How are medications used to treat my dog?

We pretty much use medications for dogs the same way as in humans. Dog medications are something that we use every single day. We have pills, ointments, liquids, and injections. So many things that are available to us to help your overall dog's health and use as part of preventative care.

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

What are the commonly used medicines for my dogs, and when would a veterinarian recommend them?

We use pretty similar products to what are in humans a lot of the time. So we use your antibiotics, antifungals, and pain medications. We also use preventative care as far as your flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. There are many different medications that we can use, and it depends on the circumstances of what your dog has going on as far as if we have an ear infection or the dog is coughing or vomiting. And so there's a lot of variation, but there are so many different products out there on the market now that have been proven safe for your dog and also effective.

What are some of the side effects and adverse reactions my dog could experience from these medicines?

It depends on the type of medication, but one of the top side effects will be GI upset, especially if you don’t give the medications with a full meal. This is especially true of your antibiotics and antifungals, those you want to make sure you're giving them with a meal the majority of the time because, just like us, if you don't, then we might have some vomiting, upset stomach, or diarrhea. And overall, the dog is not feeling great. But usually, the side effects are pretty minimal, especially if you're making sure that you give the medications with a meal and using the correct dose.

What do I need to know about drug interactions?

Many medications do interact with each other. So it's imperative that if you go to a vet, especially if it's not your regular vet and you're going to the ER, or you couldn't get into your regular vet, and you're going somewhere else, to let that veterinarian know what medications that your dog is currently on, or has recently been on. Even if your dog has been on a medication and did not do well with it before, let them know.

Make sure to keep your receipts, as that can be handy if you're traveling or anything like that and need to get into a vet, as some drugs can interact with each other and cause an upset stomach. It can also cause some of the medication not to be absorbed as well as what it should be, or it can even make the medication be absorbed too well and cause some side effect issues as far as overdosing.

So we need to definitely know if your dog is on any medications. And then we also have to keep that in mind whenever we're prescribing medications to make sure we're not doubling up on things or going to cause your dog any harm by doing too many medications together.

Can my dog be on medication long-term?

They can, although there are some medications that we prefer for them not to be on long-term. There are many long-term medications, especially in dogs that have long-term problems and need things like seizure control. We have some medications that your dog can be on every day and probably should be on every day if your dog has to have them to control daily seizures. There are also some pain medications that we prefer to be short-term. Those will be things that we use right after surgery or an initial injury, or they accidentally mess up their leg, which results in a soft tissue-type injury. But for things like arthritis that we will be treating for the long haul, there are medications that we can safely use, especially if we're monitoring them as far as blood levels and things go. But some medications can be used reasonably safely long-term to keep your dog comfortable.

Why is it important not to give my dog medications without speaking to the veterinarian first?

It is vital, as doing so will make my job a lot harder and hurt your dog more than helping your dog. Although there is cross-over with human medications, they're not the same dose, or they are also not the same as how the dog absorbs them. Many human pain medications don't cross over, so we don't ever recommend giving anything over the counter as far as pain control goes, especially without talking to your veterinarian. It can end up causing GI ulceration or kidney failure. We don't recommend using any human medications without first consulting your veterinarian.

What tricks can I use to give my dog medicine?

There are many tricks for giving dogs medication. So with Jacks here, in particular, Jackson loves treats. And so we can pretty much offer him medication in about any of these, and he will be more than willing to take them. Peanut butter is a great one. You stick the peanut butter right in the roof of your dog's mouth. And they will more than likely be happy about that. And you just have the pill right in with that. And then the same thing goes for these soft-forming treats. We use lean treats, but there are pill pockets as well. And even some marshmallows. So little tricks like that are going to be a hidden thing for your dog.

If your dog is a food allergy type dog and can't receive things along the lines of normal types of treats and peanut butter, you can get vegan marshmallows. Those are a great alternative that you can put a pill in your dog's mouth—pop that marshmallow in their mouth, and hopefully, you won’t have to force anything down.

One thing that we can use if your dog is not the most cooperative for tricks with the food is a pill popper. You just stick the pill right in the very tip of this, a soft kind of rubber. So once you stick the pill in there, you actually will just open your dog's mouth and pop it right down the back of their throat.

Where should I get my dog's medications refilled?

Most of your dog's medication should be refilled at your veterinarian's office. We can call some medications into a human pharmacy, but we have to make sure that we're calling in the proper dosing and all of that. And they can offer refills as well. But many of those will have to be refilled at your vet's office.

There are online pharmacies. The one that we recommend is the one associated with your veterinarian. Many of the medications that we see in other online pharmacies can't be guaranteed where they come from, and they can be counterfeit products. So you always want to be as safe as possible with your dog's medications and make sure you're getting them from your veterinarian or an approved pharmacy of your veterinarian.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 202-3641, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Medications - FAQs

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

Do I always need to seek the guidance of a veterinarian when giving my dog medicine?

In short, yes. While there are medications out there that are relatively safe for dogs, most of the time, you do want to reach out to your veterinarian because not every dog is the same.

Can I give aspirin or NSAIDs to my dog?

You can give doggy NSAIDs to your dog. Still, I do not recommend giving any human medications to your dog as far as aspirin or NSAIDs go without first consulting your veterinarian. Most of them will do more harm than good.

What are the medicines that my vet can prescribe if my dog is in pain?

We have the dog version of NSAIDs that are safer than most of the human medications that we can give as far as NSAIDs go. We can also do some other stronger pain medications, such as Gabapentin and Tramadol. Those are going to be things that we can do for more of the human side of medications. And then, we also have other medications that we can do long-term to help control the pain.

Where can I get medication for my dog?

I generally recommend getting the medication straight from your veterinarian, or if it is a human medication, we can call that into a human pharmacy a lot of the time. Still, I don't generally recommend any online pharmacies unless it's one associated with us. Because you can run into some counterfeit products, and you don't want to risk your animal's health for that.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.