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Aug 24 2016

Can I Give My Cat Tylenol?

(OTC Medications for your dog/cat)

Answer:  NO.  It will kill your cat!

Concerned pet owners often reach for over-the-counter (OTC) medications for various ailments thinking they will do no harm to their pet and might provide some relief from observed symptoms.  There are some OTC medications that are safe and indeed often recommended by veterinarians, but there are far more out there that can be harmful and even fatal, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) for cats.  I urge caution to all cat/dog owners when considering any OTC medication.

Below is a guide to help you sift through the safe/harmless/helpful and the not-safe/harmful/deadly.  I’ve only provided doses for those that are very safe and often recommended.  If you’re ever in doubt, please ask your veterinarian first.  This list is not all-inclusive.  Also, keep in mind if the symptoms persist, a simple solution with an OTC medication may not be enough, so don’t be shy to schedule an examination for your pet at All Creatures Animal Hospital if you are worried!

- Xenia Zawadzkas DVM

NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid)
• Used for both cats and dogs
• Indication: pain/inflammation, blood thinning
• Dose: ask your vet- varies for species and reason for treatment
• Notes: any amount of aspirin can cause stomach bleeding/ulceration. There are safer and more effective NSAIDs available from your vet

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
• Not used in either dogs or cats
• Indication: none; DO NOT USE
• Dose: toxic
• Notes: causes stomach/intestinal bleeding, kidney/liver damage, even neurological damage

Naproxen (Aleve)
• Not used in either cats or dogs
• Indication: none; DO NOT USE
• Dose: generally toxic at any dose, difficult to dose accurately
• Notes: causes stomach/intestinal bleeding, liver/kidney damage. There are safer and more effective NSAIDs available from your vet.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) – an NSAID-like drug
• NEVER for cats, rarely for dogs
• Indication: pain, fever
• Dose: ask your vet- rarely recommended for dogs when all other pain control options have been exhausted
• Notes: fatal to cats at ANY dose. Often combined with codeine or hydrocodone for added pain control (controlled drug prescriptions)

OTC Medications for Indigestion/Gastrointestinal Disorders

Pepcid (famotidine)
• For both cats and dogs
• Indication: antacid for indigestion, vomiting
• Dose: 0.5 to 1mg/kg (0.2 to 0.45mg/#) orally every 12 hours as needed. Example: 70# dog = 20mg tablet, 10# cat = ¼ to ½ of a 10mg tablet
• Notes: very safe and very helpful for the vomiting dog or cat

Imodium AD (loperamide)
• Dogs only
• Indication: antidiarrheal
• Dose: ask your vet- small dogs especially need careful dosing
• Notes: Can cause excitatory behavior in cats- do not use for cats. Collie/white feet breeds with the MDR1 or ABCB1-1delta mutations are hypersensitive to it- do not use in these breeds. Can cause constipation, bloating, hypersalivation, and sedation in dogs. Can be contraindicated if cause of diarrhea is due to a toxin or bacterial overgrowth. USE WITH CAUTION (or not at all!)

Metamucil (psyllium)
• For both cats and dogs
• Indication: bulks up stools and eases defecation (can also be used to help with natural anal sac expression during bowel movements)
• Dose: Add to canned food daily:

o Cats/small dogs: 1-2 tsp
o Medium dogs: 1 Tbsp
o Large dogs: 2 Tbsp

• Notes: Generally safe/harmless. Use with caution in cats/dogs prone to constipation- it can make the stools too large and add to the problem. Do not use in rabbits.

Miralax powder (polyethylene glycol 3350)
• Mostly recommended just for cats
• Indication: Laxative (hyperosmotic). Helpful particularly for cats prone to constipation
• Dose: 1/8 to 1/4 tsp up to twice daily in food
• Notes: may cause subclinical dehydration and electrolyte disturbances with chronic use. Use with caution and with a veterinarian’s advice and monitoring

Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)- this is now what is in Kaopectate as well
• For dogs only
• Indication: antidiarrheal/gastro protectant
• Dose: ask your vet- careful dosing is needed and this medication is generally not recommended at all
• Notes: aspirin-like substance, overdose can cause an NSAID like toxicity (see NSAIDs above). May cause green/black stools.

Kaopectate (bismuth subsalicylate) – see Pepto-Bismol above

OTC Medications for Allergies and Motion Sickness (Antihistamines)

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
• For both cats and dogs
• Indication: antihistamine for allergies/itching
• Dose: 1mg/# orally every 4-6 hours as needed. For example:

o 70# dog could have up to 70mg, but usually for big dogs I don’t recommend going over 50mg (2 of the 25mg tablets/capsules) per dose.
o 10# cat could have 10mg, but to make it easy I would give ¼ of a 25mg tablet, or ½ of a tsp of the children’s suspension (6.25mg total per dose). For larger cats (15# and up), go ahead and give 12.5mg per dose.

• Notes: Very safe and very helpful for acute allergic reactions (bee stings, hives). Can also be used long term to help manage allergies or for specific conditions such as mast cell tumors in dogs.

Dramamine regular (dimenhydrinate)
• For both cats and dogs
• Indication: motion sickness (antihistamine)
• Dose: ask your vet
• Notes: may cause sedation, vomiting/diarrhea, dry mouth, urine retention. Contraindicated for patients with heart disease, glaucoma, seizure disorders, hyperthyroidism, GI or urinary obstruction.

Dramamine less-drowsy (meclizine)
• For both cats and dogs
• Indication: motion sickness (antihistamine, anti-emetic). Recommended often for dogs that get car sick, or for geriatric dogs with idiopathic vestibular dz (vertigo)
• Dose: orally up to once daily:

o Cats: 6.25mg to 12.5mg
o Small dogs: 12.5mg
o Medium dogs: 25mg
o Large dogs: 50mg

• Notes: similar to Dramamine regular (see above). Some patients may become hyper excitable, but most often sedation reported. Cats may become anorexic.

Zyrtec (cetirizine), 2nd generation antihistamine
• For both dogs and cats
• Indication: allergies/itching
• Dose: orally every 12-24 hours:

o Cats: 2.5 to 5mg
o Dogs: 10 to 20mg

• Notes: side effects include vomiting, hypersalivation, drowsiness, dry mouth… but it is generally well tolerated

Claritin (loratadine)
• For both cats and dogs
• Indication: allergies/itching
• Dose: ask your vet
• Notes: Very limited experience in dogs/cats, no published studies on efficacy or safety

• For both cats and dogs
• Indication: allergies/itching
• Dose: orally every 12 hours:

o Cats: 1 to 2 mg
o Small dogs: 2 mg
o Medium dogs: 4mg
o Large dogs: 8mg

• Notes: Side effects similar to other antihistamines. Cats may become hyper excitable.

OTC Topical Medications

Neosporin (triple antibiotic ointment)
• For both dogs and cats
• Indication: topical antibiotic for treatment of minor wounds, lacerations or burns
• Dose: apply to small wounds up to 3 times a day. Can be covered by a suitable dressing
• Notes: do not allow licking for 20-30 minutes after applying. Do not use longer than 1 week. Do not use on large or deep wounds. Do not use on or near the eyes or ears

Angela | Uncategorized

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