What Human Medicine Can I Give to My Dog?

By Valerie A. Modreski

Some common ailments your dog suffers from can be treated with human medications, but only medicines recommended by your veterinarian. Drug doses and administration instructions vary according to your dog's size and the nature of his illness.

OTC Human Medications For Dogs

Some over-the-counter drugs for people can be given to your dog. With the exception of certain breeds, Imodium A-D can be used for dogs with diarrhea. Benadryl, a human antihistamine, is given to dogs for a variety of conditions. Regular aspirin is given to dogs as an analgesic, but buffered aspirin will protect the sensitive lining of your dog's stomach. Dramamine is an antihistamine that helps dogs who suffer with motion sickness. Stomach antacids such as Tagamet, Zantac and Pepcid AC can treat dogs with ulcers, acid reflux and stomach aches. Hydrocortisone cream is used on dogs to treat hot spots, hives, rashes, insect bites and itchy skin. Dogs with irregular flatulence can be treated with Gas-X. Glucosamine chondroitin supplements reduce arthritis pain for dogs.

Human Behavior Modification Drugs For Dogs

Dogs are displaying positive changes with the use of human behavior modifying drugs. Certain human medicines are used to modify behavioral difficulties in dogs. Benzodiazepines are used to reduce stress and fear. Benzodiazepines take effect quickly, and usually are administered an hour before a stressful event. Benzodiazepines are useful if your dog is displaying signs of stress such as excessive panting, trembling, tail tucking, sweaty paws and pupil dilation. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors work on your dog's neurotransmitters inducing a calming effect. Tricyclic antidepressants are used in dogs to treat depression. Tricyclic antidepressants work by increasing serotonin giving your dog an emotional lift. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors alter your dog's brain transmissions providing an elevated emotional state. These drugs must be administered under the care of your veterinarian.

Veterinary Medicine Checklist

Whenever your veterinarian administers or prescribes drugs for your dog, make certain you understand all administrative instructions. Ask your vet about dosage amounts and how long you should give the medication. Understand how the medication should be taken; for example, should it be given with food or on an empty stomach? Ask about missed doses and potential overdoses. Ask about how to store the medication; some drugs require refrigeration. Tell your vet about all medications your dog is taking, including vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter medications, to avoid negative complications from a drug interaction. Ask about follow-up visits. Report any adverse reactions to your veterinarian immediately.

Medications Poisonous To Dogs

All medications should be kept out of the reach of your dog, but certain popular drugs are especially toxic for your dog. NSAIDs, such as Advil, Motrin and Aleve are common human pain relievers that cause liver failure and red blood cell damage in dogs. Human amphetamines for weight loss are especially harmful for dogs. Medicines called beta-blockers, and other high blood pressure drugs, are poisonous to dogs. Drugs to lower cholesterol such Crestor and Lipitor are not life threatening for your dog, but will cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach problems. Immediately report any unintentional ingestion of medication by your dog to his veterinarian or local 24-hour emergency veterinary practice.