What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?

Written by angela tedson
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What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?
Pets can benefit from certain human medications. (The spitz-dog and cat on a neutral background image by Ulf from Fotolia.com)

While the first step in treating an ailing pet should always include consulting a veterinarian, many medications formulated for humans are also safe for pets. In an emergency situation, or when contacting a veterinarian is impossible, it is helpful to know which common home medications are safe to reach for.

Pain Relief

Buffered aspirin is gentle to the stomach and the only type of aspirin recommended for pain relief in pets. Give dogs 5 to 12.5 mg per pound of body weight every 12 hours. Cats can take buffered aspirin, but because of their smaller size dosages are best managed by a veterinarian.

What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?
Buffered aspirin is safe for dogs. (pill image by Artyom Rudenko from Fotolia.com)

Digestive Upsets

Bismuth Subsalicylate, commonly known as Pepto-Bismol, may be used for diarrhoea, vomiting and gas. Because it contains salicylates---the same ingredient in aspirin---it should not be given to cats. Dogs can take 1ml per 3.63 to 4.54 Kilogram of body weight every six to eight hours.

What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?
The "pink stuff" soothes canine stomachs. (pink bismuth image by Mark Aplet from Fotolia.com)


Diphenhydramine (brand name benadryl) treats allergies and itching in pets. It also provides anti-vertigo and anti-anxiety effects. Dogs and cats can be given 1 to 2 mg per pound every eight hours. Diphenhydramine can cause marked drowsiness in pets.

Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) helps manage sneezing and various allergies in dogs and cats. Chlorpheniramine is sold in 4 mg tablets. The dosage is one-half to one tablet per cat every 12 hours, and one to two tablets every 8 to 12 hours for dogs. Drowsiness is a common side effect.

What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?
Common antihistamines help pet allergies (yellow pills image by IKO from Fotolia.com)

Motion Sickness

Dramamine (generic name Dimenhydrinate) alleviates motion sickness. Dogs may take up to 50 mg every eight hours, while cats can take up to 10 mg in the same time span.

What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?
Pets can suffer from motion sickness. (Open bottle with tablets image by odze from Fotolia.com)


Plain mineral oil eliminates constipation in pets. Give dogs up to 4 tbsp daily. Cats may receive up to 2 tbsp daily.

What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?
Mineral oil helps pets suffering with constipation. (dog image by Holtea Silviu from Fotolia.com)


Dextromethorphan/Guaifenesin (sold under the brand name Robitussin DM) soothes coughing in dogs and cats, at a dosage of 0.5ml per pound every eight hours. Use the 'DM' product only, and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible as coughing can be a symptom of serious diseases.

What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?
Guaifenesin quiets coughing in dogs and cats. (cough syrup image by Cindy Haggerty from Fotolia.com)


Some human medications should never be given to pets. These include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, asthma medications and the anti-seizure drug phenytoin. Non-drug substances dangerous for animals include coffee, tea, alcohol in any form and iron or vitamin D supplements.

What Human Medicines Are Safe for Pets?
Some medications are deadly to animals. (sign. warning sign image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

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