Tylenol (Acetaminophen for Dogs)

Acetaminophen promoted under different brand names like Tylenol, Aurophen, and Anacin AF helps relieve pain and fever in human beings. However, Tylenol or any other pain reliever formulated for human use should be offered to pets only under a vet’s strict supervision. Though acetaminophen is available as an off-the-counter (OTC) drug, you should never administer this medication without an authorized vet’s prescription.

Tylenol is used to treat mild to severe pain and moderate to high fever is often prescribed along with opiates. Administered under the supervision of a vet, acetaminophen can help deal with common symptoms like flu, colds, headache, arthritis, muscle aches, backaches, and more. Several prescription-only and OTC medications contain acetaminophen as an active ingredient including but not limited to Contac, Actifed, and Lortab.

Most veterinarians recommend administering Tylenol orally though the drug can also be injected intravenously.

Tylenol at a Glance

Brand Name

Tylenol, Anacin AF, Bromo Seltzer, Aurophen

Generic Name

Acetaminophen, Paracetamol

Drug Type


What About FDA Approval

Not approved for administering to pets


For humans and dogs


Both as an OTC- and prescription medication

Available Forms

Tablets, oral suspension (syrup)

Is Tylenol Safe for Dogs?

Offering Tylenol to dogs without consulting your vet might turn out to be fatal even though it’s not an NSAID. Vets do not yet know the exact pharmacokinetics of acetaminophen in dogs i.e. how the medication relieves pain and fever. Even administering a slightly more (Tylenol) than the prescribed dose, could cause toxicity, leading to the conversion of hemoglobin to methemoglobin, thereby restricting normal oxygen delivery and damaging tissues.

Tylenol overdose could also damage the kidney and liver cells, ultimately hampering normal biological and physiological functions. Many other pain-relieving medications have been formulated especially for pets which you can safely offer to your dog.

How Does Tylenol Work in Dogs?

As a non-opiate analgesic, Tylenol helps relieve pain and fever but the medication is not effective against inflammation, unlike NSAIDs.

The Appropriate Dosage of Tylenol for Your Dog

As stated above, you should never give Tylenol to your dog without first obtaining a prescription from your vet. On the other hand, you can use other drugs for treating your pet’s pain and fever symptoms as these have been prepared particularly for canines. Your vet will most likely prescribe Infant’s Tylenol or Children’s Tylenol for your dog with the dosage varying from 5-7.5 mg/lb (10-15mg/kg).

You may offer this dose up to three times a day i.e. the duration between the first, second, and third dose should be eight hours respectively.  If the course of the medication is more than 5 days, then you should offer it only two times daily. The dosage usually depends on several factors including your dog’s weight, size, age, medical history, and pet health.

Whether the medication is being recommended for fever or pain management also determines the dosage. You can buy Tylenol as a liquid formulation (syrup) or in the form of tablets and capsules. However, it is the liquid concentration or form that vets mostly prescribe for administering to dogs.

The drug is also available as extended-release tablets, elixir, and a suppository.

Potential Side Effects of Tylenol in Dogs

The chances of suffering from side effects are quite unlikely if you follow the instructions recommended by your vet. Nevertheless, if you observe any of the below-mentioned signs and symptoms, you should get in touch with your vet immediately:-

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and gums, orange-colored stool)
  • Black tarry stool
  • Abrupt plummeting of body temperature
  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Inflammation of the pace and paws

Overdosing Signs and Symptoms

 If your dog exhibits any of the above side effects, you can assume that the pet is suffering from acetaminophen toxicity. In such an eventuality, you should call up your vet or contact the Animal Poison Center Helpline at 1-888-426-4435).


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