Sometimes, a vet may prescribe over the counter medication or human medication to treat specific conditions in a dog. Some medicines are safe for some dogs in particular situations and in specific amounts. However, it is never a good idea to medicate your dog with over the counter medication without advice from your vet.

This post will look at what over the counter medications are dog friendly and which ones you should absolutely avoid. We'll also look at why self-diagnosing your dog isn't a good idea and how a dog wellness plan can help you keep your beloved pet healthy.

Why Over The Counter Medication is Bad For Dogs

We like to think of our furry companions as members of the family. It's natural if a family member is feeling unwell to help them treat their symptoms through medication, but dogs and humans are very different.

It is critical to remember that dogs have very different bodies and react differently to medication. Some medicines that may be safe for some dogs are not safe for other breeds of dogs with certain underlying health conditions.

Before you give any medication to your dog, it is best to consult with your veterinarian. Get their advice on specific medications, dosage, and what side effects to look for.

Here are some examples of common over the counter medication that you should never give to your dog:


Ibuprofen (Aspirin/Advil/Motrin) is a common pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication for humans. It is also found in dog medications but in specific formulations and amounts. Giving your dog a human version of ibuprofen can lead to fatal stomach ulcers and cause liver and kidney damage.


Tylenol is another common pain reliever that is also harmful to dogs. You can find it on its own or as an ingredient in other medications, so it is always important to check the label. Too much Tylenol can lead to kidney and liver damage in dogs or a condition called methemoglobinemia. This is when the red blood cells have trouble carrying oxygen in the blood.

Cough Medicine

Cough medications often contain Tylenol or Advil, and as described above, they are very toxic to dogs. Cough syrups also often contain Xylitol, a sweetener used in food and beverage products that is highly toxic to dogs.

Over the Counter Medication That Is Dog Friendly

Some over the counter medications are safe for some dog breeds. Still, we recommend that you always speak with your veterinarian covered through your Wagmo dog insurance to ensure that your dog's dosage and medication are correct.  Follow your vets advice and recommendations before purchasing any of the following:

Allergy Medication

Allergy medications like Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec are usually safe for dogs and can help treat sneezing and allergy symptoms. They can cause drowsiness in some dogs and hyperactivity in others. You should always be sure they don't also contain Tylenol or ibuprofen and check with your vet about proper dosage amounts.

Anti-diarrhea Medication

Pepto-Bismol and Imodium are generally safe for dogs and can help soothe an upset stomach and stop diarrhea. You should always consult your vet for the correct dosage. There are also dog-specific medications that work much better and longer.

Ointments and Topical Creams

Antibiotic creams like Neosporin or hydrocortisone are generally safe for dogs. Just be sure they don't lick their wounds or skin, or it could cause infection.

Pet insurance for dogs can help in cases of sudden illness or injury and ensure you have the coverage you need for vet visits and treatment. Dog wellness plans help cover the preventative care that helps keep your dog healthy for the long term.

Contact us today to discover how pet wellness plans or Wagmo dog insurance can give you coverage and peace of mind. Take a look at our custom plans or you can take our online quiz to determine the best coverage for your pets and budget.