Are you here because maybe your dog is in pain, or perhaps you want to educate yourself for future reference? Whatever the reason is, I can answer your question and also explain the reasoning behind it. Because, after all, we all want what is best for our beloved dogs. Please don’t make a silly mistake that you will regret later. Let’s explain!
No, you must never treat your dog with paracetamol in any form, such as a tablet, liquid or cream. Paracetamol contains highly toxic substances which can harm or can be fatal to a dog. You should keep all household medication out of reach from your pets. Only ever administer pain relief to your dog that has been given to you by a vet.
Now we know that we must never give our dog paracetamol lets delve into it a little bit more to why our exactly why.
Why you shouldn’t give your dog paracetamol
The drug contains acetaminophen, which is highly toxic to dogs. Acetaminophen can effort your dogs liver and cause liver damage in high doses, and it also lowers the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, causing tissue damage and organ failure.
What is Acetaminophen?
Acetaminophen is the main compound in paracetamols, and it’s made for reducing fever and pain in humans. Basically, it’s not a cure for the pain; it just raises the human thresholds to handle the pain.
Paracetamol toxicity in dogs
It can happen within a few hours; your dog will go into a state of depression and start to breathe rapidly. Dogs can also get abdominal pain, nausea and begin to drool. Gums and surrounding tissue around the eyes will turn blue; this is called Cyanosis. Its the result of a molecule called “methemoglobin”, where the red blood cells are not getting enough oxygen to parts of the body resulting in tissue damage. Their wee will be of a darker colour than usual, and blood may be present in it. The face, paws, and limbs will develop fluid buildup. All of this can take 1-4hrs. Young and small dogs face a greater risk from a single dose of acetaminophen given to them mistakenly by their owners.
Paracetamol toxicity signs
- Breathing problems
- Stomach issues
- Becoming withdrawn and dull
- Excessive drooling
- Lack of appetite
- Black, tarry faeces
This also includes Aspirin, Ibuprofen, these are also not safe for dogs, and you should not give your dog any of these.
References: Willows – Specialist vets centre
How to tell if your dog is in pain
Dogs do suffer the same aches and pains as humans, and because they can’t speak, it’s often is challenging to determine whether they’re suffering or not. What makes it even harder is that built into every dog is to hide the pain as much as possible because it’s classed as a weakness. The easiest way to spot any pain is through their character. Behaviour change is the most prominent. Some dogs get depressed, sad or aggressive when they are in pain. Other dogs are slightly more vocal and can be seen excessively grooming themselves. If you can’t see the problem and they can’t tell you, understanding your dog will help most when diagnosing if they have pain. The most common signs are being depressed, sad and off their food; this usually is a perfect indicator that they are suffering.
We have learnt that we should not give our dogs paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen as they are toxic to the dog and can be fatal. We all want what is best for our dogs. If you think your dog needs pain relief, please contact your veterinary surgery. I hope that you are reading this before thinking of giving your dog paracetamol and not after. If you believe your do has had paracetamol and even if not displaying any symptoms. Please ring your emergency veterinarian as soon as you can; time needs to be on your side.
About the Author
Teresa has been a pet lover since she was little. She currently lives with two dogs and two cats, and a hamster. Teresa is a qualified dog groomer and canine behaviourist; these days, she spends her time studying canine nutrition. Teresa is the founder of the Dog Friendly Scene and loves sharing her knowledge on pets.