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

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.

Please note: Collies and other herding breeds may have a genetic mutation that makes certain OTC drugs on this list – even those that are considered safe for other breeds – very dangerous. Always check with your veterinarian before administering human medications.

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

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  1. virginia rosado

    Apr 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I have a beagle mix, his snout is swollen due to a laceration or a bite (notsure which) i gave him benadryl this morning at 8am..i returned from work but found it still swollen and it seems as if he has been trying ti scratch it. I gave him an antibiotic amoxicilin and an antiinflamarory medication..carprofen..

  2. sandra

    Mar 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    my daughter dog is 10 years old. she is a bull massive and is having pain in her hip. is there anything she can give her for pain without the costly bills from a vet? she may not be around for very long as she is getting older so any help would be great! thank you sandra

  3. Kyle

    Mar 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Thanks for the useful article. I’ve written an article on what to give dogs for pain over on my blog:
    Worthwhile read for those looking for more options.

  4. Jack Luyt

    Mar 6, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Acetaminophen is sold as Tylenol in North America; elsewhere it is called paracetamol (Panado).
    It is an absolute no-no for cats and dogs, who lack the liver enzyme that renders it safe in humans.
    It is the most common pain-killer on the market; marketed as a Generic medication worldwide under a bewildering variety of different trade names. So read the label – and never give your pet anything that contains ‘acetaminophen’ or ‘paracetamol’!

  5. Carolyn Clarkson

    Feb 29, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Do not give collies Kaopectate. Collies and some other breeds have drug sensitivity as per a mutation or defect in the blood-brain barrier. Other drugs include: selecamectin, moxidectin, some formulas of Pepto Bismol, ivermectin, digoxin, erythromycin, dexamethazone, hydrocortisone, acepromozine. Butorphanol, rimadyl. Check with your vet always and a full list is available on the Collie Health site of the Collie Club of America.

    • Steph Hulett

      Mar 20, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Collies, and other herding breeds, should not have the drugs Carolyn mentions above. They also shouldn’t have Immodium. This breed of dog can have a mutated gene that when given these drugs can cause neurological issues. Please visit this website to learn more about MutliDrug sensitivity in dogs: Dogington Post, you should really put this disclaimer on the slides for these drugs.

  6. Carolyn Clarkson

    Feb 29, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Do not give Immodium to collies!

  7. Beckie

    Feb 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I have a 14 year miniature cocker 20 pounds what can I give her and how much otc pain medicine can I give her she has arthritis

  8. misun

    Feb 18, 2016 at 3:42 am

    My fur baby just had surgerie today she had hematoma on her ear and the doctors didn’t not give anything for the pain what can I give my fura baby to give her some relief please help

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