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Are Over-the-Counter Medications Safe for Dogs?

March 7, 2017


This is a very common question and one that needs an assertive "No" for an answer.

You should always check with your veterinarian before giving your pet any medication including vitamins and supplements. Not only is there a big weight difference between dogs and humans, a dog cannot tolerate many of the OTC medications that humans routinely use. That said, your pet's veterinarian might at times prescribe an over-the-counter drug, such as Benadryl to treat allergies or to manage travel anxiety. However, it is crucial that you seek veterinary assistance in determining the dosage and frequency as well as the duration of any medication that you are considering.

All too often, caring pet owners will attempt to use OTC pain relievers to provide some relief for their pet's recent injury or arthritis. After all, when you pet hurts, you want to help them feel better. Although there are NSAIDs and painkillers that are made specifically for dogs, it probably is not the ones that you are taking. Therefore, it is always prudent to check with your vet, as "how much to give" will always be an issue. What would be a safe drug taken as prescribed may cause kidney, liver or digestive problems if taken in too large of a quantity or for too long.

Never, ever give your pet Tylenol. The active ingredient acetaminophen has been known to be fatal in both dogs and cats. Certain dogs are also especially sensitive to NSAIDs made for humans. Drugs like ibuprofen, Advil and naproxen can cause serious side effects and even result in death. There are websites that say baby aspirin is a safe drug for dogs. Although this would be true in most cases, this advice does not take into account the breed, size, weight or pre-existing health conditions. Naturally, the exception to the rule is whenever your veterinarian has prescribed a pet-specific painkiller or NSAID. In such cases, it is still important that you carefully follow the vet's instructions for strength, dosage and duration.

We know you love your pet, so err on the side of caution. To schedule an appointment with a caring veterinarian who can furnish professional advice for caring for your dog or cat, give PrimeVet a call at (904) 644-7876.

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