Common Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medicines



Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) is safe and effective for dogs with acute diarrhea. Give .25ml/kg (.125ml/lb) by mouth every four hours.

Immodium (loperamide) may also control diarrhea at a dose of .08mg/kg (.04mg/lb) every six hours but take care. This is a narcotic drug and may cause neurological side effects in small dogs and in Collie and part-Collie breeds. DO NOT GIVE IMMODIUM TO CATS.


Antihistamines such as cetirizine and loperadine are safe and control seasonal allergic itch in some dogs and cats when given at a dose of 2-4 mg/kg (1-2mg/lb) every eight to 12 hours.

Cough Medicines

Cough medicines with antihistamines are only effective for allergic coughs, no others. Avoid cough medicines with pseudephedrine in both cats and dogs. They may cause toxic side effects.


Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) and other similar OTC motion sickeness medications are sometimes used for dogs and cats. It is safe for small to large dogs when given at 25-50 mg. We can provide safe and effective anti-emetics if your dog suffers from motion sickness.

Eye Medicines

Artificial tears and irrigating solutions for our eyes are safe for cats and dogs.

Gastric Acid-Reducing Drugs

Gastric acid reducing drugs such as Zantac (ranitidine) and Tagamet (cimetidine)  are "H2-receptor blocking drugs", have a wide margin of safety and are available OTC and are safe at, cimetidine 5-10 mg/kg (2.5-5 mg/lb) every 12 hours, ranitidine 1-2mg/kg (0.5-1mg/lb) daily. Cats don’t like the taste of these drugs and may froth profusely when they are given.

Topical Medicines

Topical medicines containing low doses of hydrocortisone are soothing but may increase the risk of bacterial skin infection. OTC antifungal ointments and creams containing miconozole or clotrimazole are excellent and effective against a variety of fungi including forms of ringworm, Malassezia yeasts and Aspergillus. Take care that they are not licked off by your cat or dog. Take particular care with any topical ointment containing the local anaesthetic benzocaine. If licked in excess it may cause haemolytic anemia in small dogs.

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