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6 Common Puppy Medications and Their Side Effects

What are some of the most common medications for pups? Here's a list of common medications and side effects to look out for.

Written by: Arden Moore

Last Updated on February 2, 2024 by Dogster Team

A Beagle dog on the floor looking sick.

6 Common Puppy Medications and Their Side Effects

With the understanding that medications can impact dogs differently, here is a rundown of some common drugs given to dogs and some possible side effects to watch for:

The 6 Common Puppy Medications

1. Antibiotics

Some dogs can develop diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, rashes or hives.

2. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories

Long-term use of NSAIDs can cause kidney damage. Some dogs can develop a tolerance over time and require higher dosages to fight off pain.

3. Antiparasitics

These medications are used to kill fleas, ticks and other parasites. Some dogs can experience a reduced appetite, vomiting or diarrhea after receiving this medicine. If you accidentally give too large of a dose, it can cause toxicity in key organs and even death. Always give the listed dose based on your dog’s weight.

4. Antihistamines

Some dogs are given over-the-counter human antihistamines to stop itching or to reduce swelling from an insect bite. But side effects can include drowsiness, dry mouth, lack of appetite and hyperactivity.

5. Buspirone

This behavior-modifying drug is given to treat generalized anxiety. However, it can cause increased agitation or aggressive behavior in
some dogs.

6. Insulin for diabetes

Some dogs can be allergic to insulin manufactured from pork products and exhibit swelling of the tongue, face and lips and experience difficulty breathing. Some dogs can develop insulin resistance that can lead to liver and kidney damage.

Thumbnail: Photography ©alex_ugalek | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Editor’s note: This article appeared in Puppies, a special issue from Dogster magazine. Look for Puppies on a newsstand near you! 

About the author

Arden Moore, The Pet Health and Safety Coach™, is a pet behavior consultant, master certified pet first aid instructor, author and host of the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. Learn more at

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