Can I give My Shih Tzu Human medicine: Benadryl, Aspirin and Others


When your dog is sick and you’ve got no canine medication in hand, you usually wonder if it is safe to give your dog a human pill you can easily find in your medicine chest. The right answer is: it depends on the one in hand, canine biochemistry (metabolism) is different from humans’. Thus pharmacodynamics (biochemical and physiological effects of drugs on the body or on microorganisms or parasites within or on the body and the mechanisms of drug action and the relationship between drug concentration and effect) of a drug in a dog’s and a human’s organisms will probably be not the same. On the other hand, some drugs have proved to be efficient for both humans and dogs.

The List

In fact, vets have already come up with a list of human medications you can apply to any dog, including Shih Tzu:

  • Benadryl;
  • Antibiotic ointments;
  • Aspirin;
  • Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate);
  • Gas-X (Simethicone);
  • Glucosamine;
  • Hydrocortisone;
  • Hydrogen peroxide;
  • Imodium (Loperamide);
  • Kaopectate;
  • Nasal sprays (not all of them!);
  • Pepto-Bismol;
  • Tagamet.


Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine that helps to fight off swelling and itching caused by allergic reaction on environment, bites or stings. Also it can be applied in long-term allergy treatment and pre-treatment of vaccination reaction. The adequate dosage is 1 mg per pound of weight, two or three times a day.

Antibiotic Ointments

Ointments, such as Neosporin, can be put on treat bites, small wounds or minor infections. Before applying, wash the wound with water and soap. Dogs should not lick the medicine off.


Good old fashioned Aspirin can be used to relief inflammation and pain if given (with food) once or twice a day. ½ baby aspirin should be enough for a Shih Tzu, unless it weighs more than 10 pounds. If it does, apply a whole baby pill.
Replacing Aspirin with Tylenol or Advil is inacceptable.


Dramamine is an antihistamine helping to fight off motion sickness. Give Dramamine about half hour before departure. The adequate dosage is 1.9 – 3.6 mg/lb.


Gas-X aka Simethicone can soothe symptoms of bloating. Like other medication, the adequate dosage of this one depends on how much a dog weighs. ¼ adult dose is enough for a small Shih Tzu.


Glucosamine treats arthritis and joint-pain. 750 mg (1 capsule) every two days should be enough for Shih Tzu, though the precise dosage (and the necessity of use) should be defined by a vet.


This medication relieves raw, itchy or irritated skin. Applied topically up to 2 times a day.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a measure to clean scrapes or induce vomiting (couple of teaspoons is enough). However you should be aware that this drug is less efficient in cleaning liaisons than antibacterial soap and that you would rather refrain from inducing vomiting if not under a vet’s care.


Imodium aka Loperamide is a drug that can be used for canine diarrhea and bowel inflammation treatment. Since the adequate dosage of this drug is 1tsp/20lbs, half a teaspoon should be enough for an average Shih Tzu. Apply the dose once 4-6 hours until full recovery.


Kaopectate, mixture of Kaolin and Pectin is also prescribed in case of canine diarrhea. The adequate dosage is 1ml per pound of bodyweight for every four hours.

Nasal Sprays

Pediatric nasal sprays and saline nasal sprays can be used to soothe dryness and nasal congestion caused by a cold.


This drug which is typically given to children with upset stomachs can be given to dogs. Administer 2 tbsp. for 20 pounds of bodyweight, preferably in mixture with honey to make it easy to feed.


Pepto-Bismol is a gastric medication too. It is applied to treat stomach upset and vomiting. The dosage is a teaspoon per 20 pounds of bodyweight every 4-6 hours for an entire day or until recovery.


Reduces the volume of stomach acids. ¼ tablet can be given to Shih Tzu suffering from ulcers, belly ache or acid reflux once or twice a day.


In summary, there are dozens of human drugs that can come in handy if your dog feels sick. Nevertheless, you should consult your vet to know for sure whether one of them will actually be useful or detrimental for your particular pet.

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Author of Silvia Brown
Written by Silvia Brown
Glad to see you, my friends! I started this blog several years ago as a hobby and continue to write articles about dogs.
I'm a dog lover and the proud owner of two wonderful dogs: French Bulldog Maya and Beagle Tom. It's been more than 10 years since I had a dogs and worked closely with them. I've raised four dogs throughout my life and have experience assisting in the births of two dogs. At least once a week, I volunteer with friends at a dog shelter AMA Animal Rescue and Animal Care Centers of NYC in NY.
Medically reviewed by Awilda Rodriguez, DVM on April 5th, 2016,

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Sharon Strickland
Sharon Strickland
2 years ago

This answered all my questions of what I can give my puppy! Bella is 6 yrs old and I love her so much. Vet said I could use benadryl but give me the dosage on a paper that got wet and smeared. Thank you!

Reply to  Sharon Strickland
2 years ago

Sharon Strickland, I’m glad that it helped you

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