Are human medicines safe for dogs? As a dog owner, you likely treat your pet as a family member. At the very least, you know you are wholly responsible for your dog’s well-being. At the same time, they provide companionship, protection, or any other motive you have for keeping them around. Just like humans, dogs can get sick, too. So, is it safe to use human medication on sick dogs? 

Many different types of over-the-counter medications are used to address human medical conditions as well as canine medical conditions. Typically, over-the-counter medications do not require a prescription, but you should always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any medication. Your vet will give you directions and appropriate dosages to ensure your dog stays safe. Medication dosage is an important consideration when administering a drug to an animal. You should never use the label of a human drug to figure out the dose for your pet. 

Dog-Friendly Medications 

Below is a list of some dog friendly over-the-counter medications. All these medications must be used with caution and again approval from your vet: 

  1. Allergy medications: Benadryl can be used to treat allergic reactions in dogs. Medications with antihistamines are safe – do not use medications with decongestants. Decongestants are not safe for dogs. 
  2. Dramamine: This is an antihistamine that can prevent motion sickness. There are dog-specific versions of Dramamine. 
  3. Cold and cough medicine: Most cough and cold medicines are not safe for your dog because they contain decongestants. 

Several guidelines must be considered before dogs receive any medications. Your dog can experience symptoms when taking new medications or the wrong dosage.  Be sure to consider their general health, previous medications, age, breed, and size. Contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline®—at (855) 764-7661—if you have any questions or concerns.