Why Tylenol is Harmful for Your Pet

(Photo by Krista Mangulsone)

A Note From Dr. Ed:

I frequently receive telephone calls from clients who have given Tylenol or generic acetaminophen to their dog or cat.  It seems logical to assume that if it is safe for us to take Tylenol, that our pets should be able to tolerate this drug just as easily.  Unfortunately, pets do not tolerate acetaminophen as well as humans.  Cats are especially sensitive to the drug.  There have been reports of cats that were killed with as little as 1/2 pill of acetaminophen!  While less sensitive to the drug than cats, dogs are also at risk; they can develop liver failure with chronic or high dose exposure to acetaminophen.

Given these side effects, always avoid giving Tylenol or acetaminophen to dogs and cats.  If you have to reach for an anti-imflammatory drug, stick with aspirin for your canine companions, and unless you speak to your veterinarian first, never give anti-inflammatory drugs to your feline friends. 

I realize that when finances are limited, it is tempting to give your pets medicines you might have at home.  Always consult with your veterinarian before giving any type of medication to your pets.  That way, they can advise you which medicines are truly safe.  

Our information is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian.  Do not use this information for diagnostic purposes. Always take your pet to your veterinarian to obtain a diagnosis and course of treatment.