As dogs are good at hiding their pain, it usually means they are genuinely suffering when their owners begin to notice the signs. This can sometimes lead dog owners to think about giving their pets human medicine to ease the pain; for example, they might wonder if they can give a dog Calpol or paracetamol.
The short answer is no, dogs cannot have Calpol. Calpol is a human medication designed for children, which can trick some dog owners into believing this medicine is safe for their pets, too. It is not. As Calpol contains paracetamol and ibuprofen, it has the possibility to cause adverse reactions.
Human medication should never be given to dogs without a veterinarian’s advice. This includes aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol, as well as Calpol. These medicines can cause dogs to suffer from toxic effects in some cases, which can vary in seriousness, ranging from vomiting to stomach ulcers and even kidney failure. In certain situations, vets will prescribe paracetamol to dogs.
So, if your dog is displaying signs of discomfort or pain and you find yourself asking, “Can dogs have Calpol?” this Household Pets article will provide you with the knowledge to make an informed and safe decision.
Table of Contents
What is Calpol?
Calpol is a liquid syrup mix of ibuprofen and paracetamol that is specifically for children. The original product is used to relieve pain and fever, but further products have been developed to help children suffering from congestion, coughs, and teething.
As it is for kids, many families will have Calpol in their cupboards. Because of this accessibility and the fact that it is safe for children, dog owners might assume this medication is also safe for their dogs. This is not the case.
Can Dogs Be Given Calpol?
Even though this medicine is safe for human consumption, Calpol products should not be given to dogs. The Calpol website states, “Calpol products have not been tested in dogs and should, therefore, not be given to them.” This includes all types of Calpol, such as pain and fever, congestion, coughs, and teething products.
These products contain paracetamol and ibuprofen, which can be highly toxic to dogs. Vets will prescribe paracetamol to dogs sometimes, but this is the only time dogs should be given paracetamol. However, Ibuprofen should never be given to dogs as it can cause intestine, kidney, and stomach damage. The reasons why dogs should not consume paracetamol and ibuprofen are listed below:
- Dogs can easily overdose on both paracetamol and ibuprofen.
- Human medication can cause underlying health conditions to become worse.
- Self-medicating may hide other injuries that require a vet’s attention.
- Paracetamol and ibuprofen can affect other medications.
As Calpol is a paracetamol and ibuprofen-based medicine, there is the risk that the above possibilities can occur if a dog is given a Calpol product. Dogs require other medications that are formulated specifically for canines; they have different anatomy than people and require specific doses, etc. This is why giving a dog the correct dosage of paracetamol is essential, as directed by a vet.
How Much Calpol Can You Give a Dog?
As Calpol should not be given to dogs unless approved by a vet, the amount of Calpol dogs should receive is zero. Some online resources have provided dosage estimates, which should not be followed. It is essential to contact a vet immediately if your dog begins to display signs of pain and discomfort; they will prescribe suitable pain relief if required.
Why Might Someone Want to Give a Dog Calpol?
Unfortunately, dogs can become unwell at times. When this happens, dog owners want to ease their pets’ pain as soon as possible. Sometimes, seeking treatment from the vet can be too expensive, leading pet parents to search for a more accessible treatment, like human medicines.
The signs of pain owners might observe include:
- Change in behaviour
- Breathing differently or panting
- Grooming themselves more than usual
- Limping or stiffness when moving
- Pacing and restless behaviour
If your dog develops any of these symptoms, it is essential to contact your local vet to seek appropriate treatment. Some of these symptoms can be caused by old age, but it is better to know the cause and provide the correct remedy.
Reasons Why Dogs Should Not Be Given Calpol
Although paracetamol can sometimes be prescribed to the animal by a vet, this does not mean that human medication is safe for both dogs and cats to consume. Paracetamol poisoning or complications from ibuprofen can happen even at the low dose that Calpol contains. It can be even more serious for pet cats; they can suffer from liver failure if they consume paracetamol.
There are several other reasons why dogs should not be given Calpol, which are outlined below:
Administering an Incorrect Dosage
Predictably, the dosage of Calpol for a young child would be very different from the appropriate dose for a dog. Unfortunately, this makes giving the wrong dosage more likely, which could result in the dog overdosing.
Inability to Predict Reactions
Not all dogs will react to a particular medication the same way. One dog might consume a drug with minimal complication, while another could suffer severe side effects. This could be due to other medication the dog is on or just its individual biology.
Potential for Poisoning
Every year in the UK, several pets end up accidentally poisoned due to consuming human medications administered by their owners. This includes Calpol. Dogs might experience the following symptoms if they ingest a toxic amount of acetaminophen:
- Breathing difficulties
- Paw or facial swelling
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
A dog might also suffer from a coma or even death in extreme cases.
Safe Alternatives are Available
There are pain relief medications specifically designed for dogs that are safer and more effective for them than human medicines, such as Loxicom and Metacam. These medicines will only be prescribed by a qualified veterinarian who will guide you through the appropriate medication and dosage for your dog’s requirements.
The active ingredient in Calpol is acetaminophen, which can be toxic to dogs. Although a large dose must be administered for acetaminophen to be fatal, a small dose can cause liver damage.
Other ingredients in Calpol can be harmful to dogs. For example, some formulations contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs and can lead to rapid insulin release, resulting in low blood sugar, otherwise known as hypoglycemia.
Can Dogs Have Calpol: FAQs
When a pet dog suffers from pain, it is common for the dog owner to ask many questions. This can be stressful for all involved, and it is vital to remember that pet parents should contact a vet with concerns.
To ease some of the anxiety owners might be experiencing, Household Pets has provided answers to the most commonly asked questions concerning the use of Calpol for dogs.
My vet told me to give my dog Calpol – should I?
Professional advice is usually safe to follow; the most important factor is to measure out the correct dose. If your vet tells you to give your dog Calpol, but you want to get a second opinion before following those instructions, you have every right to do so.
Can my dog be given any human medications?
No human medications should be given to dogs without veterinary advice. There are some human medicines that vets prescribe after diagnosing an animal’s condition, such as antihistamines, steroid sprays, and topical antibiotic treatments. Again, a vet will only prescribe these medications after examining the dog.
To Sum Up
Simply put, dogs should not be given Calpol unless this treatment has been approved by a vet. As a human medicine that hasn’t been tested on dogs, weighing the benefits and risks of administering Calpol to animals is vital. There are several possible side effects of giving a dog Calpol; dogs could even die from an incorrect dose.
Due to the risks involved in administering Calpol and other medicines designed for humans, it is best to listen to a professional vet’s guidance when treating a dog’s pain and discomfort. Vets can decide on a safe dose of Calpol for dogs, which will help avoid unwanted consequences.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice.