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Some human drugs are dangerous and can even be fatal when given to dogs. When a dog develops a health problem at home such as vomiting, diarrhea, or coughing, many pet owners want to know what they can safely give their dogs at home before taking their dog to the veterinarian.
Not only is important to know which medications are safe but also which medications are available to you without a prescription. Drugs you may obtain without a prescription are referred to as “OTC” drugs which means over-the-counter. OTC drugs are available at most pharmacies such as Wal-Mart®, Walgreens®, CVS®, Target®, and/or online pharmacies and drug stores.
Below are 15 more over-the-counter medications (OTC) that are commonly used in humans and can be used safely in most dogs. For the first 15 over-the-counter medications (OTC) that are commonly used in humans and can be used safely in most dogs, please visit this article: 15 Human Over-the-Counter Drugs Safe for Dogs.
Allergy Medications (con’t)
16. Cetirizine (Zyrtec®)
Cetirizine, commonly known by the brand name Zyrtec®, belongs to a class or drugs known as antihistamines, similar to Benadryl. It is commonly used in dogs with allergic symptoms such as inflamed and/or itchy skin. In cats, Cetirizine is more commonly used to treat inflammation of the nose and sinus. Many pet owners prefer Cetirizine over Benadryl because of its longer lasting effects.
A common dose used for dogs is 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound of body weight. Therefore a ten-pound dog would get 2.5 to 5 mg total dose and a 50-pound dog would get 12.5 mg to 25 mg total dose. Common OTC pill sizes are 10 mg.
For more information on how to safely give Cetirizine in dogs.
17. Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-tabs® or Chlor-Trimeton®)
Chlorpheniramine maleate is a type of anti-histamine drug commonly used in dogs with allergies to control itching. Human formulations include Chlor-tabs®, Aller-Chlor®, Chlo-Amine®, Chlor-Trimeton®, and various generic preparations. A common side effect is sedation and therefore is occasionally used as a mild sedative.
Chlorpheniramine is contraindicated in dogs with glaucoma, lung disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and prostate gland enlargement.
Chlorpheniramine is available in 2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg, 12 mg and 16 mg tablets and as a 2-mg/5 ml oral syrup. Most dogs take 4 to 12 mg (total dose) orally. Learn more about how to safely dose Chlorpheniramine in dogs.
18. Fexofenadine (Allegra®)
Fexofenadine, commonly known as Allegra or Telfast, is an antihistamine drug that can be used to control itching and other signs related to allergic conditions. It is important only to use products that indicate the active ingredient is Fexofenadine. Formulas containing Fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine, such as Allegra-D can be toxic to dogs so please be VERY careful. Make sure if you give Fexofenadine to your dog, that Fexofenadine is the ONLY ingredient. Learn more about how to safely give Fexofenadine to your dog.
19. Loratadine (Claritin®)
Loratadine, commonly known as Claritin or Alavert, is a type of antihistamine drug commonly used in dogs to control itchy skin. Loratadine is typically considered less sedating than other antihistamines. Learn more about how to safely dose Loratadine.
20. Traumeel (T-Relief®)
T-Relief is an over-the-counter homeopathic medication commonly used to pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and musculoskeletal injuries, such as with arthritis, sprains and traumatic injuries.
T-Relief contains a combination of plant and mineral extracts. It has gained popularity in veterinary medicine as an alternative to the class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly abbreviated as NSAIDs) because of its good results with minimal to no side effects.
T-Relief is available in the forms of tablets, drops, injection solution, ointment, and gel. Learn more about how to safely dose Learn more about how to correctly dose Traumeel (T-Relief) in your dog.
T-relief is commonly used with other pain relieving drugs. When combined with other drugs, it can sometimes allow you to use lower doses of medications associated with more side effects.
Zeel® is a homeopathic medication used to treat pain and inflammation often associated with musculoskeletal injuries, such as sprains and traumatic injuries, and as supportive therapy in pain and inflammation of the musculoskeletal system such as with arthritis in dogs and cats. Like T-Relief, Zeel® has gained popularity in the United States an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NASID) to treat pain and swelling.
Zeel® is available in the forms of tablets, ointment, and drinkable ampules. Zeel® can be used in conjunction with other pain medications and is sometimes used in conjunction with another homeopathic medication called Traumeel (T-Relief). It can be used safely with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), steroids, and other pain relief drugs.
The dosage for Zeel® tablets in dogs is one tablet every 8 hours for 2 weeks then decrease to every 12 hours for maintenance. Learn more about how to safely dose Zeel in dogs.
22. Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin)
Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), or more commonly known as aspirin, belongs to the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs commonly abbreviated as NSAIDs. It is commonly used in dogs to treat minor pain and inflammation for chronic conditions like arthritis. It can also reduce fevers and can reduce a chemical that is important in the effectiveness of platelets. This results in platelets losing their ability to clump together to prevent bleeding.
Aspirin can upset the stomach and intestines due to its irritating chemical nature and because it blocks the beneficial body chemicals that protect the linings of those organs. Therefore, stomach irritation cannot always be prevented by giving the drug with food or by using a “buffered” or coated aspirin tablet.
Aspirin may interact with other medications and should never be used with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Rimadyl, Novox, Meloxicam, Deramaxx and many more) and steroids (such as Prednisone).
To be safest, never administer aspirin to your dog without consulting your veterinarian because there are many drug interactions and side effects.
In healthy dogs that are taking no other medications, a typical dose is 5 to 10 mg per pound (10 to 20 mg/kg) twice daily for dogs. Read more about the safety of and dosing Aspirin in dogs. Please see and talk to your veterinarian before giving more than a dose or two. There are better alternatives available as a prescription product.
23. Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®)
Ibuprofen, commonly known by the brand names of Motrin® or Advil® and may more can be used in dogs to reduce swelling and inflammation, most commonly from arthritis and musculoskeletal pain. Ibuprofen belongs to a general class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). While NSAID’s are effective in reducing pain, inflammation, and fever, they carry the risk of causing stomach ulcers, liver injury, and kidney damage in animals. Ibuprofen needs to be given with special care.
Ibuprofen is commonly used on a short-term basis in dogs and can NEVER be given to cats. Ibuprofen should ONLY be used under the guidance of a veterinarian. It should NEVER be given with other NSAID drugs such as aspirin, Novox, Meloxicam, Rimadyl, Deramaxx and many more or steroids such as prednisone or dexamethasone. Used improperly, ibuprofen can be highly toxic. Learn more about how to safely dose Learn more about how to safely give Ibuprofen to dogs.
24. Naproxen (Aleve®)
Naproxen, commonly known as Aleve or Naprosyn, is used to alleviate pain and inflammation in dogs. Naproxen belongs to a general class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) that work to reduce pain, inflammation, and fever. There is no safe dose for cats! If given to dogs, the dose ranges from 0.5 to 1.5 mg per pound once daily. Most veterinarians prefer and recommend other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) over Naproxen that has proven to be safe and effective for dogs. If you believe your dog needs a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, please talk to your veterinarian for recommendations. Learn more about how to safely dose Naproxen.
Medications for Cough
25. Dextromethoraphan (Robitussin DM®)
Dextromethorphan, commonly known by the brand name Robitussin-DM®, can be used in dogs to suppress and alleviate coughing. It is considered a mild cough suppressant. It can be prescribed in dogs with conditions such as tracheobronchitis (kennel cough), chronic bronchitis, tracheal (windpipe) collapse and bronchial compression.
In dogs, the dose given is 0.5 to 1 mg per pound (1 to 2 mg/kg) every 6 to 8 hours. Does as high as 5 mg per pounds may be used twice daily in some situations. Many veterinarians recommend doses of anywhere from 1 ml to 2 ml per 10 pounds of body weight.
Please note that some veterinarians do not recommend cough suppressant with some conditions. A cough is Mother Nature’s way of clearing something from the airway which can be an important mechanism. By suppressing the cough, you may be allowing secretions to fall deeper into the respiratory tract. Please see your veterinarian if your dog is coughing to help you determine the underlying cause of the cough and help you establish if Robitussin DM® is safe for your dog.
26. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed®)
Pseudoephedrine HCL, commonly known by the brand names Sudafed® or Equiphed®, is a drug that can be used to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and nasal congestion. It can also increase urethral tone in dogs with abnormalities.
As a therapeutic drug for respiratory disease, it is uncommonly recommend because of the risk for toxicity in some dogs. There are other drugs with similar effects and with less side effects. Dogs receiving pseudoephedrine should be carefully monitoring for signs of toxicity.
Pseudoephedrine is available in 30 mg and 60 mg tablets and 120 mg capsules. Please Read more about the toxic effects and safety of using Sudafed® in dogs.
Medication for Car Sickness
27. Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine®)
Dimenhydrinate, more commonly known as Dramamine®, is used to treat nausea and motion sickness. Dimenhydrinate is an antihistamine that inhibits stimulation of the vestibular system of the brain. The vestibular system is located within the inner ear and is responsible for detecting motion. Excessive or overstimulation of the vestibular system can result in dizziness, nausea, and stumbling.
Dimenhydrinate can be used to treat dogs affected by motion sickness e.g. get carsick. Read our drug library on for more information about how to safely dose Dramamine in Dogs.
28. Meclizine (Bonine®, Antivert®)
Many dogs develop carsickness and drool excessively or vomit during an automobile, boat or airplane ride.
Meclizine, commonly known by the brand names of Bonine® or Antivert®, is an antihistamine commonly used in dogs and cats to treat allergies and can reduce the sensation of motion sickness. Get information about the best way to dose Meclizine in dogs.
Medication for Bleeding
29. Yunnan Baiyao
Yunnan Baiyao is a protected traditional medicine originating in China. It is a hemostatic powdered medication famous for its use in the Vietnam War to stop bleeding by the Vietcong. The formula for Yunnan Baiyao is a closely guarded secret.
Yunnan Baiyao is used orally to stop internal bleeding and has been effective topically in wounds to stop bleeding and optimize healing. This drug is truly fascinating. Learn more about how it is used in dogs and cats.
Eye Products and Medications
30. Eye Lube
The first rule for pets with eye problems – NEVER ever put anything in your dogs’ eye that you would not put in your own eye. Better yet – never put anything in your dog’s eye that is not prescribed by your veterinarian.
If your dog is having an eye problem, we recommend that you see your veterinarian. Some eye problems are an emergency. There are some eye medications contraindicated in certain situations. For example, if your dog’s eye is red and inflamed as caused by a corneal ulcer, medications that contain steroids can be harmful.
What is safe to use in your dog’s eye? Over-the-counter artificial tears are safe. Products include Tears Naturale II, Isopto Tears, Refresh Celluvisc, and Refresh Liquidgel. Avoid products that contain alcohol and preservatives in the ingredient list.
For tips on how to place eye lubrication in your dog’s eye – go to “How to Medicate Dog Eyes”.
It is possible for your dog to do a lot of damage if he or she rubs or scratches at the eye. If this occurs, please see your vet as soon as possible.
We hope this article gives you more information about over-the-counter human medications and products that can be used in dogs and cats. If your pet is having a medical problem, we recommend that use all products be used under the guidance of your veterinarian. For the first 15 over-the-counter medications (OTC) that are commonly used in humans and can be used safely in most dogs, please visit this article: 15 Human Over-the-Counter Drugs Safe for Dogs.