I asked this:


In order to prevent the human medicine question appearing for every pet there is, e.g [...], I asked the general question [...]. Either the former ones are then duplicates of the general one, or the latter is too broad - which one should it be?"

Can I give human medicine to chickens?
Can I use human medicine on dogs?
Can I give my cat human medicine?

What do people think?

  • chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/10964/conversation/…
    – user87
    Oct 16, 2013 at 16:00
  • Shame this is downvoted, we need to sort this issue out
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:25
  • I downvoted because I disagree with the solution you propose in the question, not because I think we shouldn't discuss the topic itself.
    – Baarn
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:39
  • 1
    Meta-downvotes merely mean disagreement, not uselessness. In this case I suspect they mean "On the contrary, there should not be one question per species but rather the parent one to catch them all" Oct 17, 2013 at 11:18
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    @TobiasKienzler I understand this on SMO, but when I encouraged a downvote on a Q here, it was recommended to only downvote the answers.. meta.pets.stackexchange.com/questions/311/…
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:30
  • @baa it wasn't intended to be an answer or solution, it was an attempt to broach the subject. I haven't worded it well then. Please feel free to edit the Q to be more useful, I'd be happy
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:31
  • Actually, I'll take a break from Meta. None of the recent posts I've made has one positive score. So I'm not helping. Talk to you guys tomorrow cheers
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:33
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    Yeah, it's a bit problematic; votes on discussions should indicate whether the discussion is worth participating in. I can't suggest an edit on meta, but maybe a reformulation à la "In order to prevent the human medicine question appearing for every pet there is, e.g [...], I asked the general question [...]. Either the former ones are then duplicates of the general one, or the latter is too broad - which one should it be?" Oct 17, 2013 at 11:34
  • @tob merci beaucoup
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:42
  • de rien - though I meant the [...]s to be replaced by the links you already provided Oct 17, 2013 at 11:54
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    @tob hahahahahhaha it's too late, I want to provide another answer on beta and need to get off meta.. it's just trying to steer this site in the best possible direction before we go live ... it will only be harder than, if our direction is not clear. Mind you I think it will be
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:56
  • @tob a bientot / a demain
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:56
  • 1
    Yeah, meta can be hooking :P Oct 17, 2013 at 11:57
  • 1
    @Skippy, I think part of the problem you're running into here is that you ask a question and, in the question, propose a solution. So if I think the question should be discussed I should upvote, except that if I upvote people will think that's endorsement of the proposed solution, which I might disagree with. I think meta discussions will work better if the question just asks a question, and then you can offer your answer in an answer. That way the voting will be clearer. Sound good? Oct 17, 2013 at 14:21
  • @mon perfect, this is the sort of feedback that is helpful. I'm really not good on meta, just really interested in reviewing content on beta, but need meta at this very early stage
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 14:26

6 Answers 6


All of these questions are far too broad. The chicken question names certain medications (which is positive regarding the broadness). But, what's next?

Can I give human medicine to my snail?
Can I give human medicine to my fish?
Can I give human medicine to my rats?
Can I give human medicine to my mice?
Can I give human medicine to my ferret?
Can I give human medicine to my donkey?
Can I give human medicine to my horse?

The answer to all these questions is somewhat the same (it always boils down to consult your vet). We should question if we really want these questions on our site as we are unable to give expert advice other than "consult your vet".

All these questions lack certain crucial point, they don't state a problem we can solve, just a theoretical question. "Questions should be based on actual problems that you face".

To answer all the questions above we only need one question:
"Can I give human medicine to my pet?".

This question might look like it is too broad, as the only answer can possible be "consult your vet" with maybe some added examples how different medication has a different effect on different pets compared to humans. Still I think it is better having one too broad question which we can use to close all other questions as duplicates of, than to have all those far too broad questions I posted above.

I propose to make the question Community Wiki with the following title and text:

Can I give my pet human medicine?
Is it safe to use human medicine on my pet?
Does medicine have the same effect on pets as it has on humans?
How much medicine should I give to the pet, do the guidelines for humans translate to my pet (eg: if the dosage refers to the body weight)
My veterinarian prescribed my pet some medicine, it is medicine for humans, is it safe to give this medicine to my pet?

  • This answer is a bit glib don't you think, when the number 1-3 poisonings of dogs and cats is human medication? There was no issue with the god medicine post, and it was well received
    – user87
    Oct 16, 2013 at 10:29
  • 1
    The number of up votes does not mean that a question is a good format for the site, just that it is popular with many users. Is it really necessary to have a question on cats and dogs if the answer is the same?
    – Baarn
    Oct 16, 2013 at 10:33
  • the original dog question was discussed at length, I am not referring to the votes, so please do not assume why I am saying something, as to the content, it is different, but most sources give the same information, and it does vary from dogs to cats, as to snails etc, I doubt the questions would be asked.
    – user87
    Oct 16, 2013 at 10:36
  • I can't find anything on meta specifically on that dog question.
    – Baarn
    Oct 16, 2013 at 10:43

Currently all these questions are on hold and I thought, maybe this is a good thing, as it stops people from adding all their personal experience and tips for using human medicine on animals. This way we have taken a stance. And as a community decided these questions are off topic, but have these questions to point new users to.

I really don't want to see this site becoming a dumping ground for anecdotal evidence, personal opinions, old wives tales (pardon the gender pun, but I'm a woman, so no insult meant to women), or downright dangerous advice.

It could be argued in a million ways, how someone has a friend of a friend who gave their cat or dog this medication and it worked a treat. Quite frankly, without a resident Vet overseeing the site, it is too much to bear with. The internet is often run by popular opinion and to often popular opinion is wrong (I am not referring to our Private Beta community - we are amazing :))). We want better than ordinary here. I feel (as others do) like a watch dog on here for misinformation.

These things need to be clearly defined. Medical advice really is of topic. As is switching medicine between species. Liken it to this: If it was a paediatric site, would people tolerate the question, I have some ear drops for my dog that really cleared up glue like ear. Can I use it on my 7 year old. Converse works also.

  • 3
    Closing them as "too broad" does however give the impression that asking something like "Can I give Aspirin to my cat" would be specific enough to be on-topic. We should rather clarify that we cannot and will not replace medical advice by a professional, and as such it might be a better idea to have the master question present but closed and/or locked by a mod so all future spawns of this subject can simply be dupe-closed Oct 17, 2013 at 9:56
  • @TobiasKienzler I understand. I don't have the answer shrugs Just throwing up suggestions. And I appreciate your input cheers
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:20

"Can I give human medicine..." is too broad whether it ends with "pet" or "dog"/"cat"/"snail"/etc. Human medicine is too broad.

If questions about specific human medicines are on-topic, then the answers probably vary by type of pet; maybe such-and-such drug is routinely used for cats and poisonous to lizards. So if questions of this type are acceptable they need to specify both the medicine and the species. See this question about the broader issue of medical questions.

The questions we have now are not good examples and should remain closed. If there are any useful answers among them (I haven't reviewed), perhaps they should all be merged into one "medicine/pets" question, non-useful ones deleted, and the whole thing put under a historical lock.


The question Can I use human medicine on dogs? has been edited ask if someone should follow the advice of their Doctor. My first response was Yikes! Doctor vs Internet. Then I thought about how wrong some of the recommendations by vets unfamiliar with somethings are. I am begining to lean towards we should allow if the question is asking for validate reference (not opinions of the internet).

  • well the hearsay advice of a family doctor for veterinary advice. It's a can of worms. Truly.. without enough experts here, I am concerned that we could have some really bad advice here
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:19
  • 1
    @Skippy Concur - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:58
  • @Skippy we have a mechanism for handling bad advice, down votes and comments if it is dangerous as well as bad.
    – user9
    Oct 17, 2013 at 19:42
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    @chad I understand this. This is private beta and warrants discussion about these issues, without the usual SE SMO style blurb. This is the time for the community to decide what sort of answers it wants.
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 20:15
  • With a lack of expertise currently on the site, bad answers are being voted up. See the recent meta post about copy paste link one liner answers
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 20:18
  • @Skippy my point is that there is already a mechanism for handling it... lets use those rather than trying to censor before there is a problem... But i guess you do not want me to be part of the discussion.
    – user9
    Oct 17, 2013 at 21:30
  • @chad don't be ridiculous, I have praised your feedback several times and with an actual meta Q, so don't take a differing opinion as a personal affront. You're too intelligent for that and we should be able to have a healthy debate to thrash out ideas in private beat
    – user87
    Oct 18, 2013 at 3:56
  • Its not the differing opinion it was the lecture of - This is private beta and warrants discussion about these issues after I stated that we already had a mechanism to deal with it
    – user9
    Oct 18, 2013 at 13:51

On the contrary, I suggest leaving this question intact as parent to all "Can I give human medicine to my cat/dog/dolphin" questions - as the answer there notes, you should absolutely not feed human medicine to any pet without Veterinary advise, and I'm pretty sure there is no pet for which the answer is anything but "It's call human medicine for a reason"

  • 1
    I understand and kind of agree it might be a good idea, maybe just have them all linked? I posted a second answer
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 9:53
  • @Skippy Yes, having them linked via the dupe-close mechanism should be the best way. The remaining question would be whether the parent question should be closed as off-topic or be left open (but maybe locked so it doesn't turn into a "but I was allowed to give Aspirin to my Elephant once"-thread) Oct 17, 2013 at 9:58
  • I think we keep it closed as being too broad. To prevent additions. I just added links to the other questions.
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:02
  • 1
    @Skippy The thing is, we should set the standard while in private beta, and even though in general keeping a question closed is better than re-closing it (in order to keep additional answers from pouring in), at least in the beginning the standard needs to be established. At least in my opinion, "too broad" is the wrong reason and would later on motivate more specific yet still off-topic questions - maybe a more general "no medication questions" policy should be considered anyway (though that would be too strict since tricks to give pills etc should be on-topic) Oct 17, 2013 at 10:08
  • They are all currently on hold . I agree this should be settled, which is why I keep drawing attention to it. Shame this Q has downvotes, it's a good question, as we need to solve it.
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:19
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    I also do not know what the definitive answer should be, we need more community votes
    – user87
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:20

I think we can definitely have these questions for the most common types of pet - dogs and cats should certainly be there.

I also think there's good reason to separate them out - I don't recall the details off-hand and I'm at work (yes, before 7-30am my time) right now so I can't really research this, but I'm pretty certain that there are some human medications dogs can have safely which cats can't, and vice versa (provided that dosages are adjusted for body weight, of course).

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