There are several medications you may have at home that can be given to your dog to temporarily treat symptoms.
NOTE: In almost every case, it is best to contact your veterinarian first to ensure that these products are compatible with your pet's particular health profile and that there are no risks in adding them along with regularly prescribed meds. Additionally, it is not always a good idea to mask symptoms with medications which could only delay necessary treatment should your pet have a potentially life threatening condition. If you are trying to treat a condition with OTC meds and your pet is not improving in 1-2 days, I would advise taking them in to your veterinarian for a full assessment.
Allergies in Dogs
These meds can be useful for itching, licking and scratching in addition to swelling from insect stings or other allergic reactions. DO NOT use formulations with a decongestant (usually pseudoephedrine) as that ingredient could be fatal! Oatmeal shampoos/creme rinses may also provide some relief short term for itching and can be used 1-2 times weekly. Cortisol creams may be applied twice daily to help with small areas of itchy skin. Antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic can be applied to small skin pustules and lesions twice daily to help resolve affected areas. If your pet has larger areas of infection, oral antibiotics may be required. Additionally, Omega 3 fatty acid supplements may be helpful long term to minimize itching improve dry skin.
Consider our Total Pet Health Skin and Coat Tabs which contain omega fatty acids in addition to other healthy skin supportive ingredients and our all natural Seasonal Allergy Support Formula which are both effective in minimizing allergy symptoms.
Some commonly used antihistamines are listed below:
|Benadryl 25 mg tabs (Diphenhydramine)||1/2-1 mg per 1 lb (dog's weight)||every 8-12 hours|
|Claritin 5 mg tabs (Loratidine)||
1/2 tab if < 15lbs
1 tab if 15-40 lbs
2 tabs if > 40lbs
|Tavist 1.34 mg (Clemastine) NO TAVIST D!||
1/2 tab if < 20 lbs
1 tab if 20-60 lbs
1 1/2 tabs if > 60 lbs
|Chlor-Trimeton (Chlorpheniramine)||2-4 mg per 10 lbs||twice daily|
5 mg tabs 1/2 tab if <15 lbs
1 tabs if 16-39 lbs
2 tabs if >40 lbs
Gastrointestinal Issues in DogsThere are a few OTC gastrointestinal meds you can try if your pet seems to have an upset stomach which are usually safe. However, if vomiting or diarrhea persists for longer than a day or if your pet seems lethargic, I recommend you take your dog into your local vet as the condition may be more serious. If your pet has not had a bowel movement in > 24 hours and you think it is constipated, you can add 2-3 tsps of canned pumpkin to his/her food every 8-12 hours as needed.
10 mg 1/4 tab if < 20 lbs
1/2 tab if 20-60 lbs
1 tab if >60 lbs
|Tagamet (Cimetidine)||3-5 mg per 1 lb (dog weight)||once daily|
|Zantac (Ranitidine)||0.25-1 mg per 1 lb (dog weight)||every 8-12 hours|
|Prilosec (Omeprazole)||0.25-0.5 mg per lb||once daily|
Behavioral/Anxiety Issues in Dogs
- DAP diffuser/collar
- Thunder Jacket
- Rescue Remedy (click the hyperlink to view)
- Theanine supplements (click the hyperlink to view)
1.5 mg for 0-30 lb dog
3 mg for 31-99 lbs
6 mg for dogs >100 lbs
|every 8 hours|
If you need anything more long term I would suggest a discussion with your vet. They can prescribe stronger anti-anxiety medications in addition to suggesting behavioral modifications that can be made to your pet's environment or training.
Car Sickness in Dogs
12.5 mg <25 lb dog,
25 mg for dogs 25-60 lbs,
50 mg for dogs #>60 lbs
|every 8 hours|
Give 1 hour prior to leaving if possible. Dramamine may cause some sedation. If not effective, most vets carry an antinausea medication called Cerenia which can be very effective.
Pain in DogsI generally do not recommend OTC NSAIDS or pain meds for your dog as they can be dangerous, causing severe stomach ulcerations, bleeding issues, liver and kidney failure. If your dog seems painful, it is best to wait and see your vet. They can decide what medication is best for your pet's specific situation. Also, if you give something before you see your vet, they are limited in what they can prescribe because some medications require a 3-5 day washout period before starting another. Some examples of safe and effective pet pain medications your vet may prescribe include Rimadyl, Previcox, Deramaxx, Tramadol, Amantadine, and Gabapentin. If you think your dog has symptoms of arthritis (slow to rise, stiff gait, slowing down) you can try giving a Glucosamine/ Chrondroitin/ MSM supplement which can be obtained from your vet, pet supply stores, or online. Oftentimes, the supplement can provide some pain relief. Be patient, it may take up to a month before you see any positive results. Some pet foods will also have glucosamine in them also but, usually, subtherapeutic amounts. So you will have to use a supplement in addition to the food. Check out our yummy Zuke's Glucosamine Chewies or Cat Salmon Hip and Joint Supplements!
As with all meds, OTC or not, your pet can have untoward side effects. It's best to consult with your vet before giving any of them. It is also prudent to watch your pet for several hours after medicating to ensure no side effects occur.
Any questions or thoughts? Leave a comment below!