10 OTC Human Meds Safe for Dogs and Cats

August 4th, 2023 at 10:28 am EDT

Don't give anything to your pets until you ask your vet?


That is what many 'pet professionals' and most veterinary websites tell you to do...

In veterinary practice I often suggested clients use an array of human medications for their pets, so in fact what you read online is not always true :-)

A former client is going travelling with his cats, and asked if there are ANY safe OTC meds he could use. When I travelled with my cats I always used Gravol, finding it to be safe and pretty effective keeping them slightly sedated.

When Pippi was itchy with a Hot Spot, I have her a dose of the new antihistamine Ceterizine, which worked well while the topical meds kicked in.

So yes the OTC meds can be very helpful (and gasp safe!)

Another thing I suggest that you regularly give your dog or cat is a Complete Supplement to PREVENT many of these common diseases in the 1st place.

Here are 2 great supplements to start with

Dr Jones' ULTIMATE Canine Health Formula

Dr Jones' ULTIMATE Feline Health Formula


10 Human Medications that are Safe and Effective for Dogs and Cats

  1. Gravol (dimenhydrinate). It can help for vomiting dogs and cats- I found it to help many a dog with car sickness. Great for travel in general. The dog and cat dose is 12.5mg/10lbs twice a day. That equates to 1/4 of a 50mg tablet.

  2. Clear Eyes ( topical eye medication). The active ingredient is napthazoline, and it has been shown to be safe, and often effective for animals with conjunctivitis (red eyes). Apply 2 drops 4 times/day for 5-7 days

  3. Pepcid (Famotidine). This antacid works especially well for nauseous cats, and dogs with acid reflux. We often used this for cats with Kidney Disease. The dose is 2.5mg/10lbs twice a day, or 1/4 of a 10mg tablet.

  4. Canesten/Monistat. These yeast medications for people can work very well for our animals that get Ear infections. Most dog ear infections are caused by yeast. If your dog has black waxy discharge from the ear, then it is likely a yeast ear infection. Get the cream, apply 1/4 inch into the ear twice day for 7-10 days. Cats often have patchy areas of hair loss from ringworm. This is a fungus and Canesten works well topically. Appy twice a day for 21 days.

  5. Cortisone Cream. The topical steroid creams for people can often help soothe inflamed/irritated skin. In most cases it means using a 1% corticosteroid, which can be applied twice a day for 14 days to the red, inflamed area. Can be used for dog Hot Spots.

  6. Reactine (Ceterazine), Antihistamine. This is a newer generation antihistamine which lasts much longer, and is often more effective than the older antihistamines ( ie Benadryl). It is safe to use on dogs and cats. It works well for allergies, and acute itching ( ie hives). The dog and cat dose is 5mg/10lbs given once a day, meaning 1/2 of a 10mg tablet once daily to a 10lb dog or cat.

  7. Chlorhexidine anti-septic flush. This is the anti-septic scrub that is used in surgery, doing a great job of removing bacteria from the skin. Bite wounds/infections are so common, and the most important thing to first do is flush the wound well with an antiseptic. Chlorexidine can often prevent this from turning into an abscess. Flush 2-4 times/day for 3-5 days. I use the brand Stanhexidine.

  8.  Aspirin. This OTC Human Medication is FOR DOGS ONLY. If your dog is in acute pain, and NOT on any other pain meds, or a steroid pill, then you can consider using ASA (Aspirin). The Dog Aspirin dose is 325mg (1 regular strength tab) per 40lbs twice daily. NONE of the anti-inflammatories can EVER be given to CATS.

  9. Tea and Aspirin. Make 1 cup of strong black tea. Dissolve in 1 regular strength aspirin. Apply this 4 times/day topically to your dog's Hot Spot/surface skin infection. (For dog's only). For cats stick with topical cortisone/chlorhexidine/canesten.

  10. Miralax. This is a newer treatment for constipation in people that has been shown to be more effective than many prescription laxatives. It has been working well for cats with chronic constipation/obstipation. Safe for both dogs and cats. A typical dose of the powder is 1/4 teaspoon/10lbs once-twice daily. I have has personal experience with it and can attest to its effectiveness :-(

Heal Your Pet At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew

P.S. In a time of when it can be difficult to even see a veterinarian, never mind pay for it, it is helpful to be able to provide some basic veterinary care to your dogs or cats, including using OTC meds.

I have used all of the above OTC meds often- I most recently treated Tula's eye infection with Clear Eyes, and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly she responded.

P.P.S. The prevention thing... Keeping your dog and cat healthy is always better, and a Complete Supplement can do just that. Here are 2 I suggest.

Dr Jones' ULTIMATE Canine Health Formula

Dr Jones' ULTIMATE Feline Health Formula

DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. Dr Andrew Jones resigned from the College of Veterinarians of B.C. effective December 1 2010, meaning he cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make specific medical recommendations for your pet.

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