Animal Medication 101: Is Calpol Safe for Cats and Dogs?
There is both a long and short answer to this question, this page will give you both answers. The short answer is no, Calpol is not safe for your cat or dog. Do not give Calpol to help your pet if it’s not feeling its usual self. If your cat or dog has accidentally consumed Calpol take them for veterinary care immediately. Unfortunately, far more people give their pets human medication than you realise. This is because they believe if it can treat a person's pain, it will do the same for their pet. This is extremely wrong and in many cases endangers the life of our beloved pet.
The active ingredient in Calpol is Paracetamol, which can be fatal to cats and dogs of any size. If your dog gets a severe case of paracetamol poisoning, death is likely to happen within 2-5 days after symptoms become visible. For this reason speed is of the utmost priority if you notice any of the signs listed further down this page. Unfortunately, before most symptoms are visible to the untrained eye, all of the paracetamol will have been digested into the bloodstream.
Some people ask if Metacam is the same as Calpol, these are not the same. Calpol as already mentioned is paracetamol based, Metacam is Meloxicam based.
Can I give my cat or dog Calpol for a fever?
No. As already mentioned this is not an appropriate treatment to self prescribe for your cat or dog. According to Willows Veterinary Centre, cats are highly sensitive to paracetamol (the active ingredient of Calpol), one 250mg tablet can be fatal. For dogs weighing 20kg, Willows state that seven 500mg tablets would need to be ingested to cause toxic effects. The levels of paracetamol found in Calpol products varies, for example the Six Plus Suspension contains 250mg per 5ml. While the Infant Suspension contains 120mg of paracetamol per 5ml. Hence consuming the same volume of Six Plus Suspension would have more than twice the level of paracetamol than the Infant Suspension. Paracetamol damages the liver and red blood cells of both cats and dogs, this can be fatal to any animal let alone your favourite pets. If you think your pet has poisoning from Calpol or paracetamol, read the poisoning section lower down.
What should I Do If My Cat or Dog Ingests Paracetamol When They Weren't Supposed To?
Unfortunately cats and dogs both love to eat things they shouldn’t. If you suspect your pet may have consumed Calpol, take them to a vets to get them checked over. If possible take the Calpol bottle with you, to show the vet so they can get a better understanding of the dosage strength and levels of Calpol consumed.
If your dog is a larger bread and only a small amount of Calpol has been consumed your dog is likely to be perfectly fine without medical attention. It’s your choice whether to head to the vets and if you choose not to keep a close eye on your dog and its behaviour. If you sense a change in it’s wellbeing head to the vets as soon as possible.
If it is not possible to get to a vets quickly then find something which can digest the toxins quickly. Typically the best and most readily available items are forms of clay, argiletz green clay or bentonite clay or straight kaolin to be precise. These clays are usually ingredients in face masks and other such products. They are good at absorbing, so making your cat or dog eat some of these clays means that the Calpol will be absorbed by the clay and not your pet. Lowering the levels digested into the body, hopefully preventing paracetamol poisoning.
Paracetamol Poisoning Symptoms in Pet Dogs and Cats
If you have ever taken paracetamol you will know that it is a fast and effective pain killer. That is because it is rapidly absorbed into your system after ingestion. Paracetamol has exactly the same effect with our furry friends.
Paracetamol poisoning has much the same symptoms in dogs as it does cats Unfortunately, as already mentioned cats have an extremely low tolerance to paracetamol products. Both cats and dogs do not have the required enzymes to break down paracetamol in a safe manner. As a result dangerous toxins build up, stopping oxygen moving around the body as required. Your pets will likely seem out of breath as its body is starving of oxygen. Their gums can turn blue and cats have an increased pulse, a cat's typical resting pulse is usually between 110-140BMP. Vomiting is also likely in an attempt to remove toxins. There may be swelling around its face and paws as well as a much darker coloured urine than usual. There can be a drop in your pet's body temperature and if left too long a coma and next death.
What If My Vet Prescribed Paracetamol For My Car or Dog?
The chance of a vet prescribing paracetamol is very unlikely, but there is a slim chance that it could be for a dog (a very slim chance). If your vet has prescribed paracetamol for your cat, question the vet and get a second opinion. If your dog is prescribed a medicine which has paracetamol as an active ingredient, the dosage will have been adjusted according to the dogs weight. You may want to double check this dosage via another vet. To read about what pain medication vets are more likely to prescribe click here.
Hopefully this has been made very clear throughout this web page, do not give Calpol to your cat or your dog. If your cat or dog has consumed Calpol either by accident or has been fed. Contact your vets immediately for professional advice about what action to take next.
**Note** This content is not intended to replace professional veterinary advice. If your dog has a medical condition or serious health problems, obtain your vet's consent before using the above products.
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