Please Note: Many medications commonly found in household medicine cabinets can be used as temporary remedies for minor ailments in dogs and cats.  Some, though, can produce serious, even fatal, side-effects. The following information is intended to offer reliable information as to the home treatment of dogs and cats for minor problems and does not in any way discourage or replace professional evaluation and treatment by your trusted veterinary team.

1. Aspirin

Dose:  Call clinic for proper dose

Adverse reactions: Stomach and intestinal irritation, ulceration, vomiting, loss of appetite, bleeding.

Discontinue 5 to 7 days before anticipated surgery or dental procedures.

Commonly used as a musculoskeletal  anti inflammatory/ pain reliever in DOGS ONLY. Cats metabolize the drug so slowly as to make it, at best, ineffective and, at worst, toxic.  The best uses are for muscle, bone or joint pain associated with over exertion, and for arthritis.  Do not use in the presence of gastrointestinal disease such as poor appetite, vomiting or diarrhea. Always give with food and only if the dog is eating and drinking normally.  Do not combine with other medications unless approved by your veterinarian.

2. Tylenol (Acetaminophen)

FATAL TOXICITY IN CATS, liver toxicity in dogs at higher doses

Dose:  Call clinic for proper dose

Commonly used as a pain reliever in place of aspirin. Do not use in dogs with known or suspected liver disease.

3. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Dose: Call clinic for proper dose.

Adverse reactions: Sedation, rarely excitement

Commonly used to treat allergic reactions in dogs, to best effect in combination with a corticosteroid. Also used to prevent vomiting associated with motion sickness and sedation in anxious car travelers.  Do not use in animals with glaucoma, heart disease or decreased intestinal motility (constipation).

4. Pepto-Bismol (Bismuth Subsalicylate)

Dose: Call clinic for dose

Adverse reactions: Use cautiously and for short term in cats ( 24 hours or less) due to the aspirin in this medication.  Bismuth will discolor stool black, but this is not due to harmful effects.

Commonly used for symptomatic treatment of diarrhea in dogs and cats. Do not use if there is mucus and/or blood in the stool.

5. Metamucil (psyllium)

Dose: Call the clinic for proper dose

Adverse reactions: None known other than intestinal impaction with over use with inadequate fluid intake

Commonly used as a gentle but effective bulk fiber laxative in dogs and cats.

Common Household Medications Used for Dogs and Cats