What Are the Most Prescribed Drugs for Dogs

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    Everyday, dogs are prescribed medication for a variety of reasons and ailments which are for lessening the effects of symptoms and for treating ailments. But do you know which are the most common medications prescribed for dogs? It’s important to be knowledgeable about different types of medication your dog may be prescribed in order to ask the right questions to the vet and know if you’re comfortable with giving it to your dog. Here are the five most common medications prescribed to dogs:

    1. Metronidazole

    What is Metronidazole?

    Metronidazole is a powerful antidiarrheal antibiotic that is also sold under the brand names Flagyl, Metizol, Protostat, Metrogel, and others. As well as treating bacterial infections in people, it is used to treat various diseases and disorders in dogs, cats and horses. In many cases, it is administered together with other antibiotics. 

    There are two ways to take metronidazole: orally or externally. For dogs, doctors commonly prescribe metronidazole even though it has not been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for veterinary use (it is allowed for human use).

    What is it Prescribed For?

    Metronidazole is often used to treat bacterial infections, as well as some parasites, but it’s also used to treat a variety of other conditions and their symptoms. Those include:

    What are the Side Effects of Metronidazole in Dogs?

    Common side effects of Metronidazole in dogs include: 

    • Diarrhea
    • Drooling
    • Fatigue
    • Loss of appetite
    • Regurgitation
    • Nausea/vomiting
    • Fever
    • Discolored urine

    While it’s important to watch for side effects, it’s also important to watch for signs of overdosing. Dogs who have received too much will need emergency care if they show signs of:

    • Seizures
    • Stiffness or muscle spasms
    • Irregular or abnormally slow heartbeat
    • Dilated pupils or eye twitching
    • Tremors

    2. Famotidine

    What is Famotidine?

    Famotidine, also known as Pepcid or Apo-Famotidine, is used to treat several gastrointestinal diseases. The medication acts by attaching to receptors in the stomach lining, resulting in a reduction in stomach acid production. It is believed that ulcers are caused by stomach acid or infections, such as the H. pylori bacterium. A gastrointestinal ulcer can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be very hazardous. It is possible to prevent ulcers from developing by reducing stomach acid production. If your dog is suffering from gastritis or ulcerative colitis then this product may be right for you. 

    Veterinarians can safely prescribe it despite the fact that it is not FDA authorized for use in animals. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions before administering any medicine to your dog.

    What is it Prescribed For?

    Famotidine is given for gastrointestinal ailments in dogs and some others including:

    What are the Side Effects of Famotidine in Dogs?

    With any medication ,it’s important to note and report to your vet any side effects. Common side effects of Famotidine include:

    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Loss of appetite
    • Drowsiness
    • Headache

    Signs of an overdose of Famotidine in dogs include: 

    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Low blood pressure
    • Irregular heartbeat
    • Difficulty breathing

    3. Diphenhydramine

    What is Diphenhydramine?

    Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine sold usually under the name Benadryl and is a medication commonly prescribed for both dogs and humans. Diphenhydramine blocks histamine receptors in the body. As a result, itching, sneezing and itching-like symptoms are relieved. As long as the receptor antagonist is present in the body, histamine will not be detected.

    Dogs and cats may safely take Benadryl, even if the FDA hasn’t authorized it yet. 

    What is it Prescribed For?

    Benadryl is often prescribed for the following: 

    What are the Side Effects of Diphenhydramine in Dogs?

    Benadryl is usually a safe drug for dogs to take but should still be taken under advisory of a vet. Be sure to watch out for the following common side effects:

    • Increased heart rate
    • Drowsiness
    • Hyper-salivation
    • Dry mouth
    • Rapid breathing
    • Urinary retention

    Rare side effects include:

    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Decreased appetite
    • Increased appetite

    Signs of Benadryl overdose to watch out for:

    • Agitation
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Seizures
    • Constipation
    • Dilated pupils

    4. Doxepin

    What is Doxepin?

    Doxepin is a medication usually sold under the names Adapin, Anten, Aponal, Deptran and Zonalon. It is a tricyclic antidepressant and antihistamine used to treat psychogenic dermatoses with an anxiety component. 

    It is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’ to use it to treat psychogenic dermatoses and allergies in dogs. In veterinary medicine, off-label usage of several medicines is frequent. Take note of your veterinarian’s instructions, since they may change substantially from those on the label.

    What is it Prescribed For?

    Doxepin is used for treating psychiatric disorders in dogs. The most common condition it’s prescribed for are:

    What are the Side Effects of Doxepin in Dogs?

    The most common side effects of Doxepin in dogs are:

    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation
    • Dry mouth
    • Difficulty urinating
    • Decreased appetite

    Owners should especially watch out for more serious side effects, which is usually associated with higher doses, and stop medication immediately if dogs show signs of:

    • Excitability
    • Abnormal heart beats
    • Coma
    • Collapsing
    • Abnormal bleeding
    • Seizures
    • Fever

    5. Tramadol

    What is Tramadol?

    Tramadol, sold under the brand names Ultram, ConZip, Durela, Ralivia, Rybix, Ryzolt, Tridural and Zytram, is an opioid used for pain relief in dogs. But pain relief is actually considered ‘off label’ and when used for this, follow your veterinarian’s instructions as they will likely differ from that on the packaging. 

    Tramadol is a part of the opioid family, which implies that it affects the transmission and perception of pain in people and animals. As a result of tramadol’s effect on the brain, norepinephrine and serotonin levels rise in the dog’s circulation, creating a similar sensation of euphoria and well-being to that experienced by human patients.

    What is it Prescribed For?

    Tramadol, like most opioids, is used to alleviate pain. Tramadol is recommended by the Merck Veterinary Manual for treating “acute and chronic pain of moderate to severe severity.” This could imply anything from helping your dog recover from surgery to managing the pain associated with osteoarthritis when combined with other medications.

     

    If your dog is in pain due to any of the following conditions, your veterinarian may prescribe tramadol:

    • Cancer
    • Osteoarthritis
    • IVDD
    • Post-operative pain
    • General pain from an injury or ailment 
    • Lameness

    Less common conditions:

    • Anxiety
    • Canine degenerative myelopathy
    • Coughing

    What are the Side Effects of Tramadol in Dogs?

    The most common side effects of Tramadol in dogs to look out for include:

    • Sedation
    • Tremors
    • Anxiety
    • Decreased appetite
    • Dizziness
    • Vomiting
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea 

    More adverse effects as well as signs of Tramadol overdose include:

    • Extreme drowsiness
    • Incoordination
    • Seizures
    • Agitation
    • Rapid heartbeat

    If your dog is experiencing more adverse side effects and signs of overdose, stop administering medication immediately and contact your veterinarian.

    Please note, no medications should be administered without veterinary approval from your primary veterinarian.

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