published Monday, February 13th, 2012

How to treat your pets with over-the-counter drugs

Not every malady that befalls our pets needs a veterinarian's attention, but most pet owners aren't equipped to make that judgment call.

A new book from Dr. Robert Ridgway, a veterinarian at Orange County Animal Services in Orlando, Fla., is meant to broaden that know-how, said publicist Cindy Dashnaw in a news release from

"How To Treat Your Dogs and Cats With Over-the-Counter Drugs," she said, provides safe, tried-and-true alternatives to high-priced pet medicines.

• Does your dog have motion sickness? Don't risk death by sedating him for the trip, Ridgway advises. Benadryl, given in the correct amount, is the over-the-counter treatment of choice.

• Is your pet's mouth inflamed? Try replacing a plastic food or water bowl with one made of a non-plastic material. Many pets are allergic to the compounds found in plastic bowls.

• Is your pet having trouble keeping medicine down? Give the proper dose of Pepcid AC 30 to 40 minutes before giving the medicine.

• Tired of paying hundreds of dollars a year for heartworm medicine? An OTC drug made for pigs and cows, given in the proper doses, works just as well.

Ridgway said he created the book to help pet owners take better care of the animals that are dependent on them.

"I work in a shelter, and I see the worst of everything," he said. "Sometimes a pet gets a small thing wrong with it, and people will drop them off at a shelter instead of taking them to a vet and risking a huge bill. Using this book, they could treat the pet inexpensively and keep it in the family."

The book is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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