Are Over-The-Counter Medications Safe For My Dog?
Done so with care and only with your veterinarian’s approval, there are some over the counter human medications that can be given to your dog.
For example, topical antibiotic ointments can be used to treat any minor cuts and scrapes. Check the label first to ensure the ointment does not contain any steroids (as they can slow healing), and cover the wound so your dog doesn’t lick the ointment off. Anti-fungal treatments such as creams, gels and sprays can be used as a temporary measure until you can take your dog to your veterinarian.
Pepto-Bismol can be administered to your dog to help alleviate diarrhea or vomiting. Contact your veterinarian to check dosage beforehand, and also if your dog vomits up the Pepto-Bismol.
If your dog suffers from travel sickness, Dramamine is safe to give to most dogs at least half an hour before departure. Please note that there are canine specific medications that are more effective and last longer than Dramamine.
Some human antihistamines such as Claritin or Zyrtec may also be safe to give your dog on the say so of your veterinarian. Decongestants however are not safe for dogs so check the label carefully to ensure none are present in the medicine. The allergy medicine you give your dog should only contain antihistamines.
Hydrogen peroxide may be used topically to clean any wounds. On the advice of your veterinarian a small dose of hydrogen peroxide may be given to your dog to induce vomiting. Your veterinarian will advise if this is appropriate and what dose to give.
Prior to giving your dog any human medications, it is essential to talk to your veterinarian. Most importantly your veterinarian will advise you if that particular medication is safe to give to your dog. If it is safe then they can advise what the appropriate dosage would be. Your veterinarian can also check your dog’s medical records to make sure the medication will not cause any adverse effects.
What Painkillers Can I Give My Dog?
Generally human pain medications are not safe to give to your dog, they can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. Many over the counter human pain medications such as ibuprofen are classed as an nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory or (NSAID). When these medications are given to dogs they can cause a loss of appetite, intestinal problems, vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding disorders and kidney or liver dysfunction or failure.
Can I Give My Dog Human Cough Medicine?
Many human cough medicines are relatively safe to give your dog. Check the label very carefully to make sure the medicine does not contain any decongestants as they are not safe for dogs. However, a cough may be a sign that something more serious is wrong with your dog like heart worms, respiratory infections or heart disease. If your dog is coughing, have him checked by your veterinarian to rule anything more serious out, before administering human cough medicine to your dog.
Is Human Medicine Bad for Dogs?
While small doses of human medication can be safely administered to your dog there are some medications that are extremely toxic to your pet.
Top 10 Most Poisonous Human Medications for Pets
Leaving a pill bottle opened on a low counter top, packing your medication in a plastic bag or accidentally dropping a pill on the floor could harm your dog more than you realize. Dr. Justine Lee, associate director of veterinary services at the Pet Poison Hotline, says 50 percent of the approximately 150,000 annual calls the hotline gets are about pets swallowing human medications. Recently, the hotline came out with a review of the call data, which revealed the top 10 offenders.
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen are a type of pain medication. Just one or two pills can lead to serious stomach or kidney ulcers, or kidney failure. “The only pain pill we ever recommend is aspirin,” says Lee. “People think aspirin is the same as Tylenol or Advil, but it’s not.” Even so, aspirin should only be administered at the direction of a veterinarian as it can lead to internal bleeding.
This common over-the-counter pain medication can be devastating to pets. And ingestion often isn’t accidental. “Pet owners think because it’s over the counter that it’s safe,” Lee says. Acetaminophen ingestion by dogs, however, can lead to liver failure or, in large doses, red blood cell damage.
It’s true that antidepressants are prescribed to pets, but Lee says the veterinary versions have a different makeup. The human version can actually lead to agitation in dogs.
Even minimal ingestion of these drugs can be deadly to dogs. Tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems can result. Dr. Ahna Brutlag of the Pet Poison Hotline says it’s important to educate children taking these pills: “Make sure your children know how dangerous the pills are for the pets.”
Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium etc) and Sleep Aids
They’re designed to reduce anxiety or improve sleep, but many dogs instead become agitated rather than sedated. Lee says such medications are commonly left on a bedside table. “Putting them there helps people remember to take them,” says Lee. “But curious animals often get to them first.”
Birth Control Pills
“The containers are colorful, plastic and may make a rattling noise,” says Lee. “Dogs seem to find them irresistible.” Thankfully, most canines aren’t affected by accidental ingestions, but non-spayed female dogs are at risk of side effects. High doses can also lead to serious bone marrow problems.
ACE Inhibitors (Angiotensin-Converting-Enzyme Inhibitors)
Used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure in people, ACE inhibitors can cause problems similar to beta-blockers, but with less severe effects. Still, heart medications should never be within a dog’s reach, says Lee.
Another group of blood pressure medications,beta-blockers can have serious effects in dogs, lowering their blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels. “It has a very narrow margin of safety,” says Brutlag. “It may not take very many to cause lethal side effects.”
Hypothyroidism can be common in dogs, and the dose required tends to be 10 times stronger than for a person, says Lee. For this reason, accidental ingestions are usually not a problem, unless a dog eats an extremely large amount.
Called “statins,” these popular drugs treat a problem that dogs typically don’t have. The good news is that serious effects in dogs only occur from chronic ingestion.
Preventing Accidental Poisoning in Your Dog
Lee and Brutlag offer tips to help prevent accidental ingestions, based on the most common stories they get from hotline callers:
- Keep human and dog drugs in different locations. It’s easy to grab the wrong bottle if they’re next to each other on the shelf.
- If you carry drugs in your bag or purse, place it someplace high when you’re home.If you use a seven-day pill container, store it out of reach. Dogs often think it’s a toy.
- Don’t assume children’s medicine is safe. Species’ differences are significant enough that medications safe for children can still harm dogs.
- When you travel, be vigilant about safely packing your pills.
Can You Give a Dog Human Arthritis Medicine?
Glucosamine is used long term to treat joint pain associated with arthritis in humans and is considered safe for use in most dogs.
If you decide to administer Glucosamine to your dog it is important to follow the dosage recommendations. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that Glucosamine use for up to 12 months is relatively safe for your dog.
What is a Natural Anti Inflammatory for Dogs?
Inflammation in dogs can be caused by conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, dermatitis, and conjunctivitis. If your dog is suffering from inflammation and you would like to take a natural path for treatment, there are some things you can try.
Be aware of what your dog is eating. Ensure their diet is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Avoid giving them human scraps and opt for good quality dog food.
Inflammation is one of the conditions obesity can cause in your dog. If your dog is already obese its time to make some changes. Increase the amount of exercise your dog gets. If your dog is suffering from inflammation, take them on more frequent shorter walks rather than one longer walk. Gradually reduce the portion size you feed your dog and their treats. It may even be appropriate to change to a low calorie dog food.
Regular short bouts of exercise will help maintain your dog’s fitness. Reduce the length of walks but increase their frequency to help with pain management. Find games that your dog will enjoy.
Natural anti inflammatories
Even though there are a range of natural remedies to try for your dog, it is still important to seek professional advice prior to starting any treatment.
What Herbal Anti Inflammatory Remedies Can I Give My Dog?
Certain herbs are known for their anti inflammatory properties, so if you would like to try a herbal remedy for your dog’s inflammation or arthritis, there are several you can try.
- Arnica can be applied topically to relieve the pain of sprains, inflammation and arthritis.
- Boswellia is usually administered orally in capsule form, and may help slow the rate of cartilage damage.
- Turmeric can be administered orally to your dog as bite sized chew tablets. Turmeric may decrease inflammation, reduce pain and stiffness that accompany arthritis.
- Yucca is usually administered orally in liquid form and can reduce pain, stiffness and swelling.
Even though the use of herbs is a natural remedy for your dog, it is still important to seek professional advice before administering anything to your dog.
Article written by Author: Elijah Merrill and The Dog Daily Expert