The dosage for ASPIRIN® in dogs is 10mg for each 1 pound of body weight; it should be given every 12 hours for no more than 3-5days. ASPIRIN® should be given with food, as even buffered forms of the drug can cause stomach upset and vomiting in dogs.
ASPIRIN® should never be given to a dog who is experiencing bleeding or bruising. Dogs who have undergone surgery or dogs who have a flesh wound should never be given acetylsalicylic acid because it thins the blood, resulting in uncontrolled bleeding.
In dogs, ASPIRIN® side effects can include vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach ulcers, diarrhea and kidney and liver problems.
While ASPIRIN® is a safe pain reliever for dogs, Tylenol® and Ibuprofen are two drugs that should never be given to a dog.
Tylenol® and Ibuprofen are deadly to both cats and dogs.
In addition, acetylsalicylic acid is deadly to cats and should never be given to felines.
Benadryl® Dosage and Side Effects For Dogs
Benadryl® (diphenhydramine) is an anti-histamine medication that's given to dogs to treat allergic reactions that include itching and swelling.
The most common Benadryl® dosage for dogs is 1 mg per each 1 pound of body weight, therefore a 20-pound dog would receive a 20 mg dose of Benadryl®; it should given every 12 hours.
In dogs, the most common Benadryl® side effect is drowsiness.
Pepto Bismol® Dosage and Side Effects for Dogs
Pepto Bismol® is a safe medication for dogs who are suffering from vomiting and diarrhea.
The Pepto Bismol∞ dosage for dogs is 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds of body weight, given every 4 to 6 hours.
The most common side effect of Pepto Bismol® in dogs is a dark, black colored stool. In a few cases, Pepto Bismol may be ineffective for dogs who are not tolerant of silicates.
Pepto Bismol® is toxic to felines and therefore, this OTC drug should never be given to cats.
A similar drug called Loperamide (sold under names like Immodium®) is safe for both dogs and cats with diarrhea. Immodium® can be given to dogs and cats at a dosage of 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds of body weight, given every 4 to 6 hours.
A Few Cautions on Giving OTC Medications to Dogs
Dr. Levine reminds dog owners that a veterinarian should always be consulted before giving a medication to a dog, cat or other pet. "Just because a medication is generally safe for dogs, this doesn't mean it's safe for your dog. Drug interactions, drug allergies and health conditions can all cause a dog to have a bad reaction to an over-the-counter medication."
In addition, pet owners should also remember that while some "human medications" are safe for dogs, this does not mean that these same medications are safe for cats. An example: ASPIRIN® and Pepto Bismol® are two OTC medications that are generally safe for dogs, but Pepto Bismol®, ASPIRIN® and other pain relievers can be toxic to cats.
Pet owners should also remember that Tylenol® and Ibuprofen are toxic to both dogs and cats.
Read How to Give Medication to a Pet for more tips on how to give medication to a dog. Or check out How to Buy a Pet's Medication Online for more information on discount pet medication websites and online pet pharmacies.