It’s not uncommon for dog owners to consider heading to their own medicine cupboards when they notice their pooch has a minor illness. and I am frequently asked the question “Can I Give My Dog Paracetamol?“.
While these ideas come from a good intention, medications formulated for humans cannot have the same effect on animals, as they have different digestive systems to ours and process consumables differently.
You may believe that something mild like paracetamol can be helpful to a dog, but it may actually have adverse effects.
Paracetamol is an easy-to-acquire drug that you might already have in your home. It’s simple to buy and doesn’t need a prescription, and it is usually as a mild to moderate painkiller or to help bring down a fever.
While it’s a very popular over-the-counter medication, can it be given to dogs?
Can I Give My Dog Paracetamol?
Notably, it takes a lot for dogs to feel ill effects from it – approximately 75 mg per kg of their own body weight.
Still, dogs can have different responses to medications and consumables, so it is important to keep your dog away from paracetamol regardless.
Paracetamol toxicity in dogs can lead to a wide arrange of potentially fatal consequences, which is why you should never give your dog paracetamol on your own. The main consequence of paracetamol in dogs is liver damage.
Eating paracetamol can result in a process known as hemolysis, whereby the red blood cells break down more quickly, causing bile and haemoglobin to build up within the body.
Other negative effects include the ulceration or damage of the gastrointestinal tract, renal system, or central nervous system.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ingests Paracetamol When He Wasn’t Supposed To?
Depending on the amount, your dog could be completely fine after eating paracetamol, or it could be the cause of a medical emergency. A dog who eats about 25 mg of paracetamol per kg of their body weight can experience vomiting.
At 175 mg/kg, the chances of renal and kidney failure increase, especially for dogs who already have conditions affecting these organs and systems.
At 400 mg/kg, the drug will affect the central nervous system, leading to seizures, depression, collapse, or comas.
A lethal dose is 600 mg/kg – but keep in mind that every dog reacts differently to different things and your dog may be in much more danger even at low levels of paracetamol consumed.
If your dog has taken paracetamol or swallowed some on accident, keep an eye out for symptoms such as the following:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- Brown urine
- Swelling of the limbs, neck or face
- Breathing difficulties
- Weakness or lethargy
- Sudden weight loss
- Reduced body temperature or hypothermia
- Brown or grey gums
Paracetamol poisoning is potentially fatal and you should not take symptoms lightly.
If you notice any number of these symptoms after giving your dog paracetamol, take them to a vet as soon as possible and be ready to tell your vet what they took and how much of it. Treatment depends on the severity of the ingestion.
A vet may try to induce vomiting, execute a blood transfusion, provide N-acetylcysteine treatment, use gastrointestinal protectants, administer activated charcoal or use fluid therapy.
Fast treatment can save a dog’s life and help them to make a full recovery with limited to no long-term effects.
What If My Vet Prescribes Paracetamol For My Dog?
Special paracetamol made specifically for canines has been formulated for our furry friends.
It’s notedly good for easing the musculoskeletal pain. That’s why sometimes this medication may be administered or given by a veterinarian.
The kind of paracetamol given by a vet is usually known as Pardale-V, which is a paracetamol-codeine product that is licensed for dog consumption.
It’s completely different from paracetamol made for humans, so you cannot substitute dog-friendly varieties of the medication with the kind meant for human consumption.
Vets may also extremely rarely decide to prescribe human paracetamol to a dog, but this is usually in extreme circumstances.
It is paramount that you follow all instructions given by your vet to a T whenever a drug traditionally meant for humans is involved.
As with any medication, when giving paracetamol – dog-specific or otherwise – to your pup, make sure to follow the dosage provided.
Do not exceed the amount listed and make sure to monitor your dog for strong reactions to it, such as stomach aches, vomiting, drooling, or breathing difficulties.
Should your dog begin reacting this way to prescribed paracetamol, or should they exhibit any of the symptoms mentioned before, stop administering it immediately and go to a vet as soon as possible.
This is always the safer option and guarantees that your dog receives professional, proper medical aid. In the meantime, keep your personal medications, paracetamol or Piriton, far out of reach of your dog.