Health & Wellness

Human Antibiotics & Supplements That Are Safe For Dogs

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By Carrie

Dog antibiotics and human antibiotics are, often, one in the same drug.

But not always.

So, in case you’re wondering if you can give your dog some of antibiotics that you happen to have leftover from an earlier illness, here’s what you need to know.

Dog antibiotics are often the same as human antibiotics -- but not always!

Plus, some tips for giving your dog human supplements like Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and Fish Oil.

Can Dogs Take Human Medications?

Dogs can take some of the same medications that we take as humans, including some antibiotics.

However, it’s worth noting that there are some human drugs that can make your dog sick, or even worse, that could possibly kill him.

So you always need to check each individual medication first.  You can find some of this information online, but for peace of mind you should ask your vet.

List Of Human Antibiotics That Are Safe For Dogs

When it comes to giving your dog antibiotics, just because you have some leftover antibiotics in your medicine cabinet doesn’t mean that you should be giving them to your dog.

First of all, antibiotics are a bit different than other medications in that you should always use up the entire package of antibiotics, rather than stop taking them once you feel better. So you really shouldn’t ever have any leftover antibiotics lying around anyway. But if you do happen to have some human antibiotics at home, and it’s well past the expiration date marked on the bottle, please read about the safety of taking expired medications before you use them — for yourself or your dog!

That said, the following antibiotics are safe for both humans and dogs:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Cephalexin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Clavamox
  • Otomax
  • Penicillin
  • Tetracycline

As a reminder, be sure to consult your veterinarian (even if it’s just over the phone) before you give your dog any antibiotics that were originally prescribed to you.  For starters, you will need to get the correct dosage — based on your dog’s weight and breed.  Chances are, the antibiotics that were prescribed to you will be too strong for your dog and would cause him harm if taken in the dose that your doctor originally prescribed for you.

A list of antibiotics, anti-fungals, and corticosteriods safe for dogs when used as a topical skin product.

Dog Antibiotics That Are NOT Safe For Humans

If your dog happens to be prescribed the antibiotics Baytril (used for treating bacterial infections like dog ear infections) or Primor (for treating UTI’s and soft tissue infections), you should know that those are both harmful to humans and should only be given to dogs.

Here’s a list of commonly prescribed dog antibiotics.

Human Supplements That Are Safe For Dogs

Two human supplements that are not safe for dogs are Iron and Zinc.

Make sure that you dog is not given a supplement which contains benzoate preservative.  This is found in certain human supplements and vitamins and can be gradually harmful if accumulated in the dog’s body. 

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However, let’s say you have osteoarthritis (or other cartilage issues) and you’re taking glucosamine to help with the pain.  You may be wondering if your dog can take the same glucosamine to help with his own joint pain.

The answer is yes.  Human glucosamine and chondroitin are safe for dogs.

They are commonly prescribed for dogs with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, and spinal disc injuries.  Often dogs who’ve had TPLO surgery for a torn ACL will be prescribed glucosamine to help with the knee, hip, or joint pain.

Pharmaceutical grade glucosamine and chondroitin are used for humans and are found in some veterinary products. It is perfectly safe to use human glucosamine in your pet, however, products made for animals contain ascorbic acid to help in the uptake, in canines. In addition, animal products are dosed in the correct size for animals and are often flavored to make them more palatable to pets. 

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For what it’s worth, Cosequin for dogs is one of the most popular options for dog joint pain these days.

More Tips For Dogs Taking Human Supplements:

My Own Experience With Dogs Taking Human Medications

There are many over-the-counter medicines that you can give your dog that you take yourself.

I myself have given my dog baby aspirin before.  My dog hurt her back over the winter.  The baby aspirin helped relieve the pain she was feeling.

Another good over-the-counter medicine to keep on hand for your dog is Benadryl.  One morning I awoke to find my dog’s face was swollen.  I’m not sure if she was bitten by a spider or what, but I gave her part of a Benadryl and it helped take the swelling down.