Can you give dogs cough medicines? It depends. If you’re giving your pet a cough medicine as per your veterinarian’s prescription, it’s perfectly fine to administer it by yourself. However, if you’re giving it to your dog off-label (i.e., not as per the vet’s orders), keep in mind that dogs metabolize medications differently than humans do. For this reason, overdoses are more likely for dogs. Also, keep in mind that human cough medicines can be toxic to dogs. For that reason, you should never administer any human medicine to dogs. These “human medicines” are meant for use by humans only, so dogs and other pets should never ingest any unprescribed medicines.
While colds and coughs will dissipate with a healthy diet, exercise, and due time, sometimes the coughs may persist for a longer period of time. How long the cough lasts depends on the underlying cause. If it persists for more than a couple of days, you should consult your veterinarian. In some cases, your vet might prescribe your dog a low dose of dextromethorphan to combat the coughing, but this doesn’t mean anyone can administer the medicine whenever the dog starts coughing. Overdoses are always a risk, so it’s best to leave all medicines for your dog in the hands of the vet.
What You Need to Know
An overdose of dextromethorphan can lead to nausea, dizziness, vomiting, drowsiness, decreased rate of breathing, and, in some cases, seizures. The most serious complications of dextromethorphan dog overdoses involve the respiratory and central nervous systems. These issues can be life-threatening for your pet if not treated immediately. For this reason, it is imperative that you never give your dog any medicine off-label (i.e., by yourself), unless prescribed by the vet.
Never administer any human medicine to dogs without the vet’s prescription. It’s important that dog owners understand the risks associated with human cough medications. These medicines could contain ingredients such as acetaminophen, caffeine, xylitol, and ibuprofen, all of which are toxic to dogs. If a dog ever overdoses on any medicine with these ingredients, it could lead to a myriad of health complications. Some of the health issues include pancreatitis, liver failure, seizures, kidney failure, gastrointestinal ulcers, heart damage, and more.
So, the question remains: Can you give dogs cough medicine? The answer? Maybe. It’s best to follow your vet’s prescription to the letter when administering it to your pet. There are several things you need to consider prior to administering any medication (or anything in general) to your dog. As always, it’s best to follow the instructions of the vet, whether on the written prescription or from a conversation between you and your vet. If a dog is fine with a low dose of dextromethorphan, that doesn’t mean anyone can give them any medication off-label. If the cough persists for longer than a couple of days, consult with your veterinarian.
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Find out more information on other medications that are safe for your dogs to eat here.
Have you ever given cough medicines to your dog? Were they prescribed by the vet? What do you give your dog when they have a cough? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!