Acetaminophen and Dogs

Acetaminophen is a medication used to treat pain and fever in humans. However, acetaminophen is toxic to dogs and can cause serious illness if ingested by your dog. In fact, acetaminophen poisoning is the most frequently reported intoxication in dogs from human medications.

What is acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, is an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer which is often used in combination with other medications to treat headaches, muscle pain, and arthritis. It’s found in many prescription drugs including Vicodin (a narcotic opioid analgesic), Percocet (a narcotic opioid analgesic), Norco (a narcotic opioid analgesic) and Tylenol with Codeine.

Acetaminophen can be toxic to dogs when taken at large doses for long periods of time.

Tylenol is a brand name for acetaminophen.

Tylenol is a brand name for acetaminophen, which is an over-the-counter pain reliever. Many medications that your dog may take contain acetaminophen or are combined with it, such as Vicodin (1 mg per tablet) and Percocet (2 mg per tablet).

Acetaminophen toxicity occurs when a dog ingests enough of the drug to cause acute liver failure. The normal dosage for human adults taking over-the-counter medication containing acetaminophen is 325 mg every four hours for 10 doses; however, the maximum recommended dosage for dogs taking this substance is 675 milligrams per kilogram of body weight every 24 hours. For example, if your dog weighs 45 pounds and takes one 325mg tablet of Tylenol every four hours for ten days straight, he could develop serious health problems.

Is it dangerous for dogs?

Acetaminophen is toxic to dogs, cats and people. Although it’s not as harmful as aspirin or ibuprofen, it can cause severe liver damage if ingested in high doses. Dogs are especially sensitive to acetaminophen ingestion because they lack a specific enzyme (glucuronosyl transferase) that helps break down the drug in their bodies.

In addition to its potential for toxicity, acetaminophen is also dangerous for birds and fish due to its effects on the environment when spilled or washed into streams and rivers during a rain storm.

How much is too much for a small dog?

As a general rule, the maximum daily dose for a small dog is 10 mg/lb of body weight. So, if your dog weighs 20 pounds, the maximum daily dose is 200 mg (20 x 10). If he’s 50 pounds and is over the age of 6 months, then his maximum daily dose should be 500 mg (50 x 10).

The highest recommended dosage on the label is 4 grams per day—that’s 800 mg per pound! That’s four times more than what’s safe for most dogs under their age of 12 months.

If you have a particularly large or sensitive dog that requires acetaminophen to treat pain or inflammation-related symptoms, talk with your veterinarian about what dosage works best for them individually

What are the symptoms of an overdose?

Acetaminophen overdose can cause a number of symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog has ingested acetaminophen, you should watch for these signs:

  • Dehydration: If your dog has been vomiting for an extended period of time, he may become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include lethargy and sunken eyes. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet after consuming acetaminophen, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Stomach Pain: Acetaminophen can also cause stomach pain or discomfort within the first 24 hours after ingestion. This type of pain is typically not severe but can be noticed by a pet owner who is familiar with their dog’s normal behavior patterns.
  • Irritability or Aggression: Dogs who have consumed too much acetaminophen may become irritable or aggressive because of the adverse effects on their central nervous system (CNS). It is important to note that even small amounts of this medication can cause CNS problems in some dogs; therefore it is best to err on the side of caution when administering this drug to pets whose owners aren’t sure if they need it at all—especially if those pets are known to be overly sensitive or easily stressed out by human intervention!

What should you do if your dog has ingested acetaminophen?

If your dog has ingested acetaminophen, you should take him or her to the vet immediately. The vet will probably administer an antidote called n-acetylcysteine (NAC). The NAC works by helping eliminate the toxin from your dog’s system and preventing damage to the liver.


Acetaminophen is toxic to dogs. It can cause liver damage, kidney damage and gastrointestinal bleeding in dogs. In addition, acetaminophen can cause anemia in dogs if given at high doses for long periods of time (more than 2 weeks).

If you think that your dog has ingested acetaminophen, or if you have any questions about whether or not acetaminophen would be safe for your dog, contact a veterinarian immediately. They can tell you the best course of action and help treat any symptoms that may be present.

It is also important to note that some of the medications that contain acetaminophen are made specifically for children and dogs. Be sure to read labels carefully when dosing with these medications so as not to overdose on either ingredient