Paracetamol Poisoning in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 05/06/2017Updated: 07/23/2021
Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
Paracetamol Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Paracetamol Poisoning?

Though paracetamol is not licensed for use in dogs, it is commonly prescribed by veterinarians as an over the counter pain reliever. Accidental poisoning can also occur if your dog gets into a bottle of acetaminophen and ingests several pills. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from paracetamol poisoning, you should seek veterinary attention immediately.

Paracetamol poisoning occurs due to the acetaminophen, which is a common pain reliever that many dog owners will give to their dog. Some dogs are less tolerant to this drug than others.  Dogs that are suffering from paracetamol poisoning will likely be treated with acetylcysteine. In dogs, paracetamol poisoning can occur if they ingest 75 mg per kilogram of body weight or more. Kidney and liver failure can occur from paracetamol poisoning.

Youtube Play

Symptoms of Paracetamol Poisoning in Dogs

Paracetamol poisoning in dogs can be very serious, potentially causing your dog to go into kidney or liver failure. If you think that your dog has ingested a large quantity of paracetamol, you will need to seek emergency veterinary care. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Labored breathing
  • Swollen face or neck
  • Swelling of the limbs
  • Brownish-gray gums
  • Hypothermia
  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Excessive thirst
  • Coma
  • Death

Causes of Paracetamol Poisoning in Dogs

For humans, paracetamol, otherwise known as acetaminophen is usually safe to use as a pain reliever. However, for dogs, paracetamol can be deadly when ingested. Toy breed dogs seem to be more susceptible to paracetamol poisoning simply because they are smaller and it takes a smaller dose of paracetamol to cause toxicity. 

Red blood cell abnormalities can occur as well as kidney and/or liver damage. In most cases, kidney and liver damage is not reversible. Ingestion of large doses of paracetamol can also cause coma or death. Quick treatment is essential for your dog’s full recovery without permanent damage to the liver or kidneys.

Diagnosis of Paracetamol Poisoning in Dogs

Your veterinarian will begin by taking your dog’s medical history. This is important, especially if you have had to take your dog to an emergency clinic where the attending veterinarian does not know your dog’s history. If you gave your dog acetaminophen, or paracetamol, be sure to relay to your veterinarian the amount that was given and the time it was given. If you did not give your dog paracetamol but suspect that your dog has gotten into Tylenol or some other acetaminophen, you should let your veterinarian know.

Your veterinarian will conduct a full physical examination and then order a biochemistry panel, complete blood count, urinalysis and fecal examination. These diagnostic tests will help determine the level of toxicity that is currently in your dog’s body. Your dog’s liver and kidney function will also need to be closely monitored to watch for any changes that may mean their liver or kidneys are damaged and failing. 

Once your veterinarian has diagnosed paracetamol poisoning in your dog, they will discuss treatment options with you.

Treatment of Paracetamol Poisoning in Dogs

Your dog may require hospitalization and supportive care while undergoing treatments for paracetamol poisoning. Supportive care will likely include supplemental oxygen, intravenous fluid therapy, vitamin C supplementation, cimetidine and N-acetylcysteine. Cysteine is an amino acid that aids in repairing potential damage that has been done to the liver. Other liver protectants include milk thistle and S-Adenosyl-methionine or SAMe. 

The first step in treating paracetamol poisoning in dogs is decontamination, then your veterinarian will do baseline blood work to monitor your dog’s liver and kidney functions to ensure that your dog’s organs are not showing signs of damage. Liver protectants will need to be given as well as supportive care. A gastric lavage may also be done or vomiting induced to rid your dog of any paracetamol that is still in their stomach. Activated charcoal meals may be fed.

Once your dog is able to go home from their stay in the hospital, your veterinarian will still need to monitor the kidney and liver function to ensure that there are no long-term effects of the paracetamol poisoning. When your dog goes home, be sure to follow all care instructions given by your veterinarian to ensure that your dog stays on the road to recovery.

Petted logo

Worried about the cost of treating your pet's symptoms?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Get a quote


Recovery of Paracetamol Poisoning in Dogs

Depending on the amount of paracetamol that your dog ingests, their recovery will be guarded until your veterinarian can see how well your dog is responding to treatment. Your dog’s liver and kidney functions will need to be monitored during treatment and after to ensure that any long-term effects are caught early.

Simply avoid giving paracetamol to your dog, unless it has been prescribed. Keep the tablets out of your dog's reach, and ideally behind a locked door.

Paracetamol Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


american blue staffy



8 months


0 found this helpful


0 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
she just ate a tiny bit of a pandol is that bad

Sept. 29, 2020

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I don't know what a pandol is, and I am not able to find any information on that, if it is a medication, a plant, or a food. It would probably be a good idea to either call a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic in your area, or a pet poison control hotline, as they may be more familiar with the product that you are talking about. They will be able to let you know whether it is a problem or not, and they will probably also need to know your dogs weight to be able to let you know that information. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Sept. 29, 2020

Was this question and answer helpful?

Boxer Shepherd






16 found this helpful


16 found this helpful

Female 7 yr old midget/stunted albino boxer weighs 12kgs. Ingested a 500 mg calpol 6 hours ago. Has shown no symptoms of paracetamol poisoning yet. I am in a remote access not possible. Has the danger passed or should I rush her to a vet? Is there a remedy I can try at home if vet access turns impossible .?

Nov. 21, 2017

16 Recommendations

Depending on the source, paracetamol has a toxic dose of around 75mg/kg (200mg/kg in some literature) in dogs making one 500mg tablet sufficient to cause toxicity in a 6.5kg dog; however Bella still received a dose in excess of the recommended dose for a dog her size which is 10-15mg/kg three times per day, so at 12kgs the she received a dose of 41mg/kg. I would keep an eye on her and encourage her to drink as much as possible, also giving liver support with SAMe and silybin may also be beneficial; if you have access to a Veterinarian you should visit one for a check up immediately otherwise call the Pet Poison Helpline. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 21, 2017

Was this question and answer helpful?
Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews


© 2024 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.