Is Robitussin Safe for Dogs?
When we find ourselves saddled with a cough that just won’t quit, we have a wide range of remedies we can use to quiet it for short periods of time. Some people like to suck on cough drops, drink tea, eat honey, or gargle with salt water, but most people take some sort of cough medicine. Robitussin, an over-the-counter drug also known by the generic Dextromethorphan, is one of the most popular cough suppressants today.
Over the years, those of us who are especially prone to colds have developed an almost religious loyalty to this effective medication, so it comes as no surprise that we would want to turn to it when our precious pooch starts coughing up a storm. But is this really a good idea? Will it even work on my cold-ridden canine? Can my dog have Robitussin?
The answer is yes, but only certain formulations, and only with clearance from a veterinarian. We use this drug on ourselves without much thought, but we have to use caution when we open our medicine cabinets to our furry friends. To treat cough associated with bronchitis, kennel cough, or other conditions that have irritated your dog’s airway, use only Robitussin-DM, and make sure you talk to a vet first. This drug is generally considered safe for use in canines, but it is important to make sure you are treating the right thing. The average person is not equipped to diagnose their dog’s sicknesses.
This drug has not been FDA approved for use in dogs, but veterinarians use it quite frequently. Robitussin, which is considered a mild cough suppressant, is usually administered to dogs who are dealing with chronic nonproductive (or ‘dry’) cough that comes with conditions like kennel cough and bronchitis. If your furry friend begins coughing up mucus or choking, stop giving them Robitussin and take them to see the vet.
This drug works to alleviate cough caused by irritation of the airway. It can also be used in conjunction with other drugs to help loosen mucus in the lungs (though all dogs who are experiencing wet or productive coughs should be examined by a vet). This drug can treat the irritation that is causing your dog’s cough, but it will not do anything to address the underlying problem. As a mild cough suppressant, Robitussin may not be enough for dogs dealing with severe or lasting cough. Some dogs may require opiates in order to get the relief they need.
There are over a dozen different formulations of Robitussin, so it is of utmost importance to read the ingredients and be aware of which version you are purchasing. The one usually recommended for canines is Robitussin-DM, which has the active ingredient Dextromethorphan. Some varieties of Robitussin do not even have Dextromethorphan, which means that they will not be effective and may even be dangerous. Robitussin AC, which contains codeine, should be completely off limits.
Because there are so many different versions of Robitussin, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what dose is appropriate for your pet. The most common concentration appears to be 2 mg/ml. This drug is generally considered safe for canines to take in doses of up to 1 mg per kilogram of bodyweight twice daily. If your dog experiences negative side effects, they may need to have their dosage decreased or switch to another medication entirely. In order to prevent overdose and make sure the drug is effective, you should consult a veterinarian regarding dosing instructions.
Though Robitussin is usually safe, it is not without risk. Some dogs are allergic to Dextromethorphan. Adverse reactions often include symptoms like anxiety, problems urinating, muscle weakness, tremors, behavioral changes, seizures, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, or dizziness. This drug can also increase the amount of histamines produced in the body, so it should be used with caution if your dog has allergies. Talk to your veterinarian about any other medications your dog has taken recently—Robitussin may not be safe if it is taken with narcotics, sedatives, or any other central nervous system depressants.
Things to Consider
Finally, it is important to emphasize, again, the importance of seeing a veterinarian about your dog’s cough symptoms. While most coughs are not serious, some may be indicative of serious health conditions that require more than Robitussin to treat. If your dog has other symptoms, such as fever, bleeding, or wheezing, take them to the vet straight away. It is dangerous to try to treat your dog’s symptoms when you do not know what is causing them. If there is any chance that your dog is dealing with something serious, don’t waste time with Robitussin.
In conclusion, Robitussin is safe for use in dogs under the guidance of a veterinarian. Following proper examination and diagnosis, his mild cough suppressant may help alleviate your pooch’s symptoms in the short term. Be sure to follow dosing instructions carefully and monitor your dog for any new or worsening symptoms.