Percocet Use in Dogs

Percocet is a narcotic analgesic combination drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. Its active ingredients are acetaminophen and oxycodone. Although Percocet is an effective, if potentially addictive, pain reliever for humans, acetaminophen can be lethal to dogs. Percocet use in dogs is controversial for this reason. The drug should be administered only under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Mature male vet examining Yorkshire terrier in surgery with woman
The use of opioid drugs must be monitored carefully by a veterinarian, particularly in dogs with heart condtions.
credit: Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Percocet Use

Percocet use requires a prescription from a veterinarian: never treat a dog with Percocet without consulting with a veterinarian, even if you have access to the drug. A dog’s liver is unable to process acetaminophen, forcing it to create metabolites that eventually destroy it. If your veterinarian chooses to prescribe Percocet for your pet, you must use it precisely as prescribed.

Oxycodone vs. Hydrocodone

Oxycodone is a much stronger medication than hydrocodone and is used to treat moderate to severe pain. However, both drugs are classified as controlled substances that must be prescribed. Unlike oxycodone, hydrocodone is frequently used to treat dogs. Although it is registered only for human use, veterinarians can legally prescribe it for use with kennel cough, a common upper respiratory condition. Like oxycodone, hydrocodone must only be used under strict veterinary supervision as it may have serious side effects, including sedation and drug interactions.