Cough Medicine for Dogs

Cough medicine for dogs serves the same purpose as cough medicine for people. While it does not directly help the dog's immune system fight the infection, dog cough medicine can provide your pet with at least partial relief from its symptoms. There are a variety of different cough medicines designed for dogs, and owners can decide which to use based on their dog's condition.


Antihistamines make up a group of drugs that inhibit the release of a hormone called histamine. Histamine is the trigger that causes some of the minor functions of the immune system, such as inflammation and coughing, to activate. At first glance, it may not seem like a good idea to suppress a sick dog's immune system, but a canine upper respiratory infection is not usually a serious illness, and sometimes the dog's immune system causes more discomfort in its attempt to defeat the infection than the infection itself would.


Steroids are a group of drugs that work in a similar way to antihistamines, except that they are much more potent, and have their greatest effect on reducing inflammation. Because steroids are powerful, potentially dangerous drugs, they are rarely used for minor upper respiratory infections. They're often administered to treat more serious cases, such as a dog that has difficulty breathing due to swelling in its windpipe.


While most cough medicines for dogs contain only one (usually synthetically manufactured) active ingredient, there are some brands, such as Nectadyn, that contain a mixture of natural ingredients. Nectadyn contains many different herbal ingredients, including a plant called Drosera rotundifolia that contains anti-inflammatory alkaloids, a plant called ipecacuanha that dissolves mucous, and a plant called Antimonium tartaricum, which suppresses coughing and alleviates chest congestion. Another natural ingredient in Nectadyn, called Spongia tosta, consists of roasted sea sponges. It's useful for alleviating a wide variety of symptoms associated with canine upper respiratory infections.


There are the types of canine cough medicines that are all synthetic, and the types that have only natural ingredients, and then there are medications that use both synthetic and natural ingredients. KC-Defense, a canine cough medicine designed to prevent dry, hacking coughs and to fortify the respiratory and immune systems, fits into the latter category. The medicine contains synthetic biochemical tissue salts that strengthen the dog's lungs and breathing airways, thereby making it easier for the dog to breathe. KC-Defense decreases the chance of future infections by fortifying the immune system. It also has natural herbal ingredients, which contain chemicals that relieve sneezing and coughing in dogs.

If you have a dog with an upper respiratory infection that doesn't seem to be getting better on its own, you can help the animal's immune system fight the disease more effectively with canine cough medicine. Cough medicine for dogs can also help to alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with a canine upper respiratory infection.