Human medicines that can be used for your pets

Human Medicines that Work for Pets

By isak, June 4, 2009

Several human medicines are effective for cats and dogs. The dosages are, of course, lower because the pets are smaller. It’s always a good idea to call your vet before giving your pet any type of human medicine to be sure it is safe and will work for your pet’s condition. Be sure you tell your vet of any other medications your pet is taking at the time in case there could be interactions.

  • A&D Ointment — Antibacterial ointment for scrapes and wounds.
    Dogs & Cats: Apply thin coating 3-4 times a day for 7-10 days.
  • Anbesol — Topical anesthetic for mouth pain.
    Dogs: Dab on liquid with cotton swab once or twice a day for up to 2 days.
    Cats: Do not use more than one time.
  • Anti-bacterial soap
    Can be used to clean any wound or injury.
  • Aspirin — Pain & inflammation relief
    Dogs: Can be given short term to dog. Buffered Aspirin (Bufferin) is easier on the stomach but regular (non-coated) aspirin can also be used.  Aspirin may be given once or twice a day with food. Less than 10 lbs: 1/2 baby aspirin; 10-30 lbs: 1 baby aspirin; 30-50 lbs: 1/2 regular aspirin; 50-100 lbs: 1 regular aspirin; over 100 lbs: 2 regular aspirin.
    Cats: NEVER!
  • Aveeno Oatmeal Medicated Bath — For soothing itchy skin.
    Dogs & Cats: Use as bath rinse as often as 3 times a week.
  • Benadryl — Antihistamine.
    Dogs: 1 mg per lb twice a day.
    Cats: Safe to use, but not very effective in cats, and other antihistamines are more commonly prescribed.
  • Betadine Skin Cleanser — Antiseptic liquid soap for cleansing on or around wounds.
    Dogs & Cats: Use full strength to wash affected area.
  • Betadine Solution — Antiseptic solution for flushing or soaking injured area.
    Dogs & Cats: Dilute with distilled water to the color of weak tea, then apply.
  • Bufferin — Pain reliever.
    Dogs: 10-25 mg per 2.2 lb two or three times a day.
    Cats: DO NOT USE.
  • Burow’s Solution — Topical antiseptic.
    Dogs & Cats: Moisten cotton ball and apply to wound.
  • Caladryl — Soothing topical lotion for pain and itching.
    Dogs & Cats: Caladryl (calamine) lotion is not recommended as it can actually be toxic to dogs. The most toxic component is zinc oxide. Zinc can cause stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. However, this usually is only a problem if the lotion was eaten. Repeated ingestion of zinc oxide can cause serious problems
  • Cortaid — Anti-itch cream.
    Dogs & Cats: Apply once or twice daily as needed.
  • Desitin — Soothing ointment.
    Dogs & Cats: Rub on affected area.
  • Dramamine — For car sickness, nausea.
    Dogs: 2-4mg per lb 3 times a day.
    Cats: 1/4 of 50-mg Tablet (12.5 mg) once a day.
  • Dulcolax — For constipation.
    Dogs: 5- to 20-mg tablet once a day or 1/2 to 2 pediatric suppositories (10 mg) once a day.
    Cats: 5-mg tablet once a day or 1/2 pediatric suppository once a day.
  • Epsom Salts — Soothing soak for irritated, itchy skin.
    Dogs: 1 cup per gal of water, then soak affected area.
    Cats: 1 cup per 2 gal of water, then soak affected area.
  • Gas-X (Simethicone) — for gas
    Dogs: small: 1/4 adult dose; medium: 1/2 adult dose; large: 1 adult dose.
    Cats: 1/4 adult dose.
  • Hydrocortisone — Relieves itchy, raw or irritated skin.
    Dogs & Cats: can be used topically to reduce itching from hives, hot spots, and insect bites and stings. Apply a small amount up to two times daily.
  • Hypo Tears — Eye lubricant.
    Dogs & Cats: Apply 4-12 times a day.
  • Iodine — Topical antiseptic.
    Dogs & Cats: Paint on wound.
  • Imodium (loperamide) — For diarrhea.
    Can be given to some dogs and cats for diarrhea.  WARNING: Certain dog breeds related to Collies may have adverse reactions to Imodium (loperamide).  Do not give this medicine to Collies, Shelties, Australian Shephards and Long-haired Whippits. See this site for more detailed information.
  • Ipecac Syrup — Emetic to promote vomiting.
    Dogs: 1 tsp per 20 lb, up to 3 tsp.
    Cats: DO NOT USE.
  • Kaopectate — For diarrhea.
    Dogs: 1/2 – 1 tsp per 5 lb, to a maximum of 2 Tbsp every 8 hours.
    Cats: Not recommended for cats since the formula was changed as they contain an aspirin derivative that is toxic to cats in high doses.
  • Lanacane — Topical anesthetic.
    Dogs: Apply to sore area with gauze pad.
    Cats: DO NOT USE.
  • Massengill Disposable Douche — Odor neutralizer for skunk spray, body odor.
    Dogs & Cats: Mix 2 oz per gal of water, use as a soak for 15 min, then bath as usual.
  • Metamucil (unflavored) — For constipation.
    Dogs: 1 tsp per 10-25 lb, mixed in food.
    Cats: 1/2 tsp (small cat) to 1 tsp (large cat), mixed in food.
  • Mylanta Liquid — For digestive upset, gas.
    Dogs: 15 lbs or less — 3 Tbsp; 16-50 lbs — 4 Tbsp; 51 lb or more — 6 Tbsp.
    Cats: DO NOT USE.
  • Neosporin — For preventing wound infection.
    Dogs & Cats: Apply 3-5 times daily as needed.
  • Pedialyte — For dehydration.
    Dogs & Cats: Mix 50/50 with water, offer as much as dog or cat wants.
  • Pepcid AC/Tagamet/Zantac — For vomiting.
    Dogs: 5 mg per 10 lb once or twice a day.
    Cats: 2.5mg or 1/4 of a 10mg tablet ONCE a day
  • Pepto-Bismol — For diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, vomiting.
    Dogs: 0.5 ml per lb or 1/2-1 tsp per 5 lb, to a maximum of 30 ml or 2 Tbsp up to 3 times per day, or 1 tablet per 15 lb up to 3 times per day.
    Cats: DO NOT USE
  • Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia — For constipation.
    Dogs: 2-4 tsp per 5 lb every 6 hours.
    Cats: 1/2-1 tsp once a day.
  • Preparation H — For sore anal area.
    Dogs: Apply up to 4 times daily.
    Cats: DO NOT USE.
  • Robitussin Pediatric Cough Formula — Cough suppressant.
    Dogs & Cats: Ask your vet.
  • Solarcaine — Topical pain reliever and anesthetic.
    Dogs: Apply to sore area once or twice a day for up to 2 days.
    Cats: DO NOT USE.
  • Tylenol — Pain reliever.
    Dogs & Cats: DO NOT USE. Cats are extremely sensitive to acetaminophen, and the liver and kidney function of dogs can be severely damaged.
  • Vicks VapoRub — For congestion.
    Dogs & Cats: Smear a small amount on your pet’s chin for easier breathing.
  • Witch Hazel — Astringent/topical antiseptic.
    Dogs & Cats: Dab on affected area.

see also Antibiotics for Dogs

The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats
Walker Valley Vet


  1. Kathryn says:


    Use Tolnaftate (1%). This is the same antifungal cream that is in human athlete’s foot treatment (at several times the cost of generic Tolnaftate).

    It costs about $3 at grocery stores, WalMart, etc. It is also a topical anesthetic and animals love that it makes the pain stop.

    It always works for any skin condition, even those supposedly caused by “allergies”. I Promise.

  2. priscilla says:

    my english bulldog has allergies between his toes i changed his food bought him boots and he still breaks out im putting out a lot of money to the vet and different meds is there anything u ncan tell me to help i tried panalog, antifungals, antibiotics, i thought about desitin but then i decided against it because of your artical saying its toxic to dogs iodine,benadryl, betadine its just awful.

    • isak says:

      Have you tried adding probiotics to his diet and giving him a water & apple cider vinegar foot soak?

      • A combination of warm water, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide works to treat yeast infections and sooth irritated paws with its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. To make this solution, pour 1 cup of organic apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide into 1 gallon of warm water. Soak your dog’s paws in the liquid for 30 seconds and allow the skin to air-dry.

      • Warm water and iodine in your dog’s bath gets rid of any allergens or toxins on her feet and between her paw pads, disinfects any wounds she may have, and will treat any ongoing yeast infection caused by constant licking or chewing. Add just enough iodine in the water to turn it the color of iced tea, then stand your pet in the solution for 30 seconds. Pat the paws dry with a clean towel and your pup is good to go. Don’t worry if she licks her paws after, iodine is non-toxic for dogs.

  3. Rachael McGill says:

    I am a licensed pharmacy Technician Instructor and we all learn that tylenol is toxic to cats and dogs it can shut down liver and kidney function. I really think this needs to be removed. At know time is a pharmacist going to give a cat or a dog tylenol they are going to warn the vet against this.

    • isak says:

      Thanks for your input. It’s much appreciated. I amended the statement about Tylenol. If it is NOT on the list as a no-no, people may use it. So I think it’s better to tell them not to use it.

  4. Sandra Buckett says:

    Thanks for this list. My dog Bella ruptured a disk in her spine + is on Steroids. Because of the problem she’s all chaffed from her urine. l read your list. Thanks for this.

  5. Rottie malin mom says:

    Highly recommnend keeping Non toxic Vetericyn on hand for skin issues like hot spots , rashes etc-
    Use it on dogs .cats, etc- check out reviews and call company with any questions-

    I really like the Vetericyn VF Hydrogel formula and keep the regular spray on hand too

    It’s is the go to non toxic product for our pets
    I buy on line in larger bottles at a fraction of pet store cost

    Generic betadine or providine on hand too

    Ask your vet about these products and use

  6. Rottie malin mom says:

    Big fan of Vetericyn spray and Vetericyn. VF hydrogel for skin irritations , hot spots etc- use it on my scrapes too!
    Use it on the dogs and hairless cats with great results! No prescription required! It is non toxic too! Very important for multi pet households where they often groom or lick each other-

    This is my go to skin spray! I buy on line with free shipping- really like the hydrogel –
    Company will answer any of your questions about the product Vetericyn
    Used on livestock too

  7. Earlgrey says:

    I cured my cats naturally of mouth sores and this also works for other illness :

    – rub 2% foodgrade Lugol’s Iodine on the infected area twice a day for one week then once a day with a Q-tip-apply more often if severe infection

    – add 3 drops of foodgrade Lugol’s in a small bowl of water daily for 3 months then 2X a week, if cats very ill- daily

    – sprinkle half cap 200mcg 3X a month in food

    – sprinkle some psyllium husk powder once a week on food

    – foodgrade DE on food daily for 2 months then 1X a week

    – Cod Liver oil by Nordic Naturals

    – clean cats teeth with olive oiled Q-tip

    – Nutrex Bioastin 12MG Hawaiian Astaxanthin- 2X a week on food

    – Weruva Cat food

    – Do not vaccinate pets- vaccines cause cancer

    – Do not give antibiotics to cats, cause parasite overgrowth



  8. Mary says:

    Tylenol is TOXIC to dogs. No, no, no!!! Please consult a vet.

  9. Jasmine says:

    My cat rooty has a sore on her chin Is there anything I can put on it that won’t get her sick she is 13

    • isak says:

      Is it a simple sore? If so, you can try a bit of triple antibiotic ointment, maybe Neosporin. Just a tad. Anything more and she may try to clean it off. Keep an eye on her, but this is generally a safe way to go.

      You might apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound first.

  10. Deanna says:

    hey my dog mocha has really bad separation antitoxy but i pay for all her stuff and can’t afford vet med’s do you have any suggestions oh and she has huge sores on her ears and last moth she chewed all of her hair off and she tries to eat the house

    • isak says:

      For separation anxiety — do you leave her with a towel or something that smells like you? Do you leave her with toys — like Kongs or sterilized bones — that she can chew on/play with while you are gone? Have you looked inside her ears to see if there is a problem? Often sores on the outside are a result of itchy ears because of something happening inside her ears. Maybe she needs them cleaned out? You can put something like triple antibiotic ointment on the outside. The inside can be cleaned with a mixture of vinegar and water — put a little in her ears and rub it in, then wipe out what you can with a paper towel or cloth. Chewing her hair off — have you checked her for fleas? Some dogs are more allergic to fleas than others and will really chew themselves.

      How old is she.

  11. Yashira W. says:

    Wonderful list. Very informative. I have a question: I have 2 pitbull puppies. 11 weeks old today. 1 is about 14lbs and the other is 13.7lbs about. My question is that thwy have outgrown their harnesses and it actually dug into their skins a bit. Nothing bad..but what can I use to get it healed right? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    They are named: Ki (mine) & Ghost (husband) both female :)

  12. Mari Miniatt says:

    Thank you for this list. Our one cat had a sore that became inflamed. I didn’t want to get it infected. I was so glad there were choices in my medicine cabinet that would help him.

  13. Lisa M says:

    Read on other websites, that calamine lotion and or caladryl is toxic if pet ingests…..zinc oxide worst culprit. Wouldn’t use if for that reason alone.

  14. Horace says:

    For arthritis I have been giving my 15 year old dog non enteric baby aspirin a one pill dose of 80mg.
    When is back legs are really bad I give him one pill twice a day. You can buy the Walmart house brand at good prices. It is the orange chewable ones.
    He has suffered for years from skin cysts involving several operations to remove them. If I can get them when they are small enough continuous dabing of hydrogen peroxide 3% drug store solution eventually stops them from growing. I say eventually because you need to continuously keep at it until the turn white. Witch hazel also works if you alternate between it and the peroxide.
    Days to weeks of applying them with a tissue or q tip finally stops them from growing. If the get to big in the wrong place it is close to a thousand dollars to remove them. This saved me a ton of money..

    • Sandy says:

      Horace, enteric coated aspirin isn’t recommended in dogs. The coating on the aspirin is hard to digest and they’ll pass it in their stool. It’s best to give them buffered aspirin

  15. Mickey says:

    I’ve been trying to find information like this for some time now. All these sites say “Ask your vet!” I wonder though, where does the vet get information like this and why isn’t it available to anybody who needs to know?

    • isak says:

      You should always consult a vet before giving your pet any meds. However, what people often are not aware of is that some pet meds have a human version or even a generic version which can cost much less. Also, WalMart pharmacy can fill many of your pet prescriptions at what is often a hefty savings. One of my dogs was on phenobarbital for his seizures. This med from WalMart cost me $4/month; from the vet, it was much more.

  16. Tiffany Sherese says:

    Hey! Im a broke college student and I recently adopted a stray dog a few months ago. I managed to save up enough money and get her shot but the other day she was under my deck at home and i dont know what she did but she has a cut about 5inches long on her back. Its not wide just long looking but I cant afford the vet. Is there anything I can put on it to prevent infection and help it heal? Ive just been using hypoallergenic hand soap to clean it. I figured that would affect her the least. Any advice would be great! My email is

    • Amber says:

      Hey, Tiffany I know this is a little late for you, but here is some information for you. I know in California the organization called actors and others helps with vet costs. You can probably check your State by typing in google: Organizations that help with costs of vets and then put your state, and city. I know that actors and others will only help after you get a diagnoses of what ails your pet. It might be different for your state. So that will mean you will have to pay for the vet for blood and stool first. But you can always get a credit card to pay for it. Hope this helps, for anyone who is having financial difficulties. They also do spay and neuter but you would have to get 2 organizations to pay for that. I know in California it costs $25 for vet, $25 for stool, and $125 for blood. That would be $175 and on a credit card that would not cost more than about $25 a month.

    • Amber says:

      Tiffany use triple antibiotic instead of hand soap cause you will probably doing more harm a than good with that. You can get triple antibiotic at any drug store,or target, Kmart. You know what can also be good it would be colloidal silver, the only way you can buy it is on-line for $19.99 plus about $6.00 for shipping and handling at It is good for pets and people, in fact it was widely used before their was anti-biotics. Just put some on the sore or you can give orally, just look on-line for dose of your pet do not forget to add weight of pet. Have a scale? weigh yourself mark it down and then hold your dog and weigh again, Subtract your weight to find out your pets weight.

  17. Ansley Crook says:

    Awesome and very helpful list thank you so much! My 6 year old calico Pockets recently received her first bath and we discovered sores and what looks like ulcers on her behind around her anus. They aren’t bleeding and no sign or evidence of them being puss filled, just sore and painful looking, what would be a safe ointment or cream to use on her behind to allievate pain and reduce these things? They almost look like external hemerroids but that’s not what they are. Thank you and again epic list thank you so much!

    • isak says:

      You may apply a small amount of Neosporin ointment, on a cotton swab or ball, to the wound after applying a small amount of a product such as hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound. Because Neosporin is an ointment to prevent infection, it is generally safe to use on cats. While Neosporin is not highly poisonous, it is not intended to be ingested. Cats frequently lick themselves in order to bathe, and any wound on which you put antibiotic ointment may irritate the cat, causing it to lick and bite at the area more frequently. During this time, the cat may ingest the ointment. To prevent such an occurrence, you should watch your cat for a few minutes after application and then use a damp cloth to wash the majority of the ointment away. Good luck.

  18. Amanda says:

    I have a cat that suffers from dry skin. She scratches herself so bad sometimes she gives herself a rash or makes herself bleed. Patience also loves to sit next to my solar heater which makes it worse. I put neosporin on it and after a while it does help. But I was wondering if I could use some anti itch cream that I have. I don’t have the cortaid that’s listed. I have aveeno and I have smart sorce brand anti itch cream. Could I use this on her without it hurting her when she grooms herself? Whenever we put the neosporin on her we make a cone to put around her head to let it soak in and so it doesn’t hurt her. So I will do the same thing with this I just want to make sure after I take the cone off and she licks it that it wont hurt her.

    Thank you so much for your time and help.
    Patience also thanks you. :)

    • isak says:

      What a cute name — Patience.

      You are very smart to consider what effect anything you put on a cat will have on them because they do lick themselves to clean themselves. I’m not sure what ingredients are in what you want to use, so I can’t really say if they would be safe to apply to Patience. Do you know why your cat is so itchy? It would be best if you could target the source — fleas, allergy to her bedding, food allergy — then maybe you could relieve her itching once and for all. Perhaps you could bath her in an oatmeal-based shampoo to sooth her skin and wash away what might be irritating her? Some shampoos have avocado and/or aloe in them that is said to help with itchiness. Or maybe a food additive — like kelp — sprinkled on her food will help.

  19. Susan silcock says:

    My female dog is very itchy and irritated around the genitalia area, she is still liking after going to vets, she has been prescribed anti biotics, I am washing the area and applying sudocrem, she seem mores comfortable when walking, she just keeps sitting down, and doesn’t want to go out, not even for her toilet duties, and suggestions please?

  20. Shela says:

    NEVER give human meds to any animal unless you have cleared it with your vet. Remember cats groom themselves and if you put anything on them they will eventually lick it off, sorry but some of the advice you have given here is TOXIC to cats. Be wise people….speak to your vet!

  21. Sandy says:

    Thank You for this information, not only did you help me but two other members of my family and their pets. Keep it coming!
    Thanks ,
    Sandy & Baa-boo

  22. cheryl burns says:

    Hi one of my dogs bruiser is a 40 kilo rottwieler x american staffy and for the past 2 years duing the winter season his outside toe and nail is becoming infected, last year our vet removered is nail leaving just enough to allow regrowth and with the help of antibiotics fixed the problem momentarily, it returns several time during the season, the other problem besides that is I have recently lost my job and simply can not afford the vet fee or the pain relieve meds and antibiotcs needed is there a safe alternative or human antibiotic that I can give to bruiser thank you

    • isak says:

      Can you tell me what meds/antibiotics Bruiser was on previously?

      • Rita ONeil says:

        Sorry about Bruiser, & i see its been a while hope hes doing ok? I would soak his paw as much as he will let you ( once a day in a bucket or tupper ware thing in really warm water w/ epsom salt, dry apply BAG BALM” really works wonders on everything. Then follow the pain advise they give. Really hope all is well w/ you & yours :)

  23. Randy Hehn says:

    What about Senna for constipitation?

  24. isak says:

    From MariaO @catanddogdoctor on Twitter:

    Tylenol is extremely toxic to cats!

    Bufferin can cause gastric ulcers and kidney liver damage

  25. Jenn Richardson says:

    Thnsk for posting this info!
    For nausea and.or car sickness give your dog a gingersnap or two about a half hour before a trip in the car, It really works!

  26. isak says:

    Do you have more info on that?

What do you think?

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