Can You Give a Dog Tylenol? [11 Adverse Effects To Watch For]

Can You Give a Dog Tylenol? [11 Adverse Effects To Watch For]
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The short answer is no. When your dog is whimpering and limping, it's impossible to ignore. Sometimes you don't want to wait to go to the vet and provide your dog with instant relief, but all you have at home is Tylenol. But can you give a dog Tylenol for their pain?


Tylenol is usually considered toxic to dogs and may give them a plethora of unwanted side effects, some of them deadly. Below, we'll go over the symptoms of a dog that's accidentally eaten Tylenol, as well as natural alternatives that are safe for your dog when they need some relief.



What Are Pain Medications?

Pain medications, or pain relievers, are medicines that reduce the physical discomfort. This includes headaches, sore muscles, arthritis, and other aches and pains.


There are different types of pain relievers, each one with different ingredients. A discomfort reliever might be acetaminophen, which dulls receptors in the brain. They may also be topical, which is applied directly to the skin.


Medications like these are usually either over-the-counter, which are available at most stores, or prescription. These are prescribed by a healthcare provider and are sometimes stronger. Each individual has a different response to relievers.



worried dog on concrete



What Is Tylenol?

Tylenol is acetaminophen. This type of medication dulls receptors in the brain, making those who consume feel less discomfort. Tylenol's implementation treats tons of physical conditions, which includes:


  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Arthritis
  • Backaches
  • Toothaches
  • Sore throats
  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Fevers


Everyone responds differently to Tylenol. But some common side effects include:


  • Queasiness
  • Stomach pain
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing skin or eyes



Can You Give a Dog Tylenol?

No, but you can administer acetaminophen to your dog if provided by a veterinarian. But most vets will provide medications like this specifically for dogs.


What Happens If a Dog Accidentally Ingests Tylenol?

Most veterinarians will not recommend Tylenol for your dog due to the many negative side effects that dogs commonly experience from the medication. When Tylenol was introduced, dogs weren't the target, so sometimes it doesn't quite agree with them.


The biggest concern is that Tylenol is toxic to dogs. Tylenol also causes a fatal collapse to your dog's cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, nervous system, respiratory, or kidney systems. If left untreated, ingestion of Tylenol is fatal.


Here are some signs that your dog is experiencing Tylenol poisoning:


  • Rapid breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Swelling of face/paws
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dark-colored gums
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia/refusing to eat
  • Black colored stool
  • Jaundice


Here are some other side effects of your dog accidentally ingesting Tylenol:


Vomiting and Diarrhea

Getting an upset stomach is very common for dogs that have ingested Tylenol. Sometimes diarrhea will even be bloody.


Loss of Appetite

Due to having an upset stomach, your dog may not be hungry. This could be due to other physical discomfort caused by the Tylenol as well.


Liver Failure

Tylenol is quickly absorbed in your dog's stomach, causing damage to their liver. Because of how fast it's absorbed, the metabolism isn't unable to destroy the toxins. This leads to liver failure if left untreated.


Tissue Damage

Tylenol can lead to poor oxygen delivery. One of the concerning side effects is tissue damage due to the lack of oxygen.


Gastrointestinal Ulcers

Tylenol may result in bleeding gastrointestinal ulcers. This is even possible at lower doses of Tylenol. It can also cause stomach ruptures.


Interfering with Medications

Tylenol might interfere with other medications your dog is on. Dogs with other health conditions are more likely to be negatively impacted by Tylenol more than healthy dogs. Never give your dog Tylenol without speaking to a veterinarian first.


Can You Give a Dog Over The Counter Pain Medications?

Yes, It's not only limited to Tylenol. Dogs should not be given other over-the-counter pain medications either. This includes ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin. Most medications made for human consumption have too many possible health complications for dogs.


Never give your dog over-the-counter pain medications for humans unless your veterinarian has approved it.



How to Prevent a Dog From Being Exposed to Tylenol

It's very important to keep Tylenol, as well as all of your other medications, away from your dog.


Keep Tylenol in a secure location your dog can't reach. Medicine cabinets, especially high-up ones, are ideal; even better if they have a lock or are hard to open.


Always take Tylenol immediately after you remove it from the bottle. Don't leave the medication around, like sitting on a counter. This can allow your curious dog to snatch the medication when you're not looking and swallow it before you can stop them.


Close the bottle right after taking the Tylenol and put it back where you are storing it. You don't want the bottle to get knocked over, allowing your dog to lap up the medication.



What Are Tylenol Alternatives That Are Natural for Dogs?

Is your dog in pain after surgery? Maybe dealing with an ongoing health condition? Dealing with aches and swelling? There are, luckily, a lot of natural alternatives to Tylenol that are safe and effective. Here are some Tylenol alternatives you can give your dog at home when they are under the weather.


Cold and Hot Compresses

A cold compress can help relieve inflammation if your dog is injured. Use a cold compress for the first two or three days. After that, heat can help ease ongoing pain.


Apply a cold or hot compress for about five to 10 minutes at a time. Do this several times a day to ensure your dog has comfortable throughout the day.



CBD is a non-psychoactive natural compound found in the hemp plant. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in your dog's body, an essential system responsible for providing balance (homeostasis) to various key functions like digestion, sleep, and cognition. When CBD supports the ECS, expect to see wellness throughout the body and mind.


CBD may reduce physical discomfort in your dog, including aches and swelling. Similarly, CBD improves their mood, leaving them calm and comforted.


HolistaPet has an abundance of tasty, beneficial dog treats that are natural, organic, and vegan. We pick all of the ingredients specifically for their added health benefits. Think sweet potato, apples, and pumpkin! Our CBD is extracted from US-grown hemp. It's safe and potent, providing instant relief for your dog.


Give your dog HolistaPet's CBD oil or CBD treats twice a day or every eight hours. A consistent schedule will make the effects of the CBD even stronger, even if you are giving your dog smaller doses over time. Your dog will feel the effects within 30 minutes.


Massage Therapy

Just like us, dogs can benefit from a variety of natural therapy like massage and acupuncture treatments. You will need to hire a specialist trained in massage therapy for dogs. They can often come to your home to administer the treatment, providing comforting relief for your pup.



This food has many nutritional benefits and provides relief for arthritis pain your dog may be experiencing. Just make sure you only buy organic alfalfa, avoiding seeds and flowers. You can also grow alfalfa at home if you enjoy gardening.


The best way to provide your dog with alfalfa is as a food supplement, combining it with other herbs. You can also add a pinch of dried alfalfa per 10 pounds of body weight to your dog's food each day.



This is a go-to herb for relieving nausea, gas, and other symptoms of an upset stomach. It's also beneficial if your dog has pain or swelling since it reduces inflammation.


Ginger has a strong taste, so you should always start with a small amount. Take a fresh piece of ginger root and remove the skin. Then mince the root finely. Add a small amount to your dog's food (1/4 tablespoon for miniature dogs, 1/2 tablespoon for dogs up to 35 pounds, and 3/4 tablespoon for a heavier dog).


Ginger is a blood thinner. If your dog recently had surgery or is on an anticoagulant drug, speak to your veterinarian before adding ginger to your dog's diet. 


Weight Management

Overweight dogs are more susceptible to joint pain. Their legs and back are the most affected. Make sure your dog is healthy, and you'll notice they are more active and don't experience as much discomfort. 



owner holding dogs mouth wooden bench



Final Thoughts - Can You Give a Dog Tylenol

When your dog is experiencing pain, it can seem like a no-brainer to rush to the bathroom, rip open the medicine cabinet, and give your dog some Tylenol. But most vets will tell you to avoid giving your dog Tylenol for unease due to the dangerous side effects.


Instead, provide your dog with natural alternatives and remedies while you await a vet visit. This includes CBD treats, ginger, hot and cold compresses, and massages. All of these remedies can reduce your dog's physical discomfort and leave them comforted. Check out these resources if you want to learn more about dog care.

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