Sometimes our doctor advises us to use to use human medicines for our dogs. For example, when my sister's Labrador was small, the doctor advised us to administer children's syrup for stomach disorder.
Is this good advice or should we ignore it?
Never give pets human medication unless advised by your local Veterinarian.
People may be tempted to try and save money, by bypassing a trip to the Vet or paying for expensive Veterinary medications and products. Unfortunately the cost of looking after our pets can be high, but to try and help our pets with well meaning shortcuts, by using human products and medications is not a viable solution.
Animals metabolise drugs differently from human beings and differently between species. What may be effective in a human being, may be harmful or potentially fatal for a dog.
It's important never to assume:
An important note to make is, although many medications may be the same that is used for a pet and a human, it is important not to dose a pet based on the dosage given to a person. It is not just a weight by weight correlation, different species may require a varying dose per weight, as they have different metabolisms.
The only exception:
On the written advice of a Veterinarian:
Our vet has suggested we use specific human over-the-counter medicine on our dog in specific cases, however she has also said we need to pay careful attentions to dosages.
The most common specific case is Benadryl for allergy relief, and I know others who have been told the same. Children's Benadryl is preferred but they don't make that in pill form anymore, so we either have to get him to take a liquid syrup or cut an adult Benadryl in half.
I can't speak for Children's cough syrup though as I don't have any direct experience, but based on some outside references, it is ok for a minor case for very short time periods. It should be avoided however because cough syrups suppress the cough but do not treat the condition causing the cough, and hence could delay treatment for a more serious problem.
One of my most common human OTC medications, pain relievers, are a big no-no though. A dogs liver cannot process pain relievers the same way human's can, so it can kill them or at least damage their stomach or liver, especially Advil/Mortin (Ibuprofen) and Tylenol (Acetaminophen). Aspirin, specifically buffered Aspirin, is the safest of the 3 and it is still not recommended.
When in doubt, don't do it. Always ask your vet.
I would say any human medicine is for exactly that... for humans only. Any usage of human medicine on any other species probably hasn't been widely tested. I doubt many humans would be willing to take medicine/drugs that were originally created for a dog/monkey/giraffe/fish without first consulting a doctor.
Any direction of use of human medicine should be given from someone with direct knowledge of the situation and has the training and/or background to make educated decisions (i.e. veterinarian)