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Can dogs be given Tylenol?

Updated on June 29, 2010

Tylenol is a widely used over the counter medication for fever, headaches and various aches and pains associated with a number of medical conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. Tylenol is commonly found in all households as it is noted to be an effective pain reliever. Pet owners usually believe that what is good and effective for them will be good and effective for the pet as well. Tylenol was registered as medication for humans but dogs are given Tylenol as well.

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Tylenol belongs to the analgesic (for pain relief) and antipyretic (for fever) group. Tylenol is one of the name brands of the generic acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is a compound commonly used as the major ingredient for pain and cold medications. Acetaminophen is a non-opiate drug. Unlike aspirin, ibuprofen and other pain relief medications, this drug reduces fever and mild pain but it does not reduce inflammation. When mixed with other NSAIDs and opiod analgesics, the formulation is administered to manage severe post operative pain.

How does Tylenol work?

Tylenol is an effective pain relief medication as it was formulated to increase pain threshold so that greater amount of pain would have to be developed before the pain can affect a person. As mentioned, the drug reduces fever by sending a message to the heat regulating center of the brain to lower the body’s elevated temperature.

Tylenol’s effects on dogs

Tylenol is one of the drugs not requiring prescription. Because it is readily available, the toxic effect of this analgesic is ranked as the number one cause for liver failure in humans. Dogs are not so different from humans. An overdose of this drug would have dangerous effects on the animal as well. People have this notion that what is good for them will be good for the pet as well so that in case of emergencies when a vet is not available, the dog or the cat will be given human medications. Compared to cats, dogs are less sensitive to Tylenol. Among the analgesics also used in dogs, acetaminophen is ranked as the safest; aspirin is second and followed by ibuprofen which is considered to be the least safe. This medication cannot reduce inflammation but Tylenol does have the strength to provide temporary relief. Tylenol is generally safe for dogs but it has to be prescribed by a vet to be able to administer the right dosage and the duration of treatment. The usual dosage of Tylenol is 5 to 10 mg per pound of body weight. Correct dosage will not affect the lining of the stomach or affect the functions of the kidney. However, excessive use of Tylenol can be hazardous to the health of the pet. Recent studies have proven that one of the major causes of face swelling (angioedema) is acetaminophen toxicity. This medication when excessively taken can damage the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys and the liver.  Acetaminophen can damage the red blood cells as well. A dog showing acetaminophen toxicity symptoms must have prompt medical care. Immediate treatment  gives the dog greater chance of survival.

Is tylenol safe for cats or dogs?


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      C.J. mu 5 years ago

      Thanks i almost gave my dog tylenol when he has a cut