Over-The-Counter Medications

Used correctly, OTC's may help to ease your pet's symptoms. OTC (over-the-counter) means you don't need a prescription but it doesn't automatically mean it's safe for your pet. Some human OTC medications are toxic to pets.  Call us before starting any medical therapy, to discuss your options.  If you've tried an OTC prior to veterinary treatment be sure to let us know, as this will help to make an accurate diagnosis.  As with all illnesses, persistent symptoms warrant a trip to the veterinarian.


Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
Naproxen (Aleve)
Antidepressants (Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)|
ADD/ADHD meds  (Aderall, Ritalin, Concerta)
Sleep Aids (Ambien, Lunesta, Xanax, Klonopin)

OK to Give (under veterinary supervision)

Loperamide (IMODIUM)    Diarrhea

Can be given to some dogs and cats for diarrhea.  

WARNING: Certain dog breeds related to Collies may have adverse reactions to Imodium.  Do not give this medicine to Collies, Shelties, Australian Shephards and Long-haired Whippits. See this site for more detailed information.  (Thanks to Ken Brookner for this information.)

For those animals for which this medicine is appropriate give 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds.  This dosage can be repeated every 6-8 hours until symptoms begin to resolve, but not to exceed 24 hours. 

PEPTO-BISMOL:  upset stomach

Can be administered to dogs (never cats!) with upset stomach or vomiting.  Give one teaspoon per 20 pounds of weight every 6-8 hours for up to 24 hours.  It is best to fast your dog during this treatment (but always allow access to fresh water.) 

Diphenydramine (BENADRYL)  allergic reactions

Benadryl is an antihistamine that helps relieve swellings and itching from allergic reactions.  Benadryl is very safe and effective for bee stings and other sudden allergic reactions.  (There are much more effective medications for chronic skin allergies in dogs.)  The dose is up to one milligram for every pound of body weight.  (Although safe to use, Benadryl is not very effective in cats, and other antihistamines are more commonly prescribed.)  Ask us about Apoquel.

Benadryl Dosage
Twice daily
(1 mg per pound)
 12-25 lbs12.5 milligrams
(pediatric dose)
 25-50 lbs25 milligrams
(1 adult capsule)
 > 50 lbs50 milligrams
(2 adult capsules)

ASPIRIN  pain/inflammation

Although buffered aspirin can be given short term to dogs to help relieve inflammation and pain, there are much safer NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatories) available.  If you choose to give your dog aspirin for a dose or two, make sure you use BUFFERED aspirin and always give with a full meal.

Cats - DO NOT GIVE.  Very rarely (only after having a heart ultrasound/echocardiogram) a veterinary cardiologist may prescribe an extremely low dose aspirin regimen for cats with a high risk of cardiac embolism.  Never give aspirin to a cat that is not under the care of a veterinary cardiologist.

Aspirin Dosage
Once or twice a day, with food
less than 10 lbsdo not give  NEVER!
10-30 lbs1 baby aspirin
30-50 lbs½ regular aspirin
50 or over1 regular aspirin


Dimenhydrinate (DRAMAMINE)  motion sickness

Dramamine is an antihistamine that prevents motion sickness.  Although safe, we have more effective medications available.  Ask us about Cerenia.

Dramamine Dosage
½ hour prior to travel
small12.5 milligrams12.5 milligrams
medium25 milligrams
large50 milligrams


Cimetidine (TAGAMET) Famotidine (PEPCID) Ranitidine (ZANTAC)    upset tummy/acid reflux

Reduces the amount of stomach acids and can be dispensed to dogs and cats suffering from ulcers, acid reflux or belly ache. Sometimes they are used to prevent ulcers in animals taking other medications. These medications are given once to twice daily. It's best to discuss the exact dosage with your veterinarian.

Tagamet/Pepcid-AC/Zantac Dosage
one or twice daily
less than 20 lbs¼ tablet¼ tablet
20-60 lbs½ tablet
over 60 lbs1 whole tablet


Can help to relieve itchy, raw or irritated skin. It can be used topically to reduce itching from hives, hot spots, and insect bites and stings. Apply a small amount up to two times daily.

Simethicome (GAS-X) 

Simethicone is used in dogs to help with unusual flatulence or gas discomfort. Any dog suspected of Bloat should get 2 doses immediately before transport to the Emergency Clinic.  


Glucosamine (and glucosamine in combination with chondroitin sulfate) is used to treat joint pain associated with arthritis. This is a long term treatment and its effects may not be immediately noticeable.

Glucosamine Dosage
total per day
under 25 lbs500 milligrams500 milligrams
25-50 lbs1000 milligrams
over 50 lbs1500 milligrams



Are helpful in the treatment of small wounds, bites or minor infections.  Always thoroughly clean the wound with soap and water first.


Can be use to clean any wound or injury. 


1 - 10 teaspoons given orally can be used to induce vomiting in dogs.  (See toxicities.)  Never induce vomiting unless being directed to by a veterinarian.  If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.  Hydrogen peroxide is not as effective to clean wounds as antibacterial soap and water.



Saline nasal spray and pediatric nasal sprays (Little Noses) can be given in kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs to alleviate dryness and nasal congestion associated with a cold.  No other type of OTC nasal medication should be used unless prescribed by your veterinarian.

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