We frequently (as in more than once a night) receive phone calls from owners wanting to know if they can give their pet any of a myriad of drugs: Benadryl, Tylenol, aspirin, and the like. Our standard reply is that we do not recommend giving anything over the counter and that if the owner is concerned enough about it that they are considering medications, the pet should probably be seen.
Why is that the party line, you probably wonder?
Because owners are often totally clueless as to what is going on. For instance, "my dog's face is swollen. Can I give him some Benadryl?" Said dog's face COULD be swollen due to an allergic reaction, but it could also be a snake bite (been there, seen that). Or the dog that was in a "little fight" (see below) that needs pain medications. Turns out the dog is laterally recumbent and non-responsive when the owner decides to bring it in.
This post at my friend's blog is an excellent tale that highlights WHY we don't like to give out advice over the phone to patients we have never seen. If you're worried enough to want to medicate, why not have the pet checked out - just to be safe??
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