Skip to Content

Dog Medication Side Effects You Need to be Aware of

Helpful or harmful? Some dog medications can have serious side effects! While medications are necessary from time to time, dog owners need to make an informed choice when it comes to giving certain dog medications. Let’s take a look at the possible dog medication side effects so that you can make an informed decision.

Dog Medication Side Effects You Need to be Aware of


Prednisone, Prednisolone, and Dexamethasone: These are corticosteroid steroid hormones that are given to dogs.

These steroids mimic the effects of natural cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands.

They are generally prescribed by a vet in cases such as:

  • Itchy dogs: Prednisone and Dexamethasone may be used to treat excessive itching in dogs.
  • Asthma and Allergy: These meds are said to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Controlling rejections: During or after organ transplants or other dog surgery, Prednisone and Dexamethasone may be prescribed.
  • Dog Arthritis: Prednisone is a popular medicine used for the treatment of pain associated with dog arthritis.

The dog medication side effects may include abnormal thirst and urination levels in the dog, increased blood sugar, and a compromised immune system which may possibly lead to increased infections and kidney disorders.

Prolonged use of the above meds may have more deleterious side effects such as ulcers, pain, inflammation in the pancreas, diabetes, mood swings, degeneration of the muscles, and thinning of the skin.

Used continually for more than a week it may result in the permanently impaired functioning of the adrenal glands.

Dog taking medication from a syringe

Pain Killers

Aspirin: Aspirin can cause gastrointestinal upsets and ulcers with continual use, the same as in humans.

It can cause renal failure if overdosed.

Other, less serious side effects can include diarrhea, tiredness, depression, appetite loss, and vomiting.

The dosage depends on the size of the dog but 1 aspirin tablet per 32 pounds of dog body weight, twice a day can safely be given, although not for extended periods of time.

Ibuprofen: Sometimes given to dogs (ONLY UNDER VET SUPERVISION, as it can be toxic to dogs), is a human pain medicine.

Side effects can cause renal failure, blood in the stool, dehydration, stomach pain, vomiting, weakness and/or renal failure.

NSAID Meds for Dog Arthritis

A popular NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) prescription medicine for the treatment of dog arthritis is Rymadil.

Other NSAID dog meds include Metacam and EtoGesic.

NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation as well as kidney and/or liver problems.

Always keep the vet informed of any kidney or liver problems the dog may have or may have had in the past.

Small dog taking a pill

Antihistamine Remedies for Dogs

Chlorpheniramine, Clemastine, and Hydroxyzine are antihistamines for dogs that come in tablet form.

Used to treat dogs with allergies, food products, or fleas, side effects include drowsiness, tiredness, lethargy, or diarrhea.

Hydroxyzine may cause nausea or seizures in dogs.

If any illness, allergy, or skin condition manifests itself, the dog should be taken to a qualified veterinarian for a full evaluation before ANY medication is administered.


Saturday 10th of December 2022

really should be known about more

Marisela Zuniga

Sunday 27th of November 2022

thank you for sharing this information

Jeanna Massman

Sunday 27th of November 2022

Thanks for the pertinent information. All pet owners should be aware of these side effects.

Molli Taylor

Saturday 26th of November 2022

my dogs are not on meds but i petsit a lot of dogs that are so this is good info!


Saturday 26th of November 2022

This was super important and educational for pet parents to read. Thank you for sharing this one I learned a lot.

Love these woofs?

Help spread our waggie tales. You're pawesome for doing it!