9 OTC Medications for You and Your Dog
While we commonly think of our loved ones when we are preparing for emergencies, we sometimes forget about or four-legged, waggy-tail family members. Dogs are always there for us when we need it most. So, as you assemble your first aid kit, don’t forget about your pets. Here are some OTC medications for dogs and you.
OTC (over-the-counter medications) are medications commonly available to humans without a prescription. Some of these common medications can be used to treat pain or illness for your canine as well, just with a different dosage. While some dosages or limitations vary from breed to breed, the nine medications listed below can treat many ailments for most breeds.
Everyone has diarrhea at some point, including your pet. Talk about a real pain in the a**. Imodium (loperamide) is an anti-diarrheal medication is used to improve the symptoms for you and canine companion. However, not all breeds can take it. WalkerValleyVet.com reports that Collies, Shelties, Australian Shepherds and Long-haired Whippets have shown adverse side-effects and should not be given the medication (get more detailed information on why these breeds should be avoided here).
Serves as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Buffered aspirin is easier on the stomach but unbuffered aspirin can be used. Aspirin should only be used on a short-term basis for dogs. We use a generic brand of the Bayer Chewable Low-Dose Aspirin in our home. We have found it is much easier to get our dog to take than a pill that must be swallowed.
Just as with humans, Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine that can be used relive the itching and swelling associated with minor allergic reactions.
Does your dog get sick while in the car or while on the water? This may be an issue if traveling, evacuating from a disaster, or fishing on the lake. Use Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) to prevent motion sickness. Use at least a half hour or more prior to travel for best results.
Antibiotic ointments are great for minor cuts, scrapes or bites. Clean the wound first, then apply the ointment to the area. Keep it basic. Since pets like to lick wounds, stick with the versions without the fancy additives such as hydrocortisone or tetracaine. You can usually find single use packs of the ointments that are perfect for a first aid kit and free of the additives mentioned above.
Dermabond, VetBond, or Liquid Skin tissue adhesive is great for sealing up minor cuts or scrapes to keep healing wounds from coming in contact with a dirty environment or where an adhesive bandage may not be able to be applied (knuckles, knees, elbows, between fingers, feet, etc). Thoroughly clean the wound first, then apply the adhesive to the area to seal it up. Remember, it is essentially medical super glue for skin, so whatever tissue it touches will stick (i.e. keep your fingers clear). Do not use Neosporin or other antibiotic ointment over the glue.
These glues are different than your standard Krazy Glue down to the chemical level. Stick with the medical glues for first aid purposes, it is what they were designed for. While we won’t get into the details in this article, you can find out more detail in this post at LacerationRepair.com, and in this publication in the Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Journal.
Little Noses Nasal Spray
These pediatric nasal sprays can be used to moisten your nasal passages in dry weather to prevent nosebleeds, to flush allergens from your nasal passages, or loosen drainage. It can also be used on puppies or dogs to alleviate dryness or nasal congestion associated with a cold or allergies. Why the pediatric version? Many adult saline nasal sprays contain additional additives which can agitate nasal passages. Pediatric sprays such as Little Remedies® Sterile Saline Nasal Mist, contain only saline. Remember to check the ingredients before you buy.
Can be used to topically to provide some relief from itchy irritated skin. They can also be used to soothe hot spots from insect bites or stings. Apply a small amount and rub into the area. These are not intended for long term use.
If you have a little larger first aid kit, make some room for Mushers Secret. It is designed to protect paws and works phenomenally well. It is made of 100% natural waxes, non-toxic and can be used to help avoid paw damage caused from snow, sand, or abrasions from pavement. It also helps smooth and soften the elbow calluses of canines that commonly deal with hard floors.
We used this commonly for our dog to avoid paw sores from when running on pavement. Ten minutes of running with no treatment and we would inevitably have sores. With Mushers Secret, the paws stay protected and sore-free. We had similar results in thick brush and on rocky surfaces.
As far as us humans are concerned, it can be used to prevent wind burn on your hands and cheeks. Apply to bites or blisters that are rubbing against clothing to provide a protective layer and some relief.
Free OTC Medication Dosage Chart
The right dosage is important when providing any medication. Yet they can be difficult to remember as we don’t administer medications every day to our pets. We have assembled a free Canine OTC Medication Dosage Chart for all the medications discussed in this article.
Download and print a copy to include in your first aid kit, or hang in in your medicine cabinet where you keep your pet’s medications. Sign up for our newsletter here to get a free copy sent directly to your email.
While we have extensively researched the dosages in this article and reference guide, and ran it through our local vet, the information provided in this article is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
As with all medications, we recommend you contact your veterinarian to discuss symptoms before starting any medical therapy and to discuss exact dosages for your pet.
Great article. I wish more people would remember their pets when considering emergency preparedness. So important to have a printed copy of the dosages too. You will not always have easy access to the internet. And it seems like emergencies with our critters ALWAYS happen when the vet is closed. It’s also important to note that this great article recommends OTC meds to keep on hand for dogs, but not all of them are safe for cats. If your cats are family, too, you need to be informed about what is safe for them as well.