Can I give human painkillers to my pet?


The short answer is NO.

You should never attempt to treat your pets with human medication, precautions should be taken to keep household medications out reach of your pet to avoid a potentially harmful or fatal reaction.

Unfortunately, it is commonly assumed that a medication that is safe for humans will also be safe for pets. As a result, a number of animals are poisoned every year when their owners attempt to give them treatment for pain without consulting their vet.


Can I give Ibuprofen to my pet?

Do not give Ibuprofen to your dog or cat under any circumstances. Ibuprofen and naproxen are common and effective medications used to treat inflammation and pain in humans, but they should not be given to pets. These drugs can be toxic (poisonous) to dogs and cats. A single 200 mg ibuprofen tablet can be toxic to a cat or a small dog. Toxic effects can occur rapidly and cause damage to the kidneys and stomach.

Is Aspirin safe for my pet?

Do not give aspirin to your puppy or to your cat. Aspirin is not tolerated by young dogs, as they lack the enzymes necessary to process the aspirin in their body, this is also true for most cats. Aspirin can occasionally be prescribed by your Vet, however it is important to make sure that the appropriate dose is given. Giving too large dose of aspirin may be toxic to your pet. An adult aspirin, which is 320mg, would be toxic for a 5kg dog. If given without food, aspirin can cause ulcers in the stomach.


My pet has eaten Ibuprofen, what should I do?

If you suspect your pet has been given ibuprofen or has eaten it by accident, you should contact your Vet immediately.

Signs of a toxic reaction include:

• Vomiting
• Weakness
• Lethargy
• Lack of appetite
• Black, tarry faeces.


I heard Paracetamol is the safest painkiller, can I give it to my pet?

Do not give paracetamol to your cat under any circumstances. Paracetamol is a very popular painkiller in humans, however it can be toxic or fatal in small animals. Dogs are less sensitive to paracetamol than cats. A 20kg dog would need to ingest over seven 500mg tablets in order to suffer toxic effects. In cats, one 250mg paracetamol tablet could be fatal. Paracetamol causes severe damage to the liver and red blood cells.

My pet has been prescribed Paracetamol, should I give it to my pet?

There is a veterinary formulation of paracetamol that can be prescribed to your dog, and your Vet may decide to prescribe this under some circumstances. This formula is safe to give to a dog but it is important to make sure that you follow your Vet’s dosage very carefully and report any problems such as vomiting, difficulty breathing, drooling, dullness or a painful tummy. Cats however are extremely sensitive to the toxic effects, and so paracetamol must not be given to cats under any circumstances.

Never give human medications to your pet unless specially directed to do so by your Vet. There are other drugs that have similar beneficial effects but which are safe for your pet and licensed for use in animals. It is important to seek the advice of your Vet if you think your pet is in pain and to follow their instructions carefully. Always keep all medications in a secure place, out of reach of your pet.

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Anaesthesia and Analgesia

Find out more

To assist owners in understanding more about Anaesthesia and Analgesia, we have put together a range of information sheets to talk you through the some of the main areas of pain management at Willows.