As humans, when we have aches or pains, the first thing we do is reach for pain relief. Often, we reach for Tylenol or ibuprofen even before speaking to our doctor and only seek medical advice if the pain doesn’t improve. So, what about our furry friends? Can we do the same for them? Can you give your dog Tylenol if they are in pain?
Can I give my dog Tylenol?
If your dog is in pain, it’s tempting to give them something to make them feel more comfortable. However, you should never give your dog any medication without your veterinarian’s knowledge and instruction. This is the case for both dog medication and human medication. Specific doses of Tylenol are used in dogs; however, without knowing your dog’s current health status and any other medicines they are on, it is not safe to give.
Tylenol can cause anemia, bleeding disorders, and even multi-organ failure if given at the wrong dose.
What harm can Tylenol cause to my dog?
One of the main concerns with Tylenol is the risk of liver failure. However, Tylenol can also cause anemia, bleeding disorders, and even multi-organ failure if given at the wrong dose, so it’s definitely not worth the risk. While Tylenol is an ingredient in certain dog pain medications, even if you aim for the correct dose, you may accidentally end up giving your dog an overdose.
What symptoms might I see if my dog has accidentally eaten Tylenol?
If you think there is a good chance that your dog has eaten Tylenol, do not wait for symptoms to develop. You should contact your veterinarian immediately.
If your dog has accidentally eaten some Tylenol, you might notice symptoms quite soon after because it is rapidly absorbed. They might go off their food, dribble a lot, and start vomiting. They will likely be depressed and lethargic and may show signs of tummy pain. You might notice that their urine is an unusual brown color and that their gums are gray/blue, brown, or yellow/orange rather than pink.
What should I do if I think my dog might have eaten Tylenol?
If you think your dog might have eaten Tylenol, first try to locate the packaging. This will prevent any further tablets from being consumed and help you determine how many are missing. Check the floor for any loose or crushed tablets so that you can estimate how many your dog may have eaten. Then, contact your veterinary clinic right away, making sure you give them the brand and any other information from the packaging. Your veterinarian will be able to examine your dog, make them vomit if necessary, and provide them with intense treatment if needed.
How can I stop my dog from accidentally eating Tylenol or my other medications?
If dogs have accidentally eaten some Tylenol, they will likely be depressed and lethargic and may show signs of tummy pain.
All medication, human or animal, should be kept in a secure box or cupboard, out of reach of children and pets. Many dogs can reach higher than you think by standing on their hind legs. So, remember to replace it each time you remove it so that no medications are ever left on kitchen counters, tables, or other surfaces.
What are the other pain relief options for dogs?
There are many safe pain relief options for dogs, but all need to be prescribed by a veterinarian. This is because your veterinarian will know your dog’s current health and medical history and can tailor the treatment to their needs. Pain relief options for dogs include Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), like Metacam, Tylenol, and Previcox. These medications reduce inflammation and pain levels. Gabapentin, Tramadol, Amantadine, and sometimes steroids are also potential options. If necessary, your veterinarian can prescribe multiple pain relief medications to keep your canine companion as comfy as possible.
Your veterinarian may prescribe a specific dose of Tylenol for your dog. However, due to the risk of overdose and potential side effects, it’s not safe to give your dog Tylenol without speaking to your veterinarian first.
If your dog is in pain but has not been prescribed pain relief by a veterinarian, you should always speak to your vet before giving them medication. The most important thing you can do is to get them checked over by a veterinarian so that they can receive safe treatment to make them more comfortable.
If your dog is in pain, but you can’t get to the veterinary clinic, you should always call the clinic for their advice. However, if you are waiting for an appointment and your dog is in pain, the best thing to do is find them a comfy, quiet space where they can rest without being disturbed or handled.
It’s best not to give your dog any Tylenol without speaking to your veterinarian first. While there is a specific dose of Tylenol that is used in some dogs, the safety depends on the individual dog and their health. By giving your dog Tylenol outside of your veterinarian’s instruction, you risk overdose, which could be fatal.
If your dog is in pain, it’s tempting to reach into the medicine cabinet for something to make them feel better. However, before reaching for any medication, you should call your veterinary practice and make an appointment or get advice. Rather than taking any risks, your veterinarian will then be able to get your painful pooch back to their happy self safely.
Dr. Hannah Godfrey MRCVS graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011. Although she initially worked in mixed practice treating all species, she found a love for small animal work and has worked exclusively with dogs and cats since 2014. She lives in Wales with her partner, son, and two cats (named Poppy and Ashton Kutcher), and writes comedy fiction in her spare time.