Can Dogs Take Tylenol? No! 3 Things You Can Do Instead to Relieve Your Dog’s Pain

Can Dogs Take Tylenol? No! 3 Things You Can Do Instead to Relieve Your Dog's Pain

The sight of our dog whimpering in pain is heartbreaking. We are willing to try anything that will take their pain away. The best and most obvious course of action is to take our dogs to the vet. But, in the meantime, most of us might be tempted to give them one of the Over-The-Counter (OCT) pain relievers such as Tylenol, to ease their pain. This pill works wonderfully for humans to treat mild pain and aches. But what about dogs?

Can Dogs Take Tylenol?

The answer is No. Tylenol and other OTC meds are highly dangerous to dogs. Canines are sensitive to human medications so don’t ever give them Tylenol on your own unless prescribed by a trusted veterinarian explicitly. Here’s everything that you need to know about OCT meds, Tylenol, and its effects on a dog’s health. The article also includes safe options for your dog’s pain relief. Scroll down!

Overview Of Over-The-Counter (OCT) Medicines

We’re pretty sure that if you have a throbbing headache, the first thing you do is pop an aspirin and sleep the day off. Aspirin is a kind of Over-The-Counter medicine. OCTs are known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs fight off the effects of Cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that is responsible for pain, inflammation, and fever in the human body.

NSAIDs are pain relievers that are widely used to cure any mild to moderate pain in the human body. Be it a headache, back pain, high temperature, or inflammation, one pill can do wonders for our body. Tylenol, as well as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil and Motrin are all types of OCT medicines.

What Is Tylenol?

Tylenol, technically known as Acetaminophen and commonly known as paracetamol in most countries, is a kind of OCT drug that provides instant pain relief to the body. This popular drug is used to cure anything from minor headaches to menstrual cramps, pain in joints, or muscle sprain.

Acetaminophen belongs to the ‘Non-opiate analgesics’ class of drugs.  Although it falls under NSAIDs, it doesn’t have any anti-inflammatory properties. This drug can be bought easily in any medical store without a prescription. But be aware that NSAIDs can only be used by humans. According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Acetaminophen or Tylenol is NOT approved for use in dogs or any other animal.

You might also be interested in Can Dogs Have Zofran?

Signs That Your Dog Is in Pain

It is hard not to notice when a dog is in pain. Anybody who has ever owned a dog knows how difficult it can be to miss the signs of illness or emotional stress. Some of the most common signs that your dog is in pain are:

  • Shaking, panting, or crying
  • Aggressive and grumpy temperament
  • Scratching or licking a specific area excessively
  • Lameness or stiffness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Flinching and turning away to avoid touch
  • Redness or swelling of a specific area.

Your dog communicates with you, whether you know it or not. You just have to observe their body language and behavior carefully. If you find that your dog is in pain, don’t make any rash decisions, like giving OCTs to your pooch.

Are There Any Harmful Effects of Giving Tylenol to My Dog?

Dogs cannot take Tylenol. Giving them Tylenol, or any other human OCTs can be highly dangerous. Dogs can suffer from various health issues if they ingest Tylenol. Some of the side effects can be:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Redness or scabs in skin
  5. Gastrointestinal ulcers
  6. Bleeding disorders
  7. Liver damage
  8. Kidney failure

What to Do If Your Dog Gulps Down a Tylenol?

Your pup might swallow a Tylenol or any other OCT pill by mistake. Or you might find your dog in pain and give them a pill thinking it’s no big deal. If such is the case, RUN TO YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY. Only your vet will be able to decide what should be done.

What Can You Do For Pain Relief?

We get it. Watching your dog in pain is the worst. Plus you may feel utterly helpless. But, the immediate course of action is always taking them to the veterinarian. Although dogs cannot take Tylenol, you’ll be glad to know there are dog-specific OCTs and medications that your vet can prescribe your dog.

1. NSAIDs For Dogs

You can provide FDA-approved OTCs for dogs that are easily available in the market. These OTCs include:

  1. Rimadyl (Carprofen)
  2. Metacam (Meloxicam)
  3. Deramaxx (Deracoxib)
  4. Firocoxib (Previcox)

There is a full list of FDA-approved pain relievers for dogs that you can find on their website.

Watch out for any side effects from those medicines even if they are prescribed by your vet. Any medication can have a potential side effect. It depends upon the size, age, and breed of the dog. In case of any reaction such as vomiting, diarrhea, or redness of the skin, contact your veterinarian immediately.

There can also be a potential risk of allergy. Although allergy to vet-approved medication is very rare, you should still be on your guard.

A pain relief medicine can also be a choking hazard if it is in the form of a pill or tablet. If you think that your pooch is finding it hard to swallow a pill, you can ask your vet for a liquid form of medicine.

2. Healthy Diet

There are also some holistic approaches that can be helpful for your dog during pain. One of these includes giving them a healthy diet. Believe it or not, what you feed your dog makes a great difference in their ability to fight off pain and inflammation. Foods such as tomatoes, olive oil, spinaches, walnuts, and fruits like strawberries, oranges, and cherries have high anti-inflammatory properties. So, make sure that you are providing your dog with these foods and vegetables, especially when they are in pain.

3. Physical Therapy

Other than medication and diet, physical therapy is also an effective way to treat dog pain. Just like humans, you can give your dog therapies like acupuncture, massage, and a range of different exercises and stretches. There is also an option of Laser therapy.

Again, do not start any exercise or therapy on your own. You must consult your veterinarian strictly and take their advice.

Can Dogs Die By Tylenol Poisoning?

Sadly, Yes. Although very rare, dogs can die due to Tylenol poisoning. If you notice any one or all of the following symptoms, run to your vet immediately:

  • Grayish brown-colored gums
  • Swollen limbs and face
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Reduced body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice

Dogs can suffer from non-repairable liver or kidney damage in case of serious Tylenol poisoning. The same applies to Aspirin, Advil, Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Motrin too as they are all toxic to dogs.


It is tough to watch our dog in pain. But no matter how much you think you can help your precious canine companion, do not be the judge of the situation. DO NOT give them Tylenol, or any other form of human pain relievers. No one can help your distressed dog other than veterinary professionals.

Thank you for reading the article.

To explore more, check out other articles that we have covered on dog medication.

What measures do you take when your dog is in pain? Do you directly resort to OCTs or do you first try to calm them with home remedies? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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