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Process of giving a medicine injection to a small breed dog with a syringe

Dog Medications

Perhaps your dog has recently been prescribed some medications by your veterinarian to treat an ailment. You’re surely pleased to get your dog some relief, but, as dogs are part of our families, you’re also likely doing your due diligence as far as research. We’re glad you found us! At Veterinary Medical Center, we work extremely hard to bring you the accurate information you need, especially on a subject as serious as medications for your dog. To avoid getting misinformation from “Dr. Google,” we’ve taken FAQs on dog medications and answered them as thoroughly and accurately as possible to ensure you have the information you need. Although what we share below is factual, we always urge you to consult your own veterinarian on critical pet issues.

If you’re looking for a highly trained veterinarian in Union City, CA, we’d love to see your dog to ensure they’re getting the right medication for what’s ailing them, so if you have any concerns, please call us at (510) 441-8500.

How are medications used to treat my dog?

We use medications for dogs essentially the same way as in humans. Dog medications are something that we use every single day.

The various kinds of medications we use for dogs on a daily basis are:

  • Pills
  • Ointments
  • Liquids
  • Injections

Thankfully, many things are available to us to help your dog's health and use as part of preventative care and treatment regimens.

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

We use relatively similar products to what we use in humans much of the time—antibiotics, antifungals, and pain medications. We also use preventative care, such as 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, whether we’re dealing with an ear infection or the dog is coughing or vomiting. And while there is much variation, we are thankful to know that there are many different products on the market now that have been proven safe and effective for your dog.

Hand offering a pill to a dog

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 would be GI upset, especially if you don’t give the medications with a full meal. This is especially true of your antibiotics and antifungals—you want to make sure you're giving those with a meal the majority of the time because, just like us, if you don't, the dog may experience vomiting, an upset stomach, or diarrhea. In general, the dog is not feeling great. But usually, the side effects are pretty minimal, especially if you're making sure that you give the dog medications with a meal and using the correct dosage.

What do I need to know about drug interactions?

Many medications interact with each other. Because of these interactions, it's imperative that if you go to a veterinarian, especially if it's not your regular veterinarian and you're going to the ER, to let that veterinarian know what medications your dog is currently on or has recently been on. Even if your dog has been on medication and did not do well with it before, let them know.

Keep your receipts, as that can be handy if you're traveling and need to get into a veterinarian, as some drugs can interact and cause an upset stomach. It can also cause some of the medication not to be absorbed as well as it should be, or it can even make the medication be absorbed too well and cause some side effect issues as far as overdosing.

We definitely need to 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 giving too many medications together.

Can my dog be on medication long-term?

They can, although there are some medications that we prefer for dogs not to be on long-term. There are many long-term medications, especially in dogs with chronic issues that need 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 control things like daily seizures. There are also some pain medications that we prefer to be short-term. We use those things right after surgery or an initial injury, which results in a soft tissue-type injury. But for something like arthritis that we treat 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. Some medications can be used reasonably safely long-term to keep your dog comfortable.

Hand holding a pill for a small dog

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 them. Although there is cross-over with human medications, they're not the same dose, and the dog will also not absorb them in the same way. Many human pain medications can't cross over between humans and pets, so we don't ever recommend giving anything over the counter for pain control, 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. Peanut butter is a great one. You stick the pill in peanut butter and put that right in the roof of your dog's mouth, and they will more than likely be happy about that! And then the same thing goes for these soft-forming treats. You can use pill pockets and even marshmallows. If your dog is a food allergy-type dog and can't receive the typical treats and peanut butter, you can get vegan marshmallows. Those are great alternatives that you can use to hide the pill and then pop it into your dog’s mouth.

If your dog is not the most cooperative for tricks with the food, we can use a pill popper. You just stick the pill right in the very tip, a soft rubber. Once you stick the pill in there, you’ll 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. They may be able to call some medications into a human pharmacy, but they’d have to make sure that they're calling in the proper dosing. And vets can offer refills, but many of those will have to be refilled at their office.

There are also online pharmacies, but you should only use the one associated with your veterinarian. Many of the medications 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.

The AVMA is another excellent resource on pet medications. If you have further questions about dog medications, reach out to your veterinarian. If you live in or near Union City, CA, we’d love to see your dog, so please don’t hesitate to call us at (510) 441-8500 or email us at [email protected].

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