February 11, 2019

Which "People" Medicines Can You Give a Dog?

This is a loaded question, but we’re going to tackle it. At least, to the fullest extent we can online. Please remember that there is no substitute from personalized advice from your pet’s vet. If you’re ever in doubt, unsure, or have questions, reach out to a professional veterinarian; don’t depend on what you can find out online. That said, vets get a ton of questions on which “human” medications are safe for dogs. It’s natural to want to help your dog feel better, and it’s also natural not to want to run to the vet every time your pooch is under the weather. Here are some common human medications our vets are asked about, and what they would advise.

This list is NOT a substitute for advice from a trained professional!


Most dogs can be given Benadryl safely, but use extra caution with toy breeds. It’s often used to curb allergy symptoms (especially seasonal) or to gently sedate a pet before traveling or an agitating experience. (Also safe: Claratin, Zyrtec)


Just like humans, dogs get motion sickness. Dogs prone to car sickness or other bouts of nausea can safely take Dramamine, but beware that it may cause your dog to become very sleepy.


MiraLAX is mostly extra fiber, so it’s generally safe for a dog who’s been suffering from constipation. Always start with a small dosage to make sure you don’t unintentionally cause stomach discomfort or diarrhea. (Also safe: Metamucil)


Prilosec is designed to reduce stomach acid which can be helpful if a dog is vomiting after eating certain foods. Never ignore sudden or consistent vomiting, though, as it could be a symptom of a bigger issue. (Also safe: Pepcid AC, Tagamet HB)


Corticosteroids are useful for reducing inflammation around hot spots or itchy patches. Sprays work best (although they can sting!) because your dog’s less likely to lick them off than a gel or cream-based medication.

OTC Meds that are Unsafe for Dogs

Now, let’s take a minute to talk about the OTC medications that are absolutely unsafe for you to give your dog:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), and Aspirin are NOT safe for your pet and cause cause extreme toxicity and even death. NEVER give your dog an OTC pain medication without speaking to your vet.

Remember, this list is NOT a substitute for advice from a trained professional!

If you have questions about the correct dosage of an OTC medication for your dog, call your vet. If you aren’t sure whether or not a medication is on the “safe” list, call your vet. If you’re unsure what to treat because your dog’s symptoms are all over the map, call your vet.

Pup not spayed or neutered yet? Bank their stem cells at the spay/neuter to make regenerative medicine a part of their long-term wellness plan. 

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