How to Give Children's Tylenol to Dogs

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Tylenol is not safe for dogs.
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It can be tempting to give your dog something to help him feel more comfortable when he comes home from a long hike or exercise session with symptoms of a sprain or another painful injury. Always consult your vet before giving your dog acetaminophen — the active ingredient in Children's Tylenol — or any other human pain medication. Because each dog can react differently, there is no safe Children's Tylenol dosage for dogs.


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Tylenol dosage for dogs

Acetaminophen — the generic name for Tylenol — isn't approved for veterinary use in dogs according to Assisi Animal Health. There also aren't any studies that establish what the correct dosage of Tylenol is for a dog of any size. Continued usage of NSAIDs, which is the shorthand name for a human non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, has been shown to cause stomach ulcers and inflammation. Additionally, Advil and Aspirin have been shown to damage joint cartilage, which can exacerbate a dog who is experiencing pain from arthritis issues.


According to Assisi, some veterinary experts will allow owners to give their pets 5 to 10 mg per pound of their dog's weight every 12 hours. The organization warns, however, that no human medication is completely safe for pets, and every dog reacts differently. Some dogs can experience bad reactions to even a tiny amount of human medication.


Beware of side effects

Tylenol and other human pain medications don't affect dogs' bodies the same way as they affect humans. Stomach ulcers, inflammation, and kidney failure can all result from the regular use of acetaminophen for dogs, according to Assisi Animal Health.


Keep an eye out for any signs of toxicity according to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lethargy, an increased rate of breathing, and a change in gum color from pink to purple can all indicate your pet is reacting to the medication. Never give Children's Tylenol or any other human medication to puppies. They have no tolerance, according to Assisi Animal Health, and even a small dose can be lethal.


Ingredients: Children's Tylenol for dogs

If you choose to give acetaminophen to your dog, consider how well your dog will tolerate the other ingredients found in Children's Tylenol. Besides potential reactions to the acetaminophen, Children's Tylenol and other acetaminophen formulations meant for kids contain ingredients that could cause sensitive dogs to experience diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, abdominal pain, or other digestive distress.


Keep in mind that some dogs can tolerate these ingredients while others could become violently ill. The best course of action is to call your veterinarian and explain why you feel your dog needs the medication and ask for their advice.

Sweeteners in medication

Children's Tylenol contains sucralose. Although this artificial sweetener is generally considered safe for dogs in small amounts according to the American Kennel Club, it causes diarrhea or other digestive upset in some canines. Sorbitol is another sweetener found in the children's pain medication. It's not considered toxic to dogs but can cause gastric upset in some.


High-fructose corn syrup is the primary sweetener in Children's Tylenol. Although it is tolerated in small amounts, it can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues for your dog.

Other ingredients in Tylenol

Anhydrous citric acid is another ingredient in Tylenol. Derived from citrus, citric acid is on the list of foods to never feed your dog, according to the ASPCA. Although small quantities of citrus acids won't hurt most dogs, repeat or large doses can cause gastric distress.


There are no known interactions from any of the dyes, stabilizers, or filler ingredients when using Children's Tylenol for dogs. Cellulose is derived from wood pulp; however, the small amount found in the medication is used to thicken and stabilize the formula. Xanthan gum is another thickener that is generally well-tolerated in pets.

Provide comfort care instead

Instead of relying on a medication to help your pet's soreness, give her a comfortable place to lie down. Put a few extra blankets to cushion your pet in its crate or usual bedding area. Bring the water bowls and food closer to encourage them to rest. If your pet is okay with it, close the crate door to keep out other curious pets and limit mobility until you can get advice from your vet.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.