Have you ever thought that you could give paracetamol to your dog when he suffers from pain and fever? Paracetamol is the one of most used painkillers among humans but is it safe for your dogs? To answer each question, we are here with this informative guide.
What Is Paracetamol?
I think everyone is familiar with Paracetamol because this is a widely used medicine when someone falls ill or feels body pain. This painkiller contains acetaminophen that reduces the pains, and aches and heals your fever.
We know this is the most effective medicine in fever but we can’t give this to our pets. We must take veterinary advice when our pets suffer from fever. Paracetamol may reduce the pain of our dogs but it has too much risk if we give them overdose or without any expert advice.
Not only Paracetamol even any medication or treatment should not be given to our pets without taking a prescription from our vet.
Because the human body and the pet body are different, they need different treatments for every illness. Even each human and each pet may need different medication if their conditions are different.
How To Know My Dog is Ill?
Do you have any idea how to identify the illness of your dogs? It is quite tough to guess whether our pet is ill or not because they can’t speak as we do. Whenever a pet gets ill, he starts to react abnormally and gives us some signs that he is not well.
Here are some signs that your dog is ill or suffering from fever.
The key symptom of any fever or illness is the change in daily routine habits. If your dog has started to do some unusual things like less eating, more sleeping, improper behavior, and many more, you need to beware yourself. They are showing their pain through these unnatural habits.
If your dog has started breathing faster even while taking a recess, it also states the condition of your pet. We need to take a veterinary advice for them.
Excess of Thrust and Urination
When your dog starts drinking a lot of water and peeing frequently, he needs extra care that time.
Dogs are considered the most loyal species on this planet and they are very friendly and lovely to their owners. If your dog behaves aggressively and antisocially, he could tell you about his problems.
When a dog is ill or facing any health issues, he might get tired and uncomfortable frequently.
Why Should I Not Give Paracetamol to My Dog?
Whenever your dog falls ill, it is highly recommended not to give paracetamol as a painkiller or as a fever remedy. Paracetamol works as a painkiller for humans, not for dogs or pets. You need to understand this thing as it might be fatal to your pets or dogs.
Let’s understand the science behind this advice. The reason it is dangerous for dogs is because their bodies process it differently than ours. When we take paracetamol, our bodies use an enzyme called glucuronyl transferase to break it down and make it safe. Dogs also have this enzyme, but paracetamol can still harm them when they eat it.
So, it is important to remember not to give any human painkillers, including paracetamol, to your dog. It is always safer to ask a vet for the right medicine if your dog is in pain.
What Happens If I Give My Dog Paracetamol?
First of all, without a proper prescription by a vet, no medicine or treatment should be given to your dog. Whenever your dog suffers from pain or fever, you must visit a vet. But if you have given paracetamol to your dog without any prescription, your dog might suffer from these below-mentioned health issues.
Paracetamol can cause severe liver damage in dogs. The drug is metabolized in the liver, and in the process, it forms toxic byproducts that can damage liver cells. This can lead to liver failure, which can be life-threatening.
Damage to Red Blood Cells:
Paracetamol can also damage a dog’s red blood cells, leading to a condition called methemoglobinemia. This condition reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, which can result in weakness, difficulty breathing, and even death.
Dogs have a limited ability to metabolize paracetamol compared to humans. Their bodies lack certain enzymes that humans possess to safely break down the drug.
Paracetamol is primarily metabolized in the liver. In humans, the major pathway for paracetamol metabolism involves glucuronyl transferase and sulfate conjugation, which render the drug less toxic. However, dogs have limited glucuronyl transferase activity compared to humans.
As a result, when dogs ingest paracetamol, a significant portion of it is metabolized through another pathway, known as the cytochrome P450 system. This alternative pathway produces a toxic metabolite, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), in excessive amounts. NAPQI can overwhelm the dog’s ability to detoxify, leading to severe liver damage or necrosis, which can ultimately progress to acute liver failure.
Another concerning effect of paracetamol in dogs is the formation of methemoglobin. Methemoglobin is a modified form of hemoglobin that cannot efficiently carry oxygen. Paracetamol can induce methemoglobinemia in dogs, reducing the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity.
This condition manifests as difficulty breathing, lethargy, and cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the mucous membranes), and it can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Dogs exposed to toxic doses of paracetamol may exhibit a range of clinical symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, and depression. As the toxicity progresses, more severe signs may appear, such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), hepatic encephalopathy (neurological symptoms due to liver dysfunction), seizures, and coma.
Ingesting paracetamol in significant amounts can be fatal for dogs if not treated promptly.
What Should be done after giving a paracetamol to a dog by mistake?
If you have mistakenly given your dog paracetamol (acetaminophen), it’s crucial to take immediate action to minimize potential harm. Paracetamol can be toxic to dogs, and prompt intervention is essential. You must follow these steps:
Contact a veterinarian:
Call your veterinarian or an emergency animal poison control hotline immediately. Provide them with all relevant information, including the dog’s breed, weight, the amount of paracetamol ingested, and the time of ingestion. They will guide the next steps based on the specifics of your situation.
Induce Vomiting (if advised by a vet):
If instructed by a veterinarian or poison control center and the ingestion occurred within the last hour, you may be guided to induce vomiting. Do not attempt this without professional guidance, as it can be dangerous in some cases, especially if your dog is unconscious or having seizures.
Administer Activated Charcoal:
Activated charcoal can help absorb the paracetamol in the stomach and prevent further absorption into the bloodstream. Again, only do this under the direction of a veterinarian or poison control expert.
Receive Veterinary Treatment:
Your dog will need immediate medical attention from a veterinarian. Treatment may involve intravenous fluids to support kidney and liver function, medications to counteract the toxic effects, and specific antidotes if available (such as N-acetylcysteine for paracetamol toxicity).
Your dog may need to be closely monitored for several hours or even days, depending on the severity of the toxicity. Blood tests may be performed to assess liver function and methemoglobin levels.
After your dog receives initial treatment, follow the veterinarian’s instructions for ongoing care and monitoring at home. This may include administering prescribed medications and maintaining a specific diet.
What Should I do When My Dog falls ill?
If your dog falls ill, it is important to take prompt and appropriate action to ensure their well-being. Here is a general guide on what to do when your dog becomes sick:
Observe and Assess:
Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and symptoms. Note any changes in appetite, drinking, energy levels, or unusual behaviors. Observe their physical condition, including body temperature, breathing rate, and any visible signs of illness.
Isolate and Quarantine (if necessary):
If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of a contagious illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, consider isolating them from other pets to prevent the spread of the illness.
Contact Your Veterinarian:
Call your veterinarian as soon as you notice any concerning signs of illness. Describe the symptoms and follow their advice. They may recommend immediate action or schedule an appointment.
Ensure your dog is comfortable and has a quiet, warm, and safe place to rest. Keep them hydrated by providing fresh water. Offer bland, easily digestible food if they are willing to eat, but avoid forcing food if they have no appetite.
Medications (if prescribed):
If your veterinarian prescribes medications, administer them as directed. Follow the prescribed dosage and duration carefully.
Monitor and Record:
Keep a record of your dog’s symptoms, including the date, time, and any changes. This information can be valuable for your veterinarian’s assessment.
Follow Veterinary Advice:
Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for further diagnostics, tests, or treatments. Be prepared for possible follow-up visits or treatments.
If your dog has a contagious illness, practice good hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly after handling them and cleaning their living area regularly.
Recovery may take time, and some illnesses may have ups and downs. Be patient and attentive to your dog’s needs throughout the healing process.
In cases of severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, seizures, extreme lethargy, or uncontrolled bleeding, seek immediate emergency veterinary care. Call ahead to let the emergency clinic know you’re coming.
To reduce the risk of illness in the future, ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations, maintains a healthy diet, gets regular exercise, and lives in a clean and safe environment.
You must remember that every dog is unique, and the appropriate actions will depend on the specific illness and your veterinarian’s guidance. Always consult your veterinarian for the best course of action when your dog falls ill, as they can provide personalized care and treatment options tailored to your pet’s needs.