Will NyQuil Kill My Dog? [Safe for Dogs?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? The dreaded late-night sniffles, the incessant coughing, and the relentless battle for a good night’s sleep. 

It’s the kind of misery that sends us, pajama-clad and bleary-eyed, fumbling through the medicine cabinet in search of that trusty, little bottle of NyQuil. 

Ah, sweet relief! But hold on a minute… what about Fido?

Will Nyquil kill my dog?

Before you even think about reaching for that bottle, let’s talk about what it could do to your four-legged friend.

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What is NyQuil?

What is NyQuil

If you’ve ever had the flu or a common cold, you’ve probably heard of NyQuil. It’s that over-the-counter medicine most keep in their medicine cabinets for cold, flu, allergies, and such. 

There are different types, but they all tackle the same things: sneezing, sore throat, headaches, fever, runny nose, and cough. 

You might wonder if you can give NyQuil to your furry friend when they’re not feeling well. 

After all, if it helps humans, it should work for dogs too, right?

Can You Give Dogs NyQuil?

Definitely not! Our canines and NyQuil don’t mix. 

NyQuil is made for humans. It contains ingredients that might relieve our sniffles but could spell danger for our furry friends. 

It’s not just one variant that’s a no-go. 

All the different types of NyQuil could be toxic to dogs.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Clavamox for dogs without vet prescription

What Are the Risks of Giving NyQuil to Dogs?

What Are the Risks of Giving NyQuil to Dogs

If you know the consequence of giving your pet NyQuil, you’ll probably never consider it again. 

The greatest danger is severe liver damage, which may need emergency medical treatment and is not always treatable. 

Plus, NyQuil has been linked to major health problems including anemia

Overdosing is also problematic and is a real risk for your pet. 

Taking too much NyQuil can leave them depressed and weakened. 

There are even cases when dogs experience shortness of breath and palpitations.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Does Proin kill dogs?

Is NyQuil Toxic to Dogs? Harmful Ingredients

As I mentioned above, the reason why NyQuil is a no-go for dogs is because of the ingredients. 

The big troublemaker here is acetaminophen. It’s what we take for pain and fever, but for dogs, it’s a real danger. 

It can seriously mess up their liver and even cause anemia. So, definitely keep it away from your furry pals. Your pet can experience fatigue and weakness due to this condition.

Doxylamine succinate and dextromethorphan are other active ingredients in the medication. 

The former might result in your pet having digestive issues, including vomiting and loose stools.

The latter, on the other hand, can induce lethargy, confusion, and neurological symptoms. 

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What Are the Symptoms of NyQuil Overdose in Dogs?

If our pet ingests too much NyQuil, it can result in a range of symptoms that indicate an overdose. 

  • Lethargy may set in, with dogs becoming unusually tired and showing little interest in moving or playing.
  • Your poor pup may also become weak and struggle with standing or walking. They might seem a bit wobbly on their feet. 
  • Vomiting and diarrhea can also happen as the body reacts to the overdose. 
  • You might also notice your poor pup experiencing rapid or troubled breathing and tachycardia if the situation is severe.
  • Additionally, dogs might present pale or white gums and appear disoriented or confused. 
  • In severe cases, NyQuil overdose can even lead to seizures. 

What Should You Do if Your Dog Takes NyQuil?

If your dog accidentally takes NyQuil, you will need to act calmly but quickly. Call your vet or an emergency clinic right away. 

This is important because acetaminophen gets absorbed by the body easily. 

Follow closely what your vet will tell you to do. 

Most of the time, this would involve keeping a close eye on your pet and giving them a lot of water.

If your furry pal managed to down a lot of the medicine, your vet might instruct you to induce vomiting.

Remember not to do this on your own without the supervision of an expert.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Taking NyQuil?

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Taking NyQuil

Preventing your dog from getting hold of NyQuil, or any similar medications, is all about taking a few simple steps to ensure their safety. 

First and foremost, store these medications securely. Make sure they’re kept in a place that’s not accessible to your dog, like a high cabinet or locked drawer. 

This is especially important if you have kids around because, let’s face it, dogs are curious, and kids might not always remember to keep medicine out of their reach.

After every use, double-check that the container is sealed tightly, and don’t leave it lying around where your dog can get to it. 

You know how life can get super busy, and we might miss stuff like this. So, just being a bit more careful can really help keep your dog out of harm’s way.

How Should You Treat Your Dog’s Cold or Flu Symptoms

If your dog seems under the weather with cold or flu symptoms, you’ll need to help them ride it out. Let them take plenty of rest and make sure they stay warm. 

Hydration is also important and you would want them to have plenty of fluids as well. You can do this by keeping their bowls filled with fresh water so they can quench their thirst at all times. 

If your dog’s not eating, try offering them bland and easy-to-digest food like boiled chicken and rice. 

Observe them. If their symptoms get worse or don’t improve in a couple of days, it’s time to call your vet for advice. 

Cold Medication That is Harmful to Dogs

Aside from NyQuil, there are also other medications that you should keep away from your pet. 

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

While it might be tempting to use this common pain reliever for your dog’s discomfort, it’s a big no-no. 

Ibuprofen can cause severe gastrointestinal issues. Your poor pet may experience

severe stomach pain, vomiting, and even ulcers just by ingesting a small amount.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Acetaminophen, which can also be found in Tylenol is another concern, being toxic to dogs and potentially causing liver damage. 

Again, even a small amount of Tylenol can harm them, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. Lastly, some cold medications contain 

Pseudoephedrine-containing medications

A decongestant that is particularly risky for dogs is Pseudoephedrine.

Aside from the possibility of elevated heart rate and seizures, in severe cases, it can even cause death.

Since dogs metabolize medications differently from humans, it’s vital to keep these medications out of their reach and immediately consult your vet if you suspect ingestion.

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How Much Acetaminophen is Toxic to Dogs?

Any dose is a bad dose. Acetaminophen’s toxic threshold is much lower for dogs than humans, so don’t even think about it.

Smaller and younger dogs are more at risk. For dogs, a toxic dose starts at 100 milligrams per kilogram of their weight. That’s about 45 milligrams per pound. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I give my dog Zzzquil?

While ZzzQuil is generally safe in the right dosage for most dogs, it’s essential to be cautious. One of its components is an antihistamine called diphenhydramine which can potentially cause drowsiness and confusion. Dogs, particularly those with underlying health conditions, may also develop neurological problems due to this component.  

Can I give Benadryl to my dog?

Benadryl is safe for dogs in the correct dosage. The suggested dose is about 1 mg per pound of your dog’s weight. You can give this every 8 to 12 hours. But remember to check with the vet before giving your pet any medication.

Is Mucinex ok for dogs?

In theory, Mucinex is okay for dogs. The thing is, while some veterinary formulations may contain guaifenesin (the active ingredient in Mucinex), the dosage and safety for dogs can vary greatly. That is why you should always seek professional guidance before administering any medication to your dog to avoid potential harm.

Can I give my dog DayQuil?

No, dogs should not take DayQuil. It has acetaminophen. This active ingredient can potentially damage your pet’s liver and impact the capacity of red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body.

Can dogs take nighttime cold medicine?

Most OTC cold medications contain decongestants that are not safe for dogs, so it’s best to steer clear. Always check with your pet’s vet first before giving them any medication.

What happens if my dog takes an opiate?

Several possible effects of your dog consuming an opiate include slowing down your dog’s breathing, making them drowsy, and affecting their nervous system. If you think your dog ate an opiate, it’s crucial to rush to the vet ASAP. This can result in a serious situation that might require immediate professional medical attention.

What kind of cold medicine can I give my dog?

Colds and cold-like symptoms in dogs can signal various diseases. Self-medicating your dog is risky, so consult a vet for accurate diagnosis and treatment. They’ll figure out the actual root of the symptoms and give the right meds. 

What should I give my dog for a cough?

If your dog’s coughing, it could signal various medical issues. Getting your pet checked out by their vet is necessary. They might recommend some cough meds, antibiotics, or other treatments depending on what’s ailing your pet. Never give your pet cough medication without consulting a healthcare expert first.

In Conclusion: Will NyQuil Kill My Dog?

When it comes to your dog’s health, knowledge is your greatest ally. 

While NyQuil may not be an immediate death sentence, it’s a risky path to tread, and you should definitely avoid it.

Keep them stored securely to prevent any accidents, and let your family members know about it too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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