Safe for Pets: Certain Human Medications

Some of you lovely readers have asked whether any human medications that you may have on hand are safe for pets.  So I have put together a list of a few drugs that you can use with care in pets.  This is a very general list, but you should always consult your vet before administering any medications that have not been specifically prescribed for your pet.  Some medications may interact with medications that your pet is already on.  Also, if your pet has any health issues, your vet can advise you if certain medications will exacerbate those conditions.  As always, consult your vet if the problem doesn't resolve.

1. Paracetamol or Acetaminophen- this is a pain relief medication that can be given to dogs only on an occasional basis for aches and pains.  The dose is 5-10mg/kg, so a 20 lb dog can have up to 100mg twice a day.  This drug is toxic to cats and should never be given to this species.

2. Anti-histamines such as benedryl (diphenhydramine) can be given to dogs and cats who are itchy with skin allergies.  As a general guideline, 1mg per 1 lb body weight is a safe daily dose for dogs and cats.  Benedryl will cause some drowsiness.  Other human anti-histamines such as Claratin (loratadine) and Fexofenadine (Allegra) can also be used fairly safely.  Clartin can be given at a dose of 10mg for a 20 lb dog, and your vet should be able to provide you with dosages for the other anti-histamines.

3. Hydrocortisone cream at a concentration of 0.5% or 1 % can be applied to areas of the skin during flare-ups of allergies.  The cream should be applied in a thin layer once or twice a day for up to a week. 

4. If your pet has mild constipation, a gentle soluble fibre such as Metamucil can be given in the evening meal in very small amounts.

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