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.
(Also see “10 Poison Pills for Pets” for meds to NOT give your pet.)

  • 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

From a reader: I have a pit-bull. I found out that she was crazy allergic to chicken  and also struggles with bacteria issues that make her itch.The vet suggested we try Malaseb medicated shampoo. It has been a life saver! It neutralizes the bacteria that causes the itchy belly/paws. She is so much happier now. I highly recommend it and you can get it several places online.

The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats
Walker Valley Vet


  1. Regina Bourque says:

    Two days ago I got a 8 week old puppy from a friend that was terribly infested with fleas. I bathes my puppy in Dawn’s originals detergent and it killed all the fleas in her.My puppy doesn’t have any fur in her tail from all the fleas she had on her. I noticed she bites at her tail due to itching. Can I put Cortisone 10 on her tail to help heal her tail and get some relief? I do have fog shampoo with oatmeal. Being she’s 8 weeks is it safe to bath her with dog shampoo with oatmeal or do I need to get some for puppies?

    • isak says:

      Congrats on your new puppy! I would not recommend using Cortizone 10 on her tail. She could have a reaction to it, especially as young as she is. If the skin on her tail is not raw, you could mix some vinegar and water and apply that. It should relieve the itchiness. If it is raw, you can apply a bit of Neosporin to her tail.

      The dog shampoo with oatmeal should be fine, however you do not want to bathe her too often as this will remove her protective oils and that can cause dry, itchy skin. A dog with normal skin should be bathed once a month with dog shampoo or human baby shampoo. If you want to bathe more often, use a soap-free or moisturizing shampoo to prevent the skin from becoming dry. Maybe your oatmeal shampoo says moisturizing on the label?

  2. Annette says:

    My dog was very nervous so our vet recommended theramone plug in. It worked to calm her down. Available from your vet.
    We also have a storm jacket from Big Lots that work too
    A cheaper way is to try a t shirt that fits fairly tight. It’s like wrapping a blanket round them, a security thing I guess.

    • isak says:

      Thanks for the tips. I have been hearing more and more people talk about the t-shirt idea. It sounds so simple and it seems to be working. I wish I knew this years ago. My old girl Alice is scared to death of thunder, but now that her hearing is not as sharp as it used to be, she is not so bothered.

  3. Annette says:

    I just put preparation h on my dogs bum and she has stopped licking already.
    I used a very small amount.
    This is what I read on the internet. It could save me a fortune in vets bills I hope.

  4. Mike Brasher says:

    Marie says:
    August 19, 2016 at 8:45 am
    If my dog has anxiety and is scared of loud sounds I take him out bit as soon as he hears a loud sound he comes running back in he bites at he’s paws what can you get them for it I have anxiety my self were I have panic attacks but what can I give my dog

    My Dentist used to prescribe a couple Xanax for the 4th of July. Around nightfall, give 1/2…and hour later, give another 1/2, then 2 hours later, another 1/2. And stay with the dog, a lot of times your presence alone will help him keep calm.

    • isak says:

      There is a new product out that I recently used on one of my dogs called Sileo. It’s a gel that you put on your dog’s gums. It will calm him down for a few hours. You have to get it from your vet.

      You can also try the herb Valerian. It has calming qualities. I have had good luck with it, too.

  5. Carol says:

    My Boston Terrier suffered from continued skin redness and irritation. I bath her weekly with a dog shampoo containing tea tree oil, works wonders!

  6. C hughes says:

    My pug has a vaginal prolapse during heat which cream can I use ?

  7. Eric says:

    I also have a pit-bull and I found out that she too was crazy allergic to chicken. I mean, she would be miserable for days after eating a chicken product and we would basically have to sedate her with oral Benadryl. It’s amazing how many products contain chicken. Every major brand contains it – even if it says “beef” on the front of the package, you’ll find chicken in the ingredient lists. I found out thru trial/error and now I read every ingredient and buy peanut butter flavored natural treats.

    Aside from the allergies, she also struggles with bacteria issues that make her itch. It sometimes feels as if her stomach is wet with sweat, and she was constantly itching to the point where her nipples would bleed and she would chew her paws and legs till they were bald and raw. I was panicked thinking that it was another food issue.

    I was putting Benadryl anti-itch cream (diphenhydramine hydrochloride 1%) on her belly just so she could sleep. I tried coconut oil, olive oil, oatmeal baths, special hot spot shampoos… And nothing seemed to work for her! The vet suggested we try Malaseb medicated shampoo. It has been a life saver! It neutralizes the bacteria that causes the itchy belly/paws. She is so much happier now. I highly recommend it and you can get it several places online. I use the one made by Bayer that has a white & maroon bottle and bathe her once a week with it. It doesn’t smell very good (as most medicines do), but adding a drop or two of lavender oil seems to help with the scent – and most importantly – it works!

    Hope this helps – and this is a great list to bookmark and reference! Thank you!

  8. Marie says:

    If my dog has anxiety and is scared of loud sounds I take him out bit as soon as he hears a loud sound he comes running back in he bites at he’s paws what can you get them for it I have anxiety my self were I have panic attacks but what can I give my dog

  9. Sarah says:

    Can I put epaderm ointment on my skin as he has very dry skin and he keeps on bitting at him self he has been deflead so it’s not that

    • isak says:

      I’m not familiar with epaderm ointment, so I cannot say if it is safe for your pet or not. The problem with putting things on a cat or dog is that if they can reach it, they may lick it off, so the question is whether it is safe to be ingested. You need to locate the source of his dry skin in order to treat it and the search should start with his food. Could it be that his itchiness is due to an allergy to what he is eating?

      Try an egg a day fried over medium (whites fully cooked, yolk runny) with a tsp of coconut oil melted on it, and feed a grain free diet. There are enzymes in the yolk that help with allergies, the coconut oil helps with the dry skin. Grains are the most likely allergen.

      Here are some ways to help improve your dog’s dry skin.

      • When your dog needs a bath, try using plain water, a good, non-drying solvent. If you must use shampoo, use a moisturizing type with humectants, and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. Avoid blow dryers.

      • If you have your dog groomed, speak to the groomer about turning down the heat on the blow dryer (it’s usually set pretty high).

      • Feed moist food—canned, cooked, homemade or raw.

      • Add digestive enzymes to every meal (probiotic bacteria, 2 to 10 billion CFUs/day).

      • Provide fresh, filtered drinking water.

      • Add fresh oils and other supplements to meals like:

      Flax seed oil (1/2 tsp. of oil/15 pounds twice daily) or freshly milled flax seeds (1.5 tsp./15 pounds twice daily)

      EPA/DHA from fish oil or algae (5 to 20 mg of EPA/pound of body weight/day)

      Lecithin granules (1/4 tsp. to 1 Tbs. per meal)

      Nutritional yeast (1/2 to 1 tsp. per meal) or hypoallergenic B complex (10 to 50 mg twice daily)

      Kelp powder (1/4 to 1 tsp. per meal daily)

      Spirulina (500 to 1,000 mg twice daily with meals)

      Alfalfa, nettles or horsetail (dried or powdered, 1/4 to 1 tsp. of individual herb or a mixture)

      Good luck.

  10. Vette says:

    I have a 1 year old Blue Pit and he has started having red areas on one of his paws and on the side of his tail near his butt. He scratches constantly. I know he’s allergic to chicken and i give him Beneadryl for that, i just need to know what can i give him to relieve him of the scratching and redness

    • isak says:

      The moisture caused by excessive paw licking between the toes can cause a secondary bacterial or yeast infection. This can actually worsen the itchiness.

      Antihistamines like Benadryl are generally ineffective in discouraging paw licking. When they do have a positive effect, it is probably due to the general sedation (sleepiness) that they produce. More effective might be a footbath containing baking soda. Track your dog through the bath when you come in from a walk to remove pollen and irritants. Then pat his feet dry. You can rub this same solution on his butt where he licks.

What do you think?

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