Human Drugs That Are Harmful to Dogs

When your dog isn't feeling well, it's tempting to give him some of your own
medication. After all, it works for you; shouldn't it work just as well for him?

Not necessarily. It's important to remember that dogs aren't just small furry humans,
and some of our medications will harm him rather than heal him.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

This group of drugs includes ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol)
and they can be found in virtually every home in the country.

When we take them, they help to relieve pain and reduce a high temperature. They're useful to help treat minor symptoms that can get in the way of a busy lifestyle.

Dogs also get pain and fever, but they should never ever be given these drugs. They can cause stomach ulceration, excessive bleeding and liver disease. Dogs have even died after being given a human anti-inflammatory medication.

Benadryl

Antihistamines are drugs that reduce the itching and runny eyes that are associated with allergic reactions. Benadryl is often used in treating allergies in people and it has been used from time to time in dogs with varying degrees of success. Many dogs scratch just as much after a dose of antihistamine. One side effect of this family of drugs is that your dog will be drowsy and sedated. Higher doses in people can affect their ability to urinate. It's possible that your dog will react the same way.

Another issue with the use of Benadryl in dogs is the formulation that is used. Some liquids contain alcohol which isn't suitable for pets. You may find that a liquid also contains other drugs such as an anti-inflammatory medication. If you give this to your dog, he may suffer severe side effects from the anti-inflammatory drug.

Anti-Diarrhea and Vomiting Medication

It's not uncommon for dogs to get an upset tummy and suffer a bout of vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog is queasy, don't reach for the Imodium, or the Pepto-Bismol.

Some breeds including Collies and Australian Shepherds have a genetic sensitivity to some drugs and Imodium may make them depressed and lethargic.

Pepto Bismol contains bismuth and salicylate. Salicylate is similar to aspirin and in high doses, may have the same effects. Bismuth can make your dog's stools turn blackish. That in itself isn't a problem but it may mask serious upper gastrointestinal bleeding which can also cause black stools.

What should you do if your dog isn't well?

You can't really treat him effectively unless you know what's wrong. The first thing is to contact your veterinarian. They will help you recommend a diagnosis, and then they can prescribe a treatment that will help.

There are anti-inflammatory drugs and antihistamines that are safe and effective for dogs. There are also anti-diarrhea mixtures that will settle down an upset stomach. However, these are specifically designed for dogs and you won't have to deal with any nasty side effects of using your medications. Never give your four legged family member anything, either prescription or non-prescription, without checking with your vet first.