Can I give my dog Tylenol? While Tylenol is found in certain veterinary medications, you should never give over-the-counter Tylenol to dogs, unless instructed by your veterinarian.
Why? Read on to learn more about the right and wrong times to give Tylenol.
What Is Tylenol?
Tylenol is the most common over-the-counter brand of a drug called acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is also known as paracetamol and generic versions are known as this in Europe.
Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain medication and fever reducing drug. It is not a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). How it exactly works in the body is still unknown. It is commonly used in humans as a pain reliever and fever reducer.
Recently, human pediatric experts have stated that acetaminophen does not work any better than placebo to control pain in infants. In dogs, acetaminophen can reach toxic levels much quicker than in humans.
Can Dogs Take Tylenol?
Dogs can take Tylenol at recommended dosages, but there are many cases of acetaminophen toxicity in dogs caused by pets finding and chewing on a bottle of pills, or pet owners giving Tylenol to dogs without being instructed to by their vets.
Veterinarians sometimes prescribe combination products for arthritis pain that contain acetaminophen and a narcotic, such as hydrocodone (known as Vicodin). Tramadol and acetaminophen is also a possible combination.
Veterinarians also use acetaminophen combination medications to control chronic pain in dogs with kidney problems, as it is a safer alternative to NSAIDs.
Can Tylenol Hurt My Dog?
Dogs do not metabolize Tylenol as well as humans and it does not control pain very well when given alone. However, Tylenol is safer than many other human over-the-counter pain medications. It should only be given at recommended dosages, under careful veterinary supervision.
Ask your veterinarian if Tylenol is right for your dog and in what circumstances you can give it at home.
Because Tylenol is not used very often in veterinary medicine, experience with side effects at safe doses is limited. Vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, liver and kidney problems have been reported at recommended doses.
Do not give your dog Tylenol if he is taking chemotherapy drugs, as interactions can occur.
Even though this article focuses on dogs:
DO NOT EVER GIVE TYLENOL TO CATS! It is toxic to cats at ANY DOSE!
Acetaminophen toxicity happens when a dog is accidentally overdosed. This commonly happens when they chew or eat a bottle of the owner’s medication. Also, well-meaning owners can accidentally give too much Tylenol. DO NOT give more than your veterinarian prescribes or recommends!
Problems associated with Tylenol toxicity include:
- Facial swelling
- Swollen paws
- Excessive drooling
- Severe weakness
- Anemia and blood disorder (methemoglobinemia)
- Kidney dysfunction
- Liver failure
If your dog chewed up a bottle of Tylenol, or if you aren’t sure if you gave the right dose, contact your veterinarian immediately.
If your veterinarian or a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital is not available, contact an Animal Poison Control helpline:
ASPCA Animal Poison Control. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A $65 consultation fee may apply. 888-426-4435.
Pet Poison Helpline. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A $49 fee applies per incident. 855-764-7661.
If acetaminophen (Tylenol) is given while your dog is taking other medications, side effects or drug interactions may occur.
If your dog has injured his knee, surgery could be in his near future. Giving Tylenol at home may seem like an OK thing to do, considering that it is a fairly safe drug.
However, Tylenol given before or after surgery can lead to liver problems, so always ask your veterinarian before giving Tylenol.
If your pet feeling pain, here is a list of what you can give your dog for pain. You should also speak with your veterinarian about safe pain control options. Veterinary-approved, prescription NSAIDs carry fewer side effects and risks than over-the-counter human products.
Long-term pain control for conditions such as arthritis need to be approached with a combination of therapies, which may include NSAIDs, GAGs (glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, narcotics and other medications such as gabapentin.