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Can you give a dog tylenol, benadryl or ibuprofen

Health & Wellness

Can you give a dog Tylenol?

The medication isn’t for dogs

It’s common to wonder if medications that are meant for people are safe for pups, too. Tylenol, for one, is definitely not. Veterinarian and pet health advocate Dr. Aliya McCullough explains why this over-the-counter medication is unsafe for dogs. 

Can you give a dog Tylenol for pain?

Tylenol is unsafe for dogs because it contains the ingredient acetaminophen, which is extremely toxic to pups and can cause life-threatening illnesses. 

How much Tylenol can I give my dog? 

Tylenol is a no-go for dogs. When a dog ingests Tylenol, the liver breaks the acetaminophen down into toxic substances that can harm the liver and red blood cells. It’s rare, but dogs may suffer from a condition called dry eye from acetaminophen toxicity, too. 

Can you give a dog Tylenol, Benadryl or ibuprofen


Tylenol is present in a large number of medications used for relieving pain, cold, flu and allergies. If you suspect your pet has consumed any Tylenol products or even generic acetaminophen, it is an emergency. Take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital immediately.

Signs of Tylenol (acetaminophen) toxicity

Dogs don’t always show signs of Tylenol toxicity after ingesting this medication, but when they do, it often presents as the following: 

  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Trouble breathing
  • Muddy or brown colored gums
  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Vomiting
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Dry eye (watch out for discharge and squinting)

Treatment for Tylenol (acetaminophen) toxicity

Acetaminophen toxicity can be fatal and requires immediate veterinary care to give your pet the best chance of recovery. Treatments may include:

  • In-hospital monitoring and intensive nursing care
  • Decontamination of the stomach and intestines
  • Medications and procedures to protect and reduce the severity of the damage to red blood cells, liver and other organs

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How to prevent your dog from accidentally ingesting Tylenol (acetaminophen)

Keeping all medication out of your pup’s reach is the best way to avoid Tylenol toxicity. Follow these tips to protect your pets:

  • Keep all medications inside secure, chew-proof containers and store them out of reach or even in a separate room from your pets.
  • Never administer any over-the-counter or prescription medications to your pets without your vet’s permission.
  • If your veterinarian suggests giving an over-the-counter medication to your pet, stick to the recommended brand and dosage.

Aspirin vs. ibuprofen vs. Tylenol

Aspirin and ibuprofen, like Tylenol, are unsafe for dogs and should always be avoided. When dogs eat aspirin and ibuprofen, they’re unable to maintain normal stomach and intestinal functions, the flow of blood to the kidneys stops and their blood can’t form a healthy clot. Talk to your veterinarian about the right pain control medication for your pup if needed instead of giving them aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol.

Sometimes, what makes people feel better when they’re sick is unsafe for dogs, especially when it comes to Tylenol. Never give your pup this over-the-counter medication, and check with your veterinarian about a healthy way to help your dog feel better.

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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