You may help to ease your pet's symptoms with the use of some
over-the-counter medicines.  However, it's never a good idea to
just assume a human medication will be a safe and effective
treatment for your pet.  Contact your veterinarian before
starting any medical therapy, to discuss your options.  Always
let the veterinarian know your pet's symptoms and what you
have been treating it with.  As with all illnesses, persistent
symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor's office.


Acetaminophen(Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)
are toxic to both cats and dogs, even in small doses.  
Many medications can be highly toxic to cats, including
Pepto Bismol, Kaopectate and aspirin.

Here is a list of over-the-counter medications that can be safely
used for your pet.  Please read everything before
administering an OTC medication to your pet.  If it is not on this
list -- do not give it!  

IMODIUM (loperamide):
Can be given to some dogs and cats for diarrhea.  WARNING:
Certain dog breeds related to Collies may have adverse
reactions to Imodium (loperamide).  Do not give this medicine to
Collies, Shelties, Australian Shephards and Long-haired
Whippits.   (Thanks to Ken Brookner for this correction.)

For those animals for which this medicine is appropriate give 1
teaspoon for every 20 pounds.  This dosage can be repeated
every 4-6 hours until symptoms begin to resolve, not to exceed
24 hours.

Can be administered to dogs (never cats!) with upset stomach or
vomiting.  Give one teaspoon per 20 pounds of weight every 4-6
hours for 24 hours, or until symptoms begin to resolve.

Benadryl is an antihistamine that helps relieve swellings and
itching from allergic reactions and is used long-term to treat
allergies.  The dose is one milligram for every pound given
twice daily.  (Although safe to use, Benadryl is not very
effective in cats, and other antihistamines are more commonly

Benadryl Dosage
Twice daily

(1 mg per pound)

12 lbs 12 milligrams
(pediatric dose)    NOT
25 lbs 25 milligrams
(1 adult capsule)  
50 lbs 50 milligrams
(2 adult capsules)  

Can be given short term to dogs (never cats!) to help relieve
inflammation and pain.  Buffered Aspirin (Bufferin) is easier on
the stomach but regular (non-coated) aspirin can also be used.  
Aspirin may be given once or twice a day.  Always give aspirin
with food.

Aspirin has potent blood thinning properties, and continued
usage may be dangerous in some animals. For long term pain
relief there are safer veterinary-specific alternatives.

Aspirin Dosage
Once or twice a day, with food


less than 10 lbs   NEVER!    
10-30 lbs 1 baby aspirin  
30-50 lbs ½ regular aspirin  
50-100 lbs 1 regular aspirin  
over 100 lbs 2 regular aspirin  

DRAMAMINE (Dimenhydrinate):
Dramamine is an antihistamine that works well at preventing
motion sickness in both cats and dogs.  This drug works best if
given at least ½ hour prior to travel.   

Dramamine Dosage
½ hour prior to travel


small 12.5 milligrams  12.5 milligrams  
medium 25 milligrams  
large 50 milligrams  

TAGAMET (Cimetidine) /PEPCID-AC (Famotidine)
/ZANTAC (Ranitidine):
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 lbs ¼ tablet  ¼ tablet  
20-60 lbs ½ tablet  
over 60 lbs 1 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.

GAS-X (Simethicone):
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.

GAS-X Dosage


small ¼ adult dose  ¼ adult dose  
medium ½ adult dose  
large 1 adult dose  

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

Glucosamine Dosage
total per day


under 25 lbs 500 milligrams  500 milligrams  
25-50 lbs 1000 milligrams  
over 50 lbs 1500 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.  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