Over-The-Counter Medications For Dogs

It’s 9:15pm on a Sunday night and your dog has developed diarrhea.  What do you do?  Rush to the emergency vet?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Dog owners know that sometimes a simple over-the-counter med will do the trick, at least until their regular vet is open.  Here is some advice concerning medications that may help, obtained from Walker Valley Veterinary Hospital. Please check the site directly before giving your dog any meds in case it has been updated. And, of course, consult with your personal vet whenever possible.:

You may help to ease your pet’s symptoms with the use of some over-the-counter medicines.  However, it’s never a good idea to just assume a human medication will be a safe and effective treatment for your pet.  Contact your veterinarian before starting any medical therapy, to discuss your options.  Always let the veterinarian know your pet’s symptoms and what you have been treating it with.  As with all illnesses, persistent symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor’s office.


WARNING!  DO NOT GIVE!
Acetaminophen(Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) are toxic to both cats and dogs, even in small doses.  Pepto Bismol can also be highly toxic in cats.

Here is a list of over-the-counter medications that can be safely used for your pet.  Please read everything before administering an OTC medication to your pet.  If it is not on this list — do not give it!

KAOPECTATE/IMODIUM (loperamide):
Can be given to some dogs and cats for diarrhea.  WARNING: Certain dog breeds related to Collies may have adverse reactions to Imodium (loperamide/ivermectin).  Do not give this medicine to Collies, Shelties, Australian Shephards and Long-haired Whippits. See this site for more detailed information.  (Thanks to Ken Brookner for this correction.)

For those animals for which this medicine is appropriate give 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds.  This dosage can be repeated every 4-6 hours for 24 hours, or until symptoms begin to resolve.

PEPTO-BISMOL:
Can be administered to dogs (never cats!) with upset stomach or vomiting.  Give one teaspoon per 20 pounds of weight every 4-6 hours for 24 hours, or until symptoms begin to resolve.

BENADRYL(Diphenhydramine):
Benadryl is an antihistamine that helps relieve swellings and itching from allergic reactions and is used long-term to treat allergies.  The dose is one milligram for every pound given twice daily.  (Although safe to use, Benadryl is not very effective in cats, and other antihistamines are more commonly prescribed.)

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs,
1 mg per pound, Twice Daily
weight     /          amount
12 lbs      /            12 milligrams (pediatric dose)
25 lbs      /            25 milligrams (1 adult capsule)
50 lbs     /             50 milligrams (2 adult capsules)

ASPIRIN:
Can be given short term to dogs (never cats!) to help relieve inflammation and pain.  Buffered Aspirin (Bufferin) is easier on the stomach but regular (non-coated) aspirin can also be used.  Aspirin may be given once or twice a day.  Always give aspirin with food.

Aspirin has potent blood thinning properties, and continued usage may be dangerous in some animals. For long term pain relief there are safer veterinary-specific alternatives.

Aspirin Dosage for dogs
Once or twice a day, with food
weight                     /   amount
less than 10 lbs   /     ½ baby aspirin
10-30 lbs              /      1 baby aspirin
30-50 lbs              /      ½ regular aspirin
50-100 lbs           /       1 regular aspirin
over 100 lbs        /       2 regular aspirin

DRAMAMINE (Dimenhydrinate):
Dramamine is an antihistamine that works well at preventing motion sickness in both cats and dogs.  This drug works best if given at least ½ hour prior to travel.

Dramamine Dosage for dogs
½ hour prior to travel
weight     /   amount
small        /   12.5 milligrams
medium  /   25 milligrams
large         /    50 milligrams

TAGAMET (Cimetidine)/PEPCID-AC/ZANTAC:
Reduces the amount of stomach acids and can be dispensed to dogs and cats suffering from ulcers, acid reflux or belly ache. Sometimes they are used to prevent ulcers in animals taking other medications. These medications are given once to twice daily. It’s best to discuss the exact dosage with your veterinarian.

Tagamet/Pepcid-AC/Zantac Dosage for Dogs
one or twice daily
weight                       /     amount
less than 20 lbs     /      ¼ tablet
20-60 lbs                 /      ½ tablet
over 60 lbs             /        1 whole tablet

HYDROCORTISONE:
Can help to relieve itchy, raw or irritated skin. It can be used topically to reduce itching from hives, hot spots, and insect bites and stings. Apply a small amount up to two times daily.

GAS-X (Simethicone):
Simethicone is used in dogs to help with unusual flatulence or gas discomfort. Any dog suspected of Bloat should get 2 doses immediately before transport to the Emergency Clinic.

GAS-X Dosage for Dogs
weight         /     amount
small           /      ¼ adult dose
medium     /      ½ adult dose
large           /       1 adult dose

GLUCOSAMINE:
Glucosamine (and glucosamine in combination with chondroitin sulfate) is used to treat joint pain associated with athritis. This is a long term treatment whose effects may not be immediately noticeable.

Glucosamine Dosage for Dogs
weight                /     amount
under 25 lbs    /    500 milligrams
25-50 lbs          /   1000 milligrams
over 50 lbs      /    1500 milligrams

ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENTS:
Are helpful in the treatment of small wounds, bites or minor infections.  Always thouroughly clean the wound with soap and water first.

ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP:
Can be use to clean any wound or injury.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE:
1 – 10 teaspoons given orally will induce vomiting.  (See toxicities.) Hydrogen peroxide is not as effective to clean wounds as antibacterial soap and water.

NASAL SPRAYS:
Saline nasal spray and pediatric nasal sprays (Little Noses) can be given in kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs to alleviate dryness and nasal congestion associated with a cold.  No other type of OTC nasal medication should be used unless prescribed by your veterinarian.

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4 Comments

  1. Gisele

    05.26.2011

    This is way super cool!

  2. Stephanie

    08.09.2011

    Thanks you guys are the best love the Dosage information!

  3. Dana Archer

    05.04.2016

    Thank you for posting this information. My 85 lb. akita developed a bad case of gas tonight and began panting rapidly (a sign of pain, as you know). I wanted to ease her discomfort, and prevent it turning into a full blown case of bloat, in case it was heading that way (Akitas are prone to it). So I began searching online for any information regarding dosing dogs with simethicone, and found your site. I am happy to report an hour later, my dog has stopped panting and is resting comfortably. I realize true bloat is life threatening and a dog suffering from it should be rushed to the emergency vet immediately, but this was not that. Thanks for helping me help my dog, and saving me $250 for an emergency visit. This is very helpful information for everyday ailments.

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