Sep 25
dog looking sad and unwell

Paracetamol Toxicity And Your Pets

Although Paracetamol is a safe and commonly used pain reliever for humans, the same is not true for our pets. Cats and dogs are not little humans and the safety margin for both of them is really low. 

Cats – Never okay to give paracetamol
Cats are so sensitive to paracetamol that even half a tablet can cause toxicity and 1 tablet can very sadly, cause death. Basically, paracetamol alters their red blood cells so that they cannot carry oxygen effectively.
Signs of toxicity may not be seen for the first 24 hours, and they include:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Not eating
  • Brown to colour gums in mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Brown colour to pee
  • Swelling around face

Dogs are more sensitive to paracetamol than humans but less than cats. They can suffer from the same signs as cats above, and liver failure. There are many safer options in today’s age for pain relief for dogs – always speak to your Vet.

I’m worried my pet has had paracetamol
As paracetamol is rapidly absorbed after ingestion by your pet you need to get them to the local Vet as soon as possible so that they can be urgently decontaminated and treated. The earlier your pet is seen the better the potential outcome.

As always with toxins prevention is key – keep all your medicines safely locked away in sealed containers.

Every pet is different
Always speak to a Vet when you need advice on pain relief options for your fur kid, and never use paracetamol in cats, or in dogs without consulting a Veterinarian.

About The Author

Claire is a QLD graduate with 19 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.