When to Use OTC Medication for Dogs

OTC medication or over the counter medication are drugs that can be purchased without prescription. There are numerous OTC medications that may be used in canines; however, it is not always a good idea to use these drugs without consulting the vet first.

OTC Medication Usage 

The OTC medications can be bought from any pet store and are meant to manage different canine medical conditions.

The OTC drugs should only be used after getting a clear diagnosis of the dog’s condition. Over the counter medication shouldn’t be administered if you only suspect a certain medical condition, as the drugs can do more harm than good if the diagnosis is wrong.

You can use OTC drugs in dogs without consulting the vet first is when the dog is in pain and you have no way of getting to the vet in a timely manner. OTC pain medication is available and should be administered as a temporary solution until you get to a vet and he establishes the source of pain and a suitable course of treatment.

You may also use OTC medications if your pet is vomiting or has diarrhea and you are sure this is caused by a change in diet or the ingestion of garbage or non food items that are surely not toxic for the dog. Also, if you are sure your dog has diarrhea, but this is an acute condition, you may use OTC drugs. If the vomiting and diarrhea become chronic, a vet should be consulted, as the dog may have an underlying condition.

Antihistamines may also be purchased as over the counter medications and may be used if your dog is diagnosed with allergies.

Your vet may indicate you a few OTC drugs that can be safely used in your pet, depending on your pet’s health, age and breed.


OTC drugs for dogs shouldn’t be used if indicated by friends, family, other dog owners or following the indications on a website. You may have a wrong diagnosis for your dog. Even if you diagnose your dog correctly, you have to know that not all drugs work the same way in all dogs and your dog may not respond to the medication you choose to administer.

If you notice any allergic reactions or side effects you need to discontinue the drugs and visit the vet.

Human OTC Medication for Dogs

Human OTC drugs shouldn’t be used in dogs as they may be harmful. A lot of human medications can be toxic and taken in high amounts can lead to complications or even death. There are a few medications that can be used both in dogs and humans including aspirin and a few antibiotics, but you should always ask your vet prior to administering these to get the suitable dosage information. Even if these medications are suitable for use in dogs, when in excess can be toxic and fatal.