Calpol is a common pain and fever relief medicine that is sometimes used for children. Because it has been shown to be very effective in some cases, some people have been saying that you can use it on dogs. While it is true that vets will sometimes prescribe very small amounts of a similar substance, it is also true that you should never give your dog Calpol or anything of the sort.
The active ingredient in Calpol is paracetamol, which is better known as acetaminophen. This is a substance that humans often use for minor pain relief, but it usually isn’t the best option for a dog and it should never be used on a cat. In fact, any cat or dog that has eaten Calpol should be taken to the vet immediately.
Cats, Dogs, and Paracetamol: What We Need To Know
The first thing you need to understand is that acetaminophen (as well as aspirin and ibuprofen) are mildly toxic to dogs and cats. It is for this reason that veterinarians generally don’t give these things to pets. If you look at this article on the subject, you can see that alternative painkillers exist for your pets.
Still, we need to know how much toxicity we are talking about here. Is this stuff a deadly poison to our pets or is it only toxic in large doses? Let’s do a little digging and see if we can give you some good answers. Here is a study that examined the toxicity-to-pets aspect in great detail. There are several things we can learn from this work.
First of all, we can see that the animals in the study (both dogs and cats)were divided into groups and given small, medium, or large doses.
The small doses were 100 mg per kg of body weight (mg/kg for short).
The medium dose was 200 mg/kg and the largest dose was 500 mg/kg. As far as we can see, all the animals in this study survived.
However, the medium and high doses were described as “toxic.” Thus, we can say that 100 mg/kg is a safe dosage, but it’s also a “no effect” dosage. Therefore, there is no reason to use it on dogs or cats. It is worth noting that the study confirmed the greater danger that exists to cats.
Can I Give Human Painkillers To My Pet? Can I Give My Cat Or Dog Paracetamol For Fever?
If there is one thing we want you to take away from this article, it is this: Do not EVER give your pet painkillers that are meant for humans. Nearly all of them are dangerous and toxic to both cats and dogs. It is natural for people to assume that their pets can consume the same things we do. In many cases, the physiology of dogs, cats, and humans are similar, but this is not one of them.
Yes, there are certain medicines (like Benadryl) that are useful for both humans and pets, but you cannot count on something like that to always hold true. In fact, any vet will tell you that making such an assumption is an easy way to kill your pets.
What Should I Do If My Cat or Dog Ingests Paracetamol When They Weren’t Supposed To?
If your pet has ingested paracetamol (acetaminophen) or any other painkiller that is intended for humans, it is essential that you take action right away. Since you probably didn’t sit there and watch your dog eat the Calpol, you probably won’t know exactly how much they have eaten. Thus, you should assume the worst and act accordingly.
The first thing you should do is to induce vomiting. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water can be used to do this, and it is perfectly safe if done correctly. Consult this article from the AKC for more information on how to do it right.
While all that is going on, call your vet and tell them the situation. They will probably want you to bring the dog in for care immediately, and you should do so without hesitation.
Paracetamol Poisoning Symptoms in Pet Dogs and Cats
The following are signs of paracetamol (acetaminophen) poisoning in dogs and cats:
- Labored breathing
- Swollen face and/or neck
- Swelling of the limbs
- Brownish-grey gums (color change)
- Coma (extreme cases)
What If My Vet Prescribed Paracetamol For My Cat or Dog?
If your vet has prescribed paracetamol (or anything like it) as a remedy for your dog, you should be a little suspicious. However, this stuff is sometimes used as a canine remedy, though not often. You should be cautious of any vet that offers this stuff for a non-serious situation.
Further, if your vet suggests acetaminophen for a cat, you need to find a new one. While it seems that dogs can tolerate small doses of this stuff, cats don’t do so well that way. All of the evidence seems to confirm that cats are more sensitive to paracetamol/acetaminophen, so any vet that would offer it should be looked at critically. Sadly, every profession has at least a few people who shouldn’t be there.
We hope that we have answered your question in a way that is both thorough and satisfactory. It seems that, although small doses are not likely to be fatal, the active ingredient of Calpol is toxic to both dogs and cats. To be honest, this is a relatively simple question with a simple answer, and that answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Do not ever give your pets this kind of medicine, no matter what anyone else tells you. Not ever, not once. If you walk away with only one piece of knowledge from this article, we hope that will be the one.