As animal lovers, we all want the best for our pets. And when they’re in pain, we want be able to help.
An expert opinion is always essential, but what happens when the veterinarian isn’t available?
There are a number of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that are safe for cat and canine consumption, but dosages vary depending on size and age. And in some cases, administering too much can leave your pet worse off than before.
Again, it’s always important to seek a veterinarian’s advice, but keep this list of general medicinal guidelines handy, and you’ll be all the more prepared for any potential problems.
In small doses, MiraLAX is an effective treatment for dogs suffering from constipation.
According to PetMD, pet owners should speak to a veterinarian to learn the proper dosage for their particular needs, as too much could cause stomach inflammation, diarrhea, and, subsequently, dehydration.
Remedies like Milk of Magnesia and other laxatives, if not working against your pet’s digestive system, can also be useful if given in small doses, Dogtime reports.
Slippery elm bark powder is a natural remedy for both constipation and loose stool. Given at a dosage of about a half a teaspoonful for every 10 pounds of body weight, the powder can be mixed with water, a no-sodium broth or canned food.
“I recommend always having some on hand so when you need it, it’s right there. Slippery elm is safe for puppies, adults, and geriatric dogs,” veterinarian Karen Becker tells Pet Helpful.
4. Upset Stomach
Pepcid AC is not as easy on the animal endocrine system as some may believe, and it may lead to loss of appetite or lethargy.
“Signs of overdose include vomiting, increased heart rate, red mouth and ears, pale gums, restlessness, low blood pressure, and collapse,” Dr. Carol Osborne, an integrative veterinarian and author of the books Naturally Healthy Cats and Naturally Healthy Dogs, told PetMD.
Tagamet HB, or cimetidine, on the other hand, is effective in counteracting the effects of hyperactive gastrointestinal acids, often caused by overindulgence. A veterinarian likely has a much better suggestion for your animal’s indigestion, however, and recommendations for dosages.
Pink bismuth is also a common human remedy for upset stomachs. Pepto Bismol, technically bismuth subsalicylate, is safe for humans, but not dogs and cats. Pepto Bismol contains aspirin, which can cause kidney and liver damage according to the Pet Poison Hotline website.
Pregnant or nursing dogs should never take medicine for indigestion, and a veterinarian’s advice should always be used in determining dosages, as it depends on a dog’s weight and particular state of health.
3. Pain relief
A majority of veterinarians warn against administering aspirin for pain relief, the Dogington Post reports. For dogs, anything more than 5 mg per pound of body weight every 12 hours could prove problematic, while aspirin is not recommended for cats in any amount.
Gastric ulcers and a host of other health issues have been linked to aspirin, which should never be used in combination with other medications.
“As a rule, I never recommend using aspirin more than two days in a row and never in combination with other NSAIDs, such as Rimadyl, Metacam and Derramax,” writes DR. Patty Khuly, VMD, for VetStreet. “Drug interactions with aspirin are not uncommon, so don’t automatically assume it’s safe to give it to your pet.”
Benadryl, or diphenhydramine, is effective in treating allergies and itching. Many pet owners have also relied on the medicine to calm their pets down during long car rides or other stressful situations, as it operates as a nervous system suppressant.
The Dogington Post recommends giving dogs 1/2 to 1 mg of Benadryl per pound of body weight when needed, but never more than 2 mg per pound. For cats, as the drug may cause excitability, any more than 1/2 mg of Benadryl per pound, every 8 hours, is not recommended.
Claritin, or loratadine, can be used to treat itchiness or hives in dogs.
“I use them liberally in my practice, but they don’t lack side effects,” Khuly says. “Other OTC antihistamines may also be effective for allergic reactions in pets, but Benadryl, Zyrtec and Claritin are most commonly recommended.”
1. Cuts and Skin Issues
Vitamin E is an effective natural treatment for dry skin, according to PetMD, although a veterinarian should be consulted if given orally.
As Dogster reports, coconut oil is a great all-purpose remedy for a long list of skin issues. It can help improve skin health and fight eczema, allergies, contact dermatitis, and dry skin.
Neosporin is also recommended for minor cuts and abrasions, although it needs to be applied lightly, and to clean skin.
“Some issues to be aware of with these ointments: People tend to buy fancy ones with tetracaine, hydrocortisone and other ingredients that can hinder healing for some wounds,” Khuly says. “And pets like to lick wounds, especially when their attention is drawn to them via smelly gels. In these cases, they’re contraindicated –– the risk is greater than the reward.”
Calendula or diluted witch hazel are also commonly used natural remedies for pet skin issues.
While these human-approved options may need some clearance from your veterinarian before being administered, you can click the button below to find a fun way to provide your pet with a purr, anywhere you have WiFi. No expert advice needed!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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