Over-the-Counter Products That Are Dangerous For Your Pets

Other OTC Products to Skip

Tear supplements with antibiotics: Dogs with chronically dry eyes (commonly a problem in short-faced dogs with protruding eyes) need tear supplements to help with lubrication and keep them comfortable. But read the label: Some of these products contain neomycin, an antibacterial that should be administered under the advice of your veterinarian only.


Alcohol-based ear treatments: Alcohol burns and inflames the sensitive tissues of the ear canal while drying them out, which actually makes problem ears worse. And yet, a quick internet search will show you all kinds of “home remedy” sites encouraging its use. (Along with gentian violet, another Internet “cure” that’s not recommended by veterinarians.) If your pet has an ear infection, you need to take him to your veterinarian. After that is resolved, you can use a veterinary-recommended cleaner on a regular basis to help keep the ears clean and healthy.

Hydrogen peroxide: While commonly, effectively and safely used to induce vomiting in dogs (and as part of a recipe to eliminate skunk smell), hydrogen peroxide should not be used on wounds. The fizz created when it interacts with tissue makes it seem like something good is happening, hydrogen peroxide, in fact, inflames the healthy skin around a wound, which increases healing time. And recent studies have shown that it’s not even an effective antibacterial.


Steroid creams: We all know how miserable itching makes us, and when your dog is scratching, you’re almost as miserable as he is, just from watching and listening. But don’t just slap a steroid cream on the itchy spot; you may be making an infection worse, or you may just be wasting your money. Your veterinarian has many ways to help stop the itch, but the problem needs to be correctly diagnosed before any of them will work properly.

While these are products you should never use on your pet, there are some over-the-counter medications that are safe and effective for cats and dogs. Just remember, you must ALWAYS check with your veterinarian before giving your pet medication.

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