Can I Give My Pet Tylenol?

March 13, 2017 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

It’s not unusual for pet owners to want to give their animals Tylenol or other medicine straight from their own medicine cabinet. Many people don’t realize that a medicine that’s safe for people may not be safe for dogs or cats, or that a dose that is safe for people may not be safe for their pets. In fact, some over-the-counter (OTC) human pain relievers can be toxic, or even deadly, in pets.


Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol and other OTC medications, has two main forms of toxicity.


  • Dose-dependent liver toxicity—meaning the higher the dose, the worse the liver damage—that may lead to liver failure; and
  • Red blood cell damage that causes these cells to lose their ability to carry oxygen.


Dogs and cats can develop both forms of acetaminophen toxicity, but cats are more prone to red blood cell damage while dogs are more likely to get liver damage. Cats should never be given acetaminophen. They lack certain enzymes that the liver needs to safely break down the drug.


You shouldn’t give your pet anything from your medicine cabinet before consulting with a veterinarian. If your pet is in pain or suffering from an illness, come see us to discuss the best recovery plan for your furry friend.

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