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Are OTC Human Drugs Safe for Pets?
Do you know whether or not it is it safe to give a pet, either dog or cat, over-the-counter medication made for humans? If so, which ones can be used?
Answer (Published 3/24/2014)
Several over-the-counter drugs can be used for pets, but I wouldn’t advise giving your cat or dog any of these medications before checking with your vet. Some drugs that are okay for dogs are not suitable for cats and vice versa. You’ll also have to calculate the appropriate dosage to use, an amount that usually depends on the animal’s weight.
While researching your question, I found a useful chart listing the over-the-counter drugs deemed safe for pets at the website of the Walker Valley Veterinary Hospital in Walker Valley, N.Y. In addition to differences between cats and dogs, some medications are unsafe for particular breeds. Here’s a summary of the information on the chart:
In addition to the drugs listed above, antibiotic ointments can be used to treat small wounds, bites or minor infection. Before use, thoroughly clean the wound with soap and water. You can use antibacterial soap to clean any wound or injury. It is safe to give dogs one to 10 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting but never do this except with your vet’s advice. If you think your pet may have eaten something poisonous, call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. You can use saline nasal spray and pediatric nasal sprays to relieve dryness and nasal congestion associated with colds in kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs. Don’t use any other over-the-counter nasal spray unless prescribed by your veterinarian.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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