Acceptable Household Medications For Pets

dog medicationsI received an e-mail yesterday from “Joyce” who said I had printed the wrong dosage for Imodium and dogs in this article about doggie diarrhea.

Panicked, I rushed to double-check right away, and found that I had NOT listed the wrong dosage… Whew!

Her confusion lies in the fact that I mentioned the dosage for liquid medications in milliliters (ml), whereas others (including a site I actually linked to in that article) sometimes mention the dosage for solid medications (i.e. pills) in milligrams (mg).

 

Doses For Liquid vs Solid Medications

For some reason, my dogs have always been more receptive to liquid forms of medicine, rather than pills. No matter what I try to “hide” the pill in, they find it and spit it right out. Whereas with liquid meds, I just mix it in cottage cheese (which they rarely get, so they think it’s a special treat …or sometimes I even mix it in their own dog food gravy), and they never even know it’s there!

Which brings to light the fact that it’s imperative that you closely double-check dosing information before dispensing any human medications to your pets.

While there rarely is a difference in the effectiveness of liquid vs solid medications, there is a huge difference in dosages if you happened to mistake mg’s (milligrams) for ml’s (milliliters).

 

List Of Acceptable Human Medications For Pets

The following chart of acceptable household medications for pets came directly from my veterinarian.

This list has been a lifesaver for me. It has saved me lots of unnecessary trips to the vet, when I could simply provide some pet-friendly doses of over-the-counter medications that we already had on hand.

The human medicine we use most frequently with our dog is Benadryl.

UPDATE: Please see this footnote regarding the dosages listed in the charts below.

 

This is the form I got from my vet in the Summer of 2004…

household-medications-for-pets.jpg

 

The form I got from my vet in December of 2007…

household-medications-for-pets2.jpg

 

The most notable changes from 2004 to 2007 are: the clarification of dosages for liquid vs caplet forms, the addition of canned pumpkin to relieve constipation, the clarification that Ibuprofin is not an acceptable medication for dogs or cats, and the addition of Robitussin DM to relieve a hacking cough. Also, according to a comment left below, the brand name Kao Pectate no longer contains kaolin and pectin. It now contains bismuth salicylates and absolutely is not safe for cats.

To the products listed on the above lists, I would add: Neosporin, Artificial Tears, Hydrocortizone creams, gels and sprays — as discussed here.

Here’s another chart showing household emergency medications for pets. Plus human antibiotics that are safe for dogs.

And here are the top 10 human medications that are NOT safe for pets. (More here.)

 

Better Safe Than Sorry

One important thing to note here is… you should call your vet before dispensing any of these meds for the first time.

Why?

Three reasons:

1. So your dog’s health chart always stays up-to-date with all major and minor ailments through the years.

2. To make sure that the meds are still A-okay according to the latest findings (and dosages) regarding animal health and human medications, and that they won’t interfere with other meds that your dog may already be on.

3. For the peace of mind. Almost always, the veterinarian will assure you that your dog will be just fine, and they’ll also give you signs of what to watch for if the problem persists. (Usually, anything lasting more than 48 hours requires a trip to the vet for a physical exam, or at least a phone call to the veterinarian.)

Here’s a great online conversion tool for measuring things by volume or by weight.


Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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  • Megan

    Thank you for providing this information. I’ve given my dog imodium before, but I always forget the correct dosage. I usually call my sister who works in a vet clinic, but this time I was unable to reach her so your chart was great. Thanks again!

  • Megan

    Hi Sherrie,

    My boxer randomly gets diarrhea, and the vet always says he is fine. I’m wondering if he has a wheat allergy as well. What wheat-free dog food do you give your dog? Thanks is advance!

    Megan

  • linda smith

    can you use the same Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM with dogs that you use for people?

  • Tammy Cox

    The dosage for regular strength Pepto Bismol chewable tablets or caplets should be 1/4 tablet or caplet per 20 pounds instead of 1 caplet or tablet per 20 pounds.

  • JJ

    I believe 1 ml per pound of Imodium is still wrong. It is not equivalent to the 1mg/20lb tablet dose listed. The strength of liquid Imodium is 1mg/7.5 mL. According to your chart, a 20 lb dog would receive a 20 ml dose, or 2.67 mg of Imodium. 1 mg/20lb sounds a lot more accurate — in that case a dog should receive 0.375 mL/pound of liquid Imodium.

  • Jntwoodh

    Thank you Lynette! Have a dog with diarrhea right now and vet pills not working. Will try the Imodium. I am going to give this chart to all my dog friends.
    Juanita

  • Madudney

    Do NOT use Immodium with Australian Shepherds – it can cause neurological problems in certain dogs.

    • BlueHeelersRock

      You are absolutely right. Not only Australian Shepherds but many types of “herding” dogs. Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Old English Sheepdogs, etc. Loperamide (Immodium) can be deadly.

      Here’s more info: http://www.k911.biz/Petsafety/Ivermectin.htm

  • Janne

    I have used Bach Flower Rescue Remedy for anxiety in my dogs for years. It is a harmless preparation that is extremely good, and is even great in animals experiencing deep grief after the loss of a loved one, animal or human. I buy the ingredients now and make my own, it is so cheap to do so, but if you buy it, it does have a shelf life of about 3 months.

  • Linda Bass

    “IMMODIUM IS NOT SAFE FOR COLLIES AND CAN BE FATAL IF GIVEN! Collies can use Pepto but NEVER IMMODIUM. It is part of a genetic mutation that many collies have (if you have had your collie tested for this mutation and they are negative, IMMODIUM could be used). If you have not had your Collie tested, it is a VERY prevalent problem and is VERY likely to be unsafe. This is also the case for other herding dogs, such as Shelties, AUstralian shepherds, etc.” Please share this warning when you pass this along.

  • Ron Evans

    I was given a prescription of ciprofloxacin (antibiotic) in pill form. Is it suitable to mash the pill up, mix with a little water and give it to her via eye dropper. She will not take pills and cannot be tricked into taking them.

    • http://thefuntimesguide.com/ FunTimesGuide

      You mean the prescription was given to your dog (from a vet), right? My reply is based on your vet saying that antibiotic is fine for your dog to take. If so, then I would make mixing it with water the very last resort because I think it really needs to dissolve in your dog’s stomach rather than becoming diluted ahead of time. Are you sure you can’t fit most of your hand inside your dog’s mouth to ensure that you get the pill in your dog’s throat and be done with it?

      • Ron Evans

        Thanks for your quick response. Yes the prescription was from the vet. I will try to get it down her throat in one piece. If that doesn’t work I will contact Vet again and try to get something else.