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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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286 Comments

286 Comments

  1. Carl

    Feb 15, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Not very helpful and they make you click through 12 pages of click bait ads to find the
    info they do have.

    I have a miniature dachshund who is recovering from having some teeth pulled yesterday. This site recommends 5 mg of Aspirin per pound of body weight but they don't tell you the method of administration.

    There are other websites ran by veterinarians that say never give a dog aspirin.

    • Emi

      Mar 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Did you find any relief for your pup? I'm in the exact same boat with my mini and I can't come up with anything to help him.

  2. Ron Contreras

    Nov 18, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I have a 3 1/2 year old mini dashound she has been vomiting clear since this morning can i give her pepto bismo sorry for the bad spelling

  3. Hime

    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Please help. My miniature poodle 16 years old. He Is restless and whines while he sit. Sometimes pacing back and forth.

    I try giving him GNC Mega Dog Aspirin 120 MG chewable Tablet. But it doesn’t help much. Benadryl helps a little.

    At the moment, I can’t afford to take him to the vet. Any suggestions?

  4. Pingback: How to Visit Machu Picchu with a Dog - Long Haul Trekkers

  5. Lynn

    Sep 27, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Dramamine and Benadryl are BOTH diphenhydramine. Store brands are usually cheaper. Just check the amount of diphenhydramine on the package and dose your pet appropriately.

    • Amanda Baines

      Mar 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      They aren't the exact same, but very close.
      Benadryl is diphenhydramine (bonded in a hydrochloride salt formulation).

      Dramamine is also diphenhydramine, but bonded to 8-chlorotheophylline, which whoever put the two together decided to give a different name altogether: dimenhydrinate. To say the least, doing this was an unorthodox practice.

      The only functional difference between the medications is that upon dissociation, the hydrochloride salt (which is converted to hydrochloric acid in the stomach) possesses no bioactivity, while 8-chlorotheophylline goes on to be absorbed and pass the blood-brain barrier, where it acts as a mild stimulant not fundamentally different from caffeine. The purpose of this is to reduce drowsiness produced by diphenhydramine, but within the therapeutic dosage range the sedative effect of the diphenhydramine will always significantly outweigh the stimulant properties of the 8-chlorotheophylline.

      So to sum things up, you wouldn't really be functionally incorrect to think of Dramamine simply as Benadryl with just a pinch of caffeine.

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