Over-the-Counter Medications That Are Safe for Dogs (And How Much to Give!)

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While veterinary care, lots of love, and a healthy lifestyle is the absolute best way to keep your pet feeling great, all dogs will experience at least some form of injury or illness in their lifetime. Did you know that there are many over-the-counter human medications that can be safe and effective for dogs, when used correctly?

Benadryl, or another branded antihistamine, can be incredibly useful for treating allergies, bug bites, or other causes of itchy skin. Buffered aspirin is an excellent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Even Dramamine can be used for dogs with motion sickness, and Immodium can treat diarrhea. However, dosages for dogs are much different than for humans.

Use the information on these slides to determine if your OTC medication is dog (and cat) safe and how much should be administered. Always check with your veterinarian that understands your pet’s health and history before giving any medications. Additionally, be certain that you’re using only the medication listed, not other ingredients. Many antihistamines, for example, include added decongestants that can be lethal for your dog. Check labels very carefully and when in doubt, don’t use.

Click NEXT to view the medications that are safe for your pets (and their doses!)

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


  1. I have a 4 year old terrier and just noticed that she can’t walk good she limps she falls when she jump up she falls to the side when she walks she just lays around all day not active at all can’t afford the vet what should i do.

    • If you can’t afford even a vet visit to figure out what’s wrong, then maybe you should consider finding her a new home. If she’s laying around and not active, it’s because she’s in pain. She doesn’t deserve to suffer because you can’t afford to help her. Find someone who can.

      • do you suggest that only wealthy people should own pets? Vet bills are crazy for ordinary people. I think they are looking for helpful advice. Buffered aspirin might be a start.

  2. Yesterday my yorkshierterrier got acttacked by a bullmaster mix pit!!!! My dogs back is sore and gots a tiny wound 1/2 inch around his left sholder and i use betadine solution to clean around the wound and clean the wound with clean water. I was afraid to use sope or dog shampoo but i dont know what to give him for the pain. It say here to give the dog buffered asprin. But i dont understand. buffered?

    • Ivalisse the term Buffered on aspirins means that the pill is coated with something that lessens stomach irritability for the person/animal taking it. Remember, NEVER, EVER substitute Tylenol, Aleve, or Advil for aspirin. Aspirin only!!

      I hope your fur baby gets better from it’s bite soon.

    • I don’t understand why this post didn’t mention not allowing the feeding of anything grape flavored to pets?! I cannot believe it’s an oversite, so what’s up? Someone dropped the ball

      • most grape flavourings are synthetic for one, not made from actual grapes. two, while grapes can be toxic to dogs it seems that the toxicity varies quite abit from one dog to another(some people report being able to give handfuls of grapes to their dogs without any problems, they started feeding before they knew they were bad).

        In anycase, this is abit off topic yes grapes are not good for dogs, grape flavored medication most likely is NOT flavored from actual grapes as thats impractical. But you can check the side it might say if its natural flavor or not. Even if it was i don’t think the very small amount of flavoring is going to have an effect but doesnt hurt to err on the side of caution.

  3. I need to cut my dogs nails but he trys to bite me when I do and he don’t like to get clipped the groomer said he try ed to bite them to so I need to get him to go to sleep when I do him what can I use to get him to go to sleep ?

    • I have the same situation, or I did. Got them a Pedi Paws Rotary Nail File with rough sand paper and one less abrasive. It is similar to a dermal, but cones with a guard, so not to trim to close and I believe it is call the quick. The nail time went from aggressive behavior to, turn on a movie, get the job done, and NOW NO PROBLEMS. I have a American Cocker-Spaniel age 8 yrs. A Staff-ashier Terrier 6, Maltese-Poodle 4, Shih-tzu -Poodle 2, and 4 Maltese-Shih-tzu-Poodle, designer 10 month old pups. They all get groomed bi-monthly and never have a problem with nail grooming. Turning 65 in 12 days, I love and spoil my fur-babies, they have their own at home salon, and I learning about techniques, tools, and how to keep them polished and groomed like a professional. Their daily walks have improved as I feared the groomers were not say the same when I left them, and my pay back for the salon allows a retire to save $$$ for a better life, the pedi paws has adjustable slots for smallest to largest nails. A muzzle, hmmmmm Well that is like, not cool, and The reason for my response and the first one ever. Happy Fur-

  4. Check out psyillium for diarrhea. Does a great job for my lab that insists on eating calf poop. 1/2 teaspoon on wet food per feeding, works for her 80 pounds.
    Also- you can copy the image of the chart (right click), paste it into Word, and then either save it as a file or print

  5. I have a 7 lb. toy poodle that suffers from chronic pain. The vet prescribes her oral Buprenex, however I can’t afford that mediation or more so the vet bills I incur to get the prescription. I’m wondering what over the counter drug would help relieve her pain? Any suggestions?

    Thank you,

  6. you don’t have to print 70 pages all you have to do is print the page you need when u go to print it will say pages 1-10 or how ever many pages there may be all you have to do is scroll to see what page it is on if it is on page 3 just change the 1-10 to 3 or if its page 7 put 7 if it is page 1 and you don’t want to print 10 pages change the 1-10 just erase it to say 1 and bam you just learned how to make a printable version of anything you have to outsmart the computer.

  7. Why don’t you make a printable version of over the counter meds that can be used for pets. I had to print 70 pages to get the list of over the counter meds. I want to keep a list and amounts to be used on pets. This would be handy in an emergency.

  8. I need some help or input. My dog has a really bad cough and hacking I read on here to give him robitussin DM so I got some and I gave it to him and he instantly started foaming at the mouth and nose. Is this normal? My dog is like my child and I’m scared to death.

    • Hi Becky, my Jack Russell has asthma, she coughs sometimes to the point of gagging, she’s had asthma since she came to me at 2 years old. It has gotten worse over time, as Lizzie is 17 this winter!! So you may check if that is a problem, Lizzie sometimes gets stuffy nose too, I’ve started using saline nose drops and it has helped very well. I also put vaporub. Vicks on her collar, but never where she could lick it because it is toxic if eaten. The Vicks helps too, if asthma is the problem the vet can give an inhaler to use and that is the best relief for Lizzie. I recently moved from a house where mold was found in the walls. Since our move Lizzie’s coughing episodes have decreased dramatically!!
      I wish the best for you Becky and your furry friend<3

    • most likely he did not like the taste- I volunteered at a humane society- we had to medicate a cat w liquid kitty prozac- he hated it I felt horrible- he would foan at the mouth and slobber it out- so I bet your doggie is ok