Will NyQuil Kill A Dog

Will NyQuil Kill A Dog?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

NyQuil is safe for humans, but it is toxic for dogs and can be lethal if ingested in large quantities. Human medications such as NyQuil and many others have no business being in your dog’s body.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Will NyQuil Kill A Dog?“.

Medications for humans are definitely not suitable for pets.

Will NyQuil Kill A Dog

If your dog accidentally swallows some of your flu medication what will happen?

Are they likely to get seriously ill or will your dog be fine?

Perhaps you are looking for a sedative to calm your dogs anxious nerves.

Are you wondering if NyQuil is safe?

Is it going to kill your dog?

Lets be real shall we?

NyQuil is safe for humans but it is toxic for dogs which can be lethal if ingested in large quantities.

Human medications such as NyQuil and many others have no business being in your dogs body. 

What is the active ingredient in NyQuil?

Flu colds allergies and flu-like illnesses can be treated with NyQuil over-the-counter medication.

In addition to relieving cold symptoms such as sore throats runny noses coughing headaches sneezing and fever NyQuil helps to prevent common colds in the future.

Flu patients benefit greatly from this medication which also allows them to sleep comfortably at night. 

A combination of doxylamine acetaminophen and dextromethorphan (DXM) is the active ingredient in NyQuil. Sore throats nasal congestion and sneezing are soothed by doxylamine an anti-allergy medication.

Doxylamine also induces drowsiness which helps patients fall asleep.

Dextromethorphan reduces coughing while acetaminophen relieves fever and pain. 

Can a dog take NyQuil?

There is no reason to give your dog NyQuil or any other human medication.

Getting your dog to the vet for a prescription is safer when they are sick with the flu.

It is not safe for dogs to take NyQuil whether intentionally or accidentally.

Acetaminophen one of the active ingredients in NyQuil is not safe for dogs.

The following is how doxylamine DXM and acetaminophen affect dogs:


Allergies and itching are common reasons to prescribe doxylamine succinate to dogs. The reason for its use in cold medicines for humans is that it is an antihistamine. The recommended dosage of doxylamine for dogs is 1 mg per pound of body weight. For two capsules or two tablespoons of NyQuil the dosage is 12.5 mg of doxylamine. Dosage of this size is unlikely to harm most dogs.


(or DXM) is also sometimes administered to dogs. Usually its not given to dogs for cough but instead used to treat compulsive behavior. A dosage of 1 milligram per pound of bodyweight is recommended for dogs. Nevertheless NyQuil contains 10 to 15 mg of DXM in each capsule or tablespoon which is enough to poison a small dog with just 2 capsules.

Poisoning with DXM is more common in puppies and small dog breeds. Dogs of large breeds on the other hand can develop health problems if they take too much. Dogs can experience a variety of symptoms from an overdose of DXM. Fever tremors anxiety and other symptoms are common symptoms of DXM poisoning. 


Although this is a good painkiller for humans it is harmful to dogs. Acetaminophen consumption can result in dogs having swollen faces vomiting losing appetite and having discolored gums. Dogs can also suffer liver damage from this medication. Dogs are particularly susceptible to toxic and even lethal OTC pain relievers containing acetaminophen. All Theraflu DayQuil NyQuil and Tylenol contain acetaminophen and should never be given to dogs. 

What happens if your dog eats NyQuil?

The presence of this type of toxicity is unfortunately still common despite how toxic acetaminophen is to our pets. In many cases this is caused by dogs getting into their owners’ medicine cabinets and ingesting medications. It is possible however that a pet owner mistakenly administered the wrong drug to their dog in an attempt to manage the pain at home.

The safety margin for Acetaminophen in dogs is very small. A drugs safety margin is the difference between the usual effective dose and the dose that produces severe or life-threatening side effects. The dog becomes very weak and unable to walk after taking a toxic dose of acetaminophen. If your dog is drooling vomiting and panting with a rapid heart rate you should take notice. You may also notice discolored gums or eye globes. Additionally you may notice swelling on the face paws and legs. 

In addition acetaminophen inhibits red-blood cells’ ability to transport oxygen. As a result of poisoning there will be liver damage with symptoms such as dark urine discolored feces swollen stomachs discolored skin and yellow eyes. When these symptoms go unrecognized and the dog is not given the proper treatment the situation can be fatal.

How Much Acetaminophen is Toxic to Dogs?

In dogs acetaminophen has a poisonous dosage of 75-100 mg per kilogram of body weight. Dogs weighing 10 pounds would reach toxicity at 450 mg. Acetaminophen can be found in Tylenol capsules in dosages ranging from 325 mg to 650 mg. One spoonful of NyQuil or one NyQuil capsule contains 325 milligrams of acetaminophen. A single capsule is unlikely to cause harm to your dog. However if your dog swallows a significant amount of painkillers or NyQuil it could suffer harm.

Is there any treatment for Acetaminophen toxicity in dogs?

Acetaminophen toxicity can be prevented by reducing its intake. You should store all your medication in a locked cabinet where your pets cannot access it. You should never treat your dogs illness with human medication. If your dog is suffering from pain your veterinarian should only give them pain medication meant for humans such as ibuprofen (Advil) acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin.

The best way to deal with your dog if he has acetaminophen in his system is to treat and decontaminate him immediately. Getting to the vet right away is your best chance of preventing poisoning if you notice the ingestion as soon as it occurs. To rid the body of the poison the veterinarian will induce vomiting. The use of activated charcoal can also help remove any remaining traces of poison from your dogs system further reducing the chance of toxicity. Only your veterinarian should administer this treatment. 

Depending on how much acetaminophen your dog ingested they may need hospitalization. When the dose is very large then N-acetylcysteine a poisoning antidote may be given.

In very severe cases acetaminophen toxicity requires more intensive treatment. As an example a dog with liver damage may require vitamin K or plasma transfusions. 

How to prevent NyQuil poisoning in dogs?

Two methods exist for preventing your dog from getting poisoned by NyQuil. The first and most obvious is to never give NyQuil or any other human medication. You could end up giving your dog a medication that is harmful or the wrong dose of a medication that is the right one if you self-diagnose and self-medicate your dog. You should always go to the veterinarian for treatment. 

You can also prevent NyQuil poisoning by storing your medications in a place where your dogs or children can not reach them. If you do not leave your meds lying around carelessly you can avoid many medical emergencies caused by accidental ingestion of the wrong medication. 

What other medications contain Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is also found in many other medications besides NyQuil DayQuil and Tylenol. Some of the other medications that contain acetaminophen are:

  • Excedrin
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus
  • Mucinex
  • Robitussin
  • Goody’s
  • Panadol
  • Theraflu

It is impossible to know all the medications that are potentially toxic to dogs therefore it is safer to treat all medications as potentially toxic and keep them locked away. 

What can I give my dog to calm my anxiety?

When dogs are anxious sedatives can help them relax and calm down. Human sedatives however are not appropriate for dogs. There are however sedatives that are made for dogs specifically. 

Acepromazine is the most commonly prescribed oral sedative for dogs. Dopamine receptors in the brain are inhibited and certain brain activities are suppressed as a result. It is more effective to take acepromazine in liquid form than in tablet form. Several side effects like low blood pressure may occur with this medication so it should only be administered by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can help take care of your dogs anxiety or flu. It is your veterinarians responsibility to prescribe the most appropriate sedative for your dog. Make sure that you follow the exact dosage instructions for any medications prescribed to you. 


Flu medication NyQuil is very effective at relieving flu symptoms and improving sleep quality. NyQuil however is a human medication and not a dog medication; it is not appropriate for your dog to take. NyQuil is toxic to dogs because some of the ingredients in it are harmful to them. Acetaminophen is the most toxic ingredient in this flu medication for dogs. 

Your dog needs immediate veterinary care if he or she accidentally swallows NyQuil or any other medicine containing acetaminophen. The veterinarian may induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal or an acetaminophen antidote depending on the severity of the case. Get a prescription from your vet if you need to give your dog a sedative because of the flu. Do not attempt to self-medicate your dog to prevent an unfortunate case of toxicity and keep all your pets medicine locked away. 

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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