Monday, March 1, 2010

People products on pets

My sister and her family came out to my house over the weekend. When I pointed out my dog’s “medicine cabinet” to my sister, she looked at the many human products I had in there and said: “At this point in my dog’s life, I am beginning to realize that most things you use on your kids you can also use on your dog.”
What’s unfortunate is that it took nine years for her to begin realizing this, thanks mostly to a veterinarian who kept her in the dark because it was more lucrative for the vet.
I told her that and added: “Really, that’s why you should start going to my vet. He’s honest about that kind of stuff.”
For instance, rather than pay top-dollar for dog-specific glucosamine tablets — which come in such small dosages that I would’ve had to have given like 10 of them to my dog every day — my vet wrote me the dosage Sensi needed on a piece of paper and recommended I pick up a bottle of the for-human-consumption kind at Meijer. It was a huge savings.
I also keep Benadryl handy in case Sensi has a severe allergic reaction to something. I learned about this when he did have a severe allergic reaction to something and we had to take him to the emergency vet, where they gave him a shot of Benadryl and then directed us to pick up a box of the pills on our way home and give him one every three hours until the swelling subsided.
There are lots of products and medications out there that can be used on both people and dogs.
For instance, I’m putting Neosporin on the incision to Sensi’s ear to help it heal. I’ve long used hydrocortisone cream in different situations, and I’m using a little rubbing alcohol on a cottonball to help dry out his acne (an allergy-related thing).
In my opinion, a good veterinarian will suggest things like this to you because it helps you be equipped to respond to emergency situations and can help you better the overall health of your dog.
There is one BIG caveat to all this, though.
Don’t start playing doctor yourself and picking and choosing products to use on your dog without consulting with your veterinarian. There are lots of things in our households, like Tylenol, that can kill a dog. Before you use a human product on your dog, ask your vet.
If you’d like to keep Benadryl in stock for your dog, ask your veterinarian when you would use it and what dosage is appropriate for your dog. Same thing for glucosamine and any other products.
If your veterinarian is suggesting you start giving something to your dog daily, like glucosamine or another supplement, you may want to ask them if there’s a human alternative that could be lighter on the pocketbook.
Your veterinarian can also tell you the pros and cons of certain products. For instance, hydrocortisone is a form of a steriod and steriods can cause long term damage to a dog, so it’s something you want to use sparingly.
Moral of the story: Be wise to the fact that many human products can be used on our pets, but NEVER use something on your pet without first asking and getting some directions from your veterinarian.

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