Major Uses

Acetaminophen is used mainly for its analgesic, or pain relieving properties in animals. Acetaminophen is used widely in the human population to reduce pain as an alternative to other over-the-counter (OTC) options such as ibuprofen (Advil) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). When prescribed for its analgesic effects, it is most often combined with an opiate to provide relief for more serve pain. Overall, acetaminophen is not commonly used in animals.

Unlike many of the NSAIDS, acetaminophen has not been shown to decrease inflammation in animals. And while it is known to reduce fever in humans, it is rarely used for this indication in the pet population.

Common Precautions

Acetaminophen is contraindicated in felines and should be avoided as it can lead to fatal liver and blood disorders. While acetaminophen is considered an OTC for humans, it is not recommended for dogs or any other animal unless prescribed by and under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

Acetaminophen should not be administered to animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. Potential adverse effects of an overdose include liver damage, signs of which included swelling, specifically swelling of the paws.


Acetaminophen must be stored at room temperature.


Acetaminophen is available in both liquid and tablet form including 120mg, 160mg, 325mg, and 500mg tablets.

As mentioned before, acetaminophen should never be given to cats. An appropriate dose for dogs would be 10 to 20 mg/kg two to three times daily or roughly 5 to 10 mg/lb given every 8 to 12 hours. Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.

If a dose is missed, it should be administered as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the subsequent dose, the missed dose should be skipped and the regular administration schedule resumed. It is important to carefully monitor the dose administered, as the chance of liver toxicity greatly increases when more than the recommended dose is exceeded.

This information is for general reference only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition of your pet. It's intended as a general reference, this information may not include all possible uses, precautions, directions, reactions (including allergic), drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your local veterinarian and have your pet examined for any advice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of your pet, including which products and doses are most appropriate. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. VetDepot is not a pharmacy. All prescription products are dispensed by our Pharmacy Partner. Article last updated 2/2014.