Can Dogs Take Tylenol?

can dogs take Tylenol

If you’re wondering can dogs take Tylenol, the short – and long – answer is no. 

Let’s start with some basics. 

What Is Tylenol?

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol products. Tylenol is the brand name while acetaminophen is its generic or chemical name. 

Tylenol is most often taken by people to relieve moderate pain and reduce fever. It’s not an anti-inflammatory so if you’re giving your dog Tylenol for inflammation, it won’t help anyway. There are better natural remedies to help your dog with pain and inflammation, which will be discussed later.

Just to be clear, aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and isn’t safe for dogs either. Other “pain relievers” that are very toxic to dogs are ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve).  Never give your dog these drugs. 

RELATED: Why aspirin is risky for dogs … 

How Does Tylenol Manage Pain?

Acetaminophen blocks cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes that form prostaglandins, natural substances in the body that trigger pain and inflammation. ​​That can be good for lessening pain … but sometimes the body needs pain, inflammation and fever to help with the injury healing process. 

And your dog can have a bad reaction to Tylenol.

Is Tylenol Bad For Dogs?

Yes. Tylenol can cause liver damage and destroy red blood cells in dogs. It can also cause kidney and gastrointestinal damage. Just 2 tablets can be toxic to a 50-pound dog. 

You’ll see these signs of Tylenol toxicity in dogs … 

  • Trouble breathing
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling of the face
  • Odd behaviors
  • Difficulty walking
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes
  • Death

7 Reasons Not To Give Your Dog Tylenol

Tylenol isn’t a magic pill when trying to relieve your dog’s pain or discomfort. Here’s why you shouldn’t give it to your dog.

  1. Even small amounts of Tylenol are toxic to dogs.
  2. Tylenol is obtained over the counter and not by prescription so it may react with other medications if a veterinarian or pharmacist isn’t there to provide warnings.
  3. It doesn’t manage inflammation (sometimes appearing as itching, a major concern among pet owners.
  4. This drug is registered for use in humans only. It’s not approved for animal use by the Food and Drug Administration, although it can be prescribed by veterinarians.
  5. Tylenol has other variations like cold medications (containing xylitol) with ingredients that can seriously harm dogs.
  6. Dosing a dog with a human drug can be dangerous if done incorrectly.
  7. Your dog can’t tell you if what you’ve given him is bothering him … and by the time you see signs it might be too late.

In general, it’s a bad idea to use human pain medications for dogs. 

What Is The Best Over-The-Counter Anti-Inflammatory For Dogs?

If you’ve read this far, you’ve learned that over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol can harm dogs. There are NSAIDs approved for use in dogs but they come with their own side effects that include: 

  • Gastritis or peptic ulcers
  • Vomiting with or without blood
  • Black stool or blood in the stool
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

RELATED: Learn more about the problems with NSAIDs for dogs …

What Can You Give A Dog For Pain Relief?

There isn’t a single magic pill to manage pain in dogs – or people for that matter. For example, to manage osteoarthritis pain, treatment can include pain relief. But it should be multifaceted to include joint supplements, joint-supporting foods like bone broth, chicken feet and trachea, a proper whole food diet and exercise. 

RELATED: Herbs to relieve arthritis in dogs … 

How Can I Ease My Dog”s Pain At Home?

Here are a few things you can do to provide your dog with natural pain relief.

Hot And Cold Therapy
If your dog has an injury, you can apply heat or cold to increase or reduce blood flow to manage pain as needed. Apply a hot compress, a heating pad or ice to the injury. Monitor the temperature so it’s not too hot or too cold, and replenish as needed.

CBD Oil 
CBD oil is good for injuries as well as ongoing joint pain or arthritis. Studies show a full spectrum CBD oil can help with pain without the risks or side effects of Tylenol. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that stimulates the immune system to reduce inflammation. You can use a 1000 mg strength full spectrum CBD oil and give1 dropper daily, into your dog’s mouth or with food. You can increase the dose if he needs more to control pain.

Turmeric is a good choice to lower inflammation and ease pain and stiffness from arthritis or chronic pain. Its active ingredient is curcumin, which is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and aids wound healing. You can use capsules or organic turmeric powder (buy from a health store, not grocery store turmeric). Give 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per day per 10 lbs of your dog’s weight, and add it to his food. Many people make golden paste and give it to their dogs in that form.

For several more natural ways to relieve your dog’s pain, click on the link below. 

RELATED: 10 herbs for natural pain relief for dogs … 

With many safe options to provide pain relief for dogs, there’s no reason to risk giving your dog Tylenol.

  1. Formukong, EA, et al. Analgesic and antiinflammatory activity of constituents of Cannabis sativa L. Inflammation. 1988 Aug;12(4):361-71.
  2. Reichling, J, et al. Dietary support with Boswellia resin in canine inflammatory joint and spinal disease. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 2004 Feb;146(2):71-9.

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