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Acetaminophen is the most widely used drug in the United States. It’s the active ingredient in hundreds of different over-the-counter and prescription meds.
As you may know, Acetaminophen can be a very dangerous medication for dogs.
Without a doubt, use of this pain killer is risky. Yet veterinarians do, in fact, provide it for pain.
Keep reading to learn how acetyl-para-aminophenol (APAP) could be a treatment option once your animal is under the care of a trusted professional.
Vets Do Prescribe Acetaminophen To Certain Dogs
But going it alone is a terrible idea!
Toxicity is a huge concern because, among other side effects, acetaminophen can cause permanent damage to your dog’s liver.
FYI: Cats are even more vulnerable to harm. Under no circumstances should acetaminophen be given to felines.
When Acetaminophen Makes Sense
One thing that makes Tylenol different from most other NSAIDs is that it tends to be easier on the kidneys.
Acetaminophen is, by no means, a safe pain killer. It’s just that dogs with poor kidney function may be better suited for Tylenol or Paracetamol than, for example, Advil or Motrin.
In any case, only your vet should determine which type of pain medication your dog can take.
Taken In Combination With Codeine
Though not well-known, Pardale-V is an analgesic drug specifically designed for dogs.
This combo medication, which is much more commonly used in the UK, contains Acetaminophen (400mg) and Codeine (9mg).
According to the manufacturer, it is indicated for, “acute pain of traumatic origin, as a complementary treatment in pain associated with other conditions, and post operative analgesia.”
It’s worth asking your vet about Pardale-V.
Several Serious Side Effects
One thing is absolutely certain:
Don’t take any chances with Acetaminophen.
There are mild side effects like stomachache and vomiting, but abnormal breathing (tachypnea) and irregular heartrate (tachycardia) are also top concerns.
Even more troubling is a documented case of a dog developing Methemoglobinemia and anemia due to Acetaminophen toxicity.
Again, APAP can damage your dog’s liver (acute necrosis) and he or she may never recover.
What to Give for Pain or Fever
Dogs can get a fever just like humans, and of course they can experience pain, so you’ll need to have some method to help them through this if the situation warrants. Just be aware that some conditions we’d treat ourselves for don’t need to be treated in a dog.
Dogs are typically quick healers, and many situations will pass on their own if left to Mother Nature. But if a problem is severe enough, or is happening so often that it’s becoming unbearable for them, you should get them to the vet to determine the problem and the treatment options.
Aspirin has been used to treat fever and pain in dogs, but this does not mean that you’ll want to reach into your medicine cabinet.
There are specially formulated pain relievers and fever reducers that your vet can prescribe. They’ll also be able to give you accurate dosage.
The Bottom Line
Many owners treat their dogs as guinea pigs and will give them just about anything and then see what happens. By doing your research first you a proving to be an owner that cares about their dog’s health and that you want to do right by them.
It’s better to treat them as their own entity, deserving of the best treatment available and not a second-class being that can be given things that could potentially harm them.