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OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATIONS

DISCLAIMER - The following information is offered for general information purposes only. It is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional veterinary care. The reader should always consult their vet for a diagnosis and to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.

WARNING: 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 breads related to Collies may have adverse reactions to Imodium (loperamide/ivermectin).  Do not give this medicine to Collies, Shelties, Australian Shepherds and Long-haired Whippets. 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
Twice daily
Dogs
(1 mg per pound)
Cats
weight amount
12 lbs 12 milligrams
(pediatric dose)
  NOT
  EFFECTIVE  
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
Once or twice a day, with food
Dogs Cats
weight amount
less than 10 lbs baby aspirin   NEVER!  
10-30 lbs 1 baby aspirin
30-50 lbs 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 hour prior to travel.  

Dramamine Dosage
hour prior to travel
Dogs Cats
weight amount
small 12.5 milligrams 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
one or twice daily
Dogs Cats
weight amount
less than 20 lbs tablet tablet
20-60 lbs 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
Dogs Cats
weight amount
small adult dose adult dose
medium 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
total per day
Dogs Cats
weight amount
under 25 lbs 500 milligrams 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 thoroughly 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.


 

Web site created by Leslie LeFave, Happy Grafix
Copyright 2001, 2002 [Happy Grafix]. All rights reserved. 
Revised: June 01, 2012