Can Dogs Take Human Medicine and Supplements?

Going to the vet is expensive, and while we want the best for our pets, we can’t always take them for a checkup. This may lead you to wonder if human medicines or supplements are safe for pets to ingest. The answer to that question is complicated, so read on to learn more. 

Always Contact Your Vet Before Administering Medication

Before you read this article, it’s important to note that you should never give your dog human or dog-friendly medication without receiving direction from a veterinarian first. It’s also wrong to assume that any medication is safe for dogs, even if it contains dog-safe ingredients.

For example, Honest Paws dog-friendly CBD oil is completely safe for dogs to ingest, but your dog may need a different amount depending on their size. It’s also ideal to start slow for any medication, as your dog may be allergic to the supplements and could have a bad reaction.

What Over-the-Counter Human Medication is Safe for Dogs? 

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While the following advice can help you stay away from dangerous medication, it shouldn’t be used as canine health advice. Speak to your local vet before giving your pup meds or vitamins. 

Can You Give Over-the-Counter Pain Medication to Dogs? 

Out of all the over-the-counter human medications given to dogs, pain meds are among the most common and the most dangerous. For this reason, you should never give your pet:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Causes liver damage and damages blood circulation.
  • NSAIDS (Advil): Causes stomach ulcers, kidney failure, and seizures.

It’s best to avoid this category if your pup is in pain. Instead, go to the vet and get a dog and FDA-approved NSAIDS, like carprofen, deracoxib, and meloxicam. You can also pick up dog-friendly gabapentin, CBD oil, and opioids from your vet to help with chronic pain.

Can You Give Over-the-Counter Allergy Medication to Dogs? 

Benadryl (as long as it doesn’t contain Tylenol), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and loratadine (Claritin) is generally well tolerated in dogs if they don’t have kidney or liver issues or are pregnant. However, they can cause hypersalivation, vomiting, and sedation in dogs if they take too much.

There is no safe human medicine that prevents vomiting or nausea, so if your dog's allergy symptoms are causing these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Can You Give Over-the-Counter Topical Medication to Dogs? 

Neosporin is safe to use on dogs, but you have to make sure they don’t lick it off. This could delay healing and increase the risk of infection. An antiseptic spray, like Vetricyn, can also work. However, if your dog is showing signs of infection, take them to the vet for an antibiotic. 

Can You Give Over-the-Counter Cough Medication to Dogs? 

Since many over-the-counter cough medications contain xylitol and acetaminophen, substances toxic to dogs, you should never give them human cough syrup or tablets. If your dog is coughing, that could mean they have an underlying issue that needs to be addressed ASAP. 

Cough is a common symptom of:

  • Kennel cough
  • Heartworm disease
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Chronic bronchitis

A cough could also be a symptom of multiple cancers and various heart diseases.

Can You Give Over-the-Counter Antacids Medication to Dogs? 

Only use antacids like omeprazole (Prilosec) and famotidine (Pepcid) under the direction of your veterinarian. If your dog is also constipated, you can also give them unflavored MiraLAX. With that said, proper dosage is important, or you could end up making the problem worse.

Can You Give Over-the-Counter Supplements to Dogs? 

Never give your dog human vitamins or even over-the-counter dog supplements before speaking to your vet. It’s very possible that these pills contain doses that are toxic to dogs. If you’re concerned about your dog's nutrition, speak to a vet or purchase high-quality dog food.

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Rocky Kanaka

Rocky Kanaka is an entrepreneur, pet rescue advocate and dog dad to a rescue boxer named Flip, a blind Cane Corso called Kobe, and a terrier mix named Zoey. He's also a pet chef and owner of The Dog Bakery, which specializes in dog birthday cakes and fresh baked dog treats. His three dogs can't get enough of the dog cakes and treats!

Lorna Ladd

Lorna Paxton Ladd is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast of The Dog Bakery. She loves spoiling her 3 rescue dogs with dog cakes and jerky. A 15 year veteran in the pet industry, her aim is to educate pet parents on the best recipes, products, tips and tricks to optimize the human/canine bond. Her favorite product at The Dog Bakery are the customizable dog birthday cakes.