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Pets on paracetamol: animals at risk as owners struggle with vet bills

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Vets fear people may be giving “dangerous doses” of paracetamol to their pets as fears grow that the cost of living crisis is impinging on animal owners’ ability to pay for medical help.The RSPCA recently discovered that Google searches for “can I give my dog paracetamol” have almost tripled since January 2020, and that in May the number of searches for the same phrase was 28% higher than even at the height of lockdown, in April 2020, when vets were heavily restricting access to their clinics.“Whenever you get a situation where people are genuinely short of money or are worried they are going to be, there will inevitably be pet owners who either delay seeking attention from a vet or even, sadly, don’t seek attention at all,” said vet Robin Hargreaves, former president of the British Veterinary Association.He added that he fears that these searches may reflect “a reluctance to go and see a vet because people are worried about costs and whether they can afford it”.While vets do sometimes prescribe paracetamol for dogs, the medicine is “dangerous” if given in the wrong dose, Hargreaves said, and pain relief can hide the cause of the problem.“If somebody rang me up to say: ‘My dog’s in pain – how much paracetamol should I give it?’ I would never tell them.

Because we need to know why the dog’s in pain. You would never advise using pain relief before you knew what you were trying to treat.”The vet charity for pets in need, PDSA, also warned pet owners never to give paracetamol to cats. “It is extremely toxic to them and can be fatal,” said PDSA vet Claire Roberts. “If you feel your pet is in need of pain relief, you must seek advice from your vet – never give them human pain relief unless your vet has asked you to.”Earlier

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