Responsible pet parents will ensure that their pet’s pain never lasts long, no matter what the cause; but it’s also important to understand why your furry friend is hurting before you treat it. While there aren’t over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for dogs, you’ll be able to provide them with prescription medications from your veterinarian. Unfortunately, many human medications may cause more harm to dogs since they’re toxic; in this article, we answer the question, “Can dogs take Tylenol?”
What is Tylenol (Acetaminophen)?
Tylenol is a brand name for the common paracetamol; an antipyretic agent and non-opioid analgesic that’s used for pain management and reducing fever. This over-the-counter medication is widely used to treat menstrual cramps, arthritis, muscle aches, headaches, colds, and flu. However, it shouldn’t be used by individuals with liver disease; acetaminophen poisoning may lead to liver damage or even death.
If you’re already taking Tylenol, avoid using other products that have acetaminophen (this can sometimes appear as APAP), to avoid Tylenol toxicity. Contact your doctor right away if you have itching, pain around the upper stomach, dark urine, jaundice, or clay-colored stools. Be sure to stop taking this medication if you have a rash or skin redness that causes peeling and blistering, and quickly call your doctor.
Can Dogs Take Tylenol?
Tylenol and Panadol have been used for a long time as human pain relievers, even with small kids. But the same can’t be said for our dog’s health; even when given in small doses, acetaminophen toxicity can result in harmful side effects for dogs. Unlike other OTC options in this list, Tylenol isn’t a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID); this means that it will help ease fever and pain but not inflammation.
The only time that you should give some to your dog is when you have permission and dosing details from your vet because dogs are more sensitive to this medicine. Giving your dog Tylenol can lead to liver failure, damage to their red blood cells, and in rare cases, death. If your pooch has ingested Tylenol, be sure to head to the closest veterinary emergency clinic and give it veterinary attention right away.
Signs of Pain in Dogs
There are a few things that you can look for to tell if your dog is experiencing pain. Below are just a few of the most common signs of dog pain:
- Difficulty breathing
- Decreased energy levels
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Dry eye
- Vocalizations such as whimpering, whining, howling, yelping, and more
- Tail tucked away between their legs
- Biting at themselves or at people who try to pat them
If you think that your dog might be in pain, there are options that you can look into when you consult with your vet that will help your dog feel more comfortable.
What Kind of Medicines Can I Give My Dog?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to get OTC pain meds for your dog’s pain because they don’t exist in pharmacies, so you won’t be able to give them pain relief whenever they need it. But there is a wide range of veterinary medicine available for your dog such as veterinary NSAIDs to help treat pain. These will be prescribed by a veterinarian to help with a specific type of pain; NSAID drugs provide pain control by blocking pain-causing enzymes allowing dogs to feel better.
Common Veterinary NSAIDs
Below is a table of FDA-approved NSAIDs for dogs that can help with inflammation and joint pain related to osteoarthritis. Many are also commonly prescribed by vets to relieve mild to severe pain in dogs.
|Active Ingredient||Generic Name or Brand Names|
|Carprofen||Rimadyl, Carprieve, Norocarp, Novox, Quellin, Vetprofen|
|Deracoxib||Deramaxx, Doxidyl, Dracoxib Chewable Tablets|
|Meloxicam||Metacam, Loxicom, OroCAM, Rheumocam|
Most of these NSAIDs are approved to use after surgery and for osteoarthritis, with the exceptions of Robenacoxib and Grapiprant. The former option will only be approved for inflammation and pain control once their surgery is complete and must be used no more than 3 days. The latter option will only be approved for cases related to osteoarthritis. Moreover, NSAIDs should only be given through injection or orally through the mouth.
Side Effects of NSAIDs
Because of their fever-reducing, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties, NSAIDs provide a wide range of benefits for animals and may improve their quality of life, but they also come with side effects. In general, they might have an effect on the liver, stomach, intestines, and kidneys. Furthermore, their use hasn’t been studied in animals that are nursing, pregnant, or those that are breeding.
Side effects to look out for include the following:
- Lack of appetite
- Less activity
- Gastric ulcers
Other Pain Killers for Dogs
When your dog needs something aside from veterinary NSAIDs, then your vet might prescribe one of these other medications.
- Amantadine: This medication works by blocking particular neurotransmitters within the dog’s brain and is used to treat cancer, disc disease, and arthritis.
- Gabapentin: An option that’s often used to combat nerve pain in senior dogs and can help manage seizures and chronic pain.
- Tramadol: A mild opioid you can use to treat pain in older dogs.
Medications You Should Never Give to Dogs
There are a few human pain medications that your dog should never have since these can be toxic to your pooch.
You should never give your dog aspirin unless your vet approves it. This medication can be used to treat osteoarthritis but make sure that it’s coated to ensure it slowly dissolves. However, always remember that even if it comes in a nice flavor, all kinds of aspirin (including baby aspirin) will come with risks, and using it long-term may lead to bleeding, ulcers, and kidney damage.
Giving your dog ibuprofen in the form of OTC pain relievers such as Advil, Nuprin, and Motrin should never be an option. While they are safe for human consumption in the right doses, just one pill will cause problems for a dog. These toxic medicines can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure as a result of ingestion by dogs.
Treating Your Dog’s Pain at Home
If there’s a reason why you can’t use prescription NSAIDs for your dog’s pain, there are other options that you can give to your dog. Just be sure to contact your veterinarian first to ask them about specific details on administering different treatment options.
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, this natural option has been proven to help treat painful inflammation in dogs. Because CDB oil doesn’t come with psychoactive components, it won’t get your dog high. But you will still need to ask your vet about potential side effects and proper dosage before you give CBD treats to your dog.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Combined with physical therapy, these options can be a great way to treat dog pain from the comfort of your home. You can use ice packs, hot water bottles, or heat packs for your dog, but you should never apply them directly to the skin and be sure to pause every 10 to 20 minutes. Cold therapy is better for short term injuries that have occurred in the last 48 hours and can help numb pain and reduce swelling.
On the other hand, heat therapy provides the best way to treat long term pain that has become chronic, helping to ease sore muscles and increase the range of motion around the injured area.
If your dog is suffering from joint pain, giving it joint supplements can help to reduce pain and inflammation. Both the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate present in these supplements may help to maintain joint help and manage symptoms.
Natural Pain Relief For Dogs
Because of the never-ending amount of side effects found in man-made drugs, it’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to natural remedies to give their dogs pain relief. Below are just a few of the popular natural solutions for dogs.
Also known as Frankincense, Boswellia is a naturally occurring resin that can be sourced from the Boswellia Serrata tree. Considered to be a natural remedy for arthritis, it can also help with certain cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and Parkinson’s disease. One study showed that dogs with spinal disease experienced reduced pain after being given 40mg of Boswellia per kg of body weight every day after six weeks.
Turmeric is used in kitchens all over the world, and either comes raw or powdered; it’s one of the most trusted home remedies for dog pain. It’s known to have antioxidant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Because of this, Turmeric has the ability to fight against diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, arthritis, and gastrointestinal problems.
Don’t Use Tylenol for Dog Pain
For pet owners, seeing their dogs in pain is heart-wrenching and is something that we would want to treat right away. However, using human medications isn’t always a good choice; even with a small amount, dog acetaminophen poisoning can quickly occur after drug administration. When this happens, you need to call the pet poison helpline or the ASPCA animal poison control center right away.
You can then discuss a treatment plan with your vet so that you can prepare for any adverse reaction that your dog might have to human medications. The good news is that there are other options that dog owners can look into; the best thing to do is to talk to your vet before giving your dog any kind of medication.