What is the Best Canine Cough Medicine?

A canine cough can take time to clear up. There are several reasons your dog might be coughing. Whatever the source of the problem, if you haven't taken your dog to see a vet it is a good idea to do so. Some causes of canine coughing can be serious, even life-threatening, so it is much safer to treat it sooner rather than later.

Why Your Dog Might Have a Cough

There could be several reasons your dog might have a cough. Perhaps there is something in his environment that is irritating. It can also be a sign of a more serious condition like pneumonia, tonsillitis or kennel cough. It can be difficult to tell the cause of a canine cough so always try and see a vet before thinking about any medication for him.

Using Human Cough Medicine on Dogs

There are a few medicines that can be used on both humans and pets. Certain types of cough medicine fall into this category. Brands such as Benylin and Robitussin might be familiar names as they are human cough remedies. In the right dosage they have also been shown to be effective in treating dry dog coughing as well.

The active ingredient in cough medicine that works on dogs is called dextromethorphan. This is the ingredient to look out for when choosing a cough medicine for your dog.

Most of these medicines can be bought over the counter at most pharmacies. Your vet might also give you a prescription with the correct dosage. Be sure to check with your vet first before giving human cough medicine to your dog.

Using Cough Medicine Safely

Different brands of cough medicine can come with slightly different ingredients and different dosage strengths. The most important thing to remember is that your dog will not need a human-sized dosage, this will be far too much for him and could be very harmful.

The kind of cough medicine and the dosage you need will depend on the kind of dog you have. Smaller dogs will generally need lower strength medicine otherwise their bodies won't be able to handle it.

Many cough medicines available today come with other ingredients as well. Don't give your dog the medicine if it contains:

  • Paracetomol
  • Acetaminophen
  • Alcohol
  • Guiafenesin
  • Caffeine

Cough medicine also shouldn't be given to dogs who have the following conditions:

  • Heart conditions
  • Pregnant or lactating mothers
  • A chesty cough that is producing mucus
  • A collapsed trachea

It is crucial to keep in mind that every dog is different too. If you think you have found the right brand and dosage for your breed of dog, keep an eye on his reaction to the medicine when administering it. Some dogs may be more genetically sensitive to certain medicines than others and it will usually be impossible to know whether this is the case for your dog beforehand.

In order to find the best cough medicine for your dog and use it as safely as possible, always try and see your vet for advice before administering anything to your dog yourself. If this isn't possible, ask around for tried and tested cough medicines for your breed. Human medicine can be effective for treating dogs but, like all drugs, it should be used with care.