There will be times when your dog will need and benefit from decongestants. It may be due to a respiratory infection or one of the less common types of infections. There are over-the-counter decongestants you can give your dog with the approval of your vet. Some will require a vet’s prescription in order to obtain them.
Nobody likes to see their beloved pet suffering. If you have a sick dog you are probably wanting to run to the pharmacy to help ease the pain. This is sometimes more detrimental than good. Your dog’s system works somewhat differently from that of a human.
Some dogs can take human medication without side effects, while others will suffer even more. Each dog has a different sensitivity level to human medications. You can’t control that but you can avoid getting the dosage wrong. Some severe side effects can result from giving decongestants recklessly.
Can I Give My Dog Decongestants? Answer: Dextromethorphan is OK, Many are Not Recommended
If you are thinking of giving your dog a decongestant for whatever reason, give your vet a call. Your veterinarian, if they are good, will go over your dog’s medical history and advise you on which decongestant to buy. They will know the best dosage for your dog as well.
Dextromethorphan is often used for dogs. One teaspoon per twenty pounds of dog every six hours should give the desired effect but that is just an estimate. The difficult part is actually working out exactly how much to give your pet, especially if you have a miniature dog. Too much can be lethal and too little may not help at all.
For example, in larger breeds, some dogs will likely need two teaspoons, where miniature types may only require just three quarters of a teaspoon. This is why you really need to consult with your vet on proper dosing.
Determining A Dog’s Weight
There are a few decongestants you can buy over the counter which are considered safe for dogs. Each of these have a dosage limit but it is probably geared towards human use. As such, it is really critical that you know the weight of your dog before considering giving your K9 any medication.
You can stand on a scale and weigh yourself and then stand on the scale holding your dog. The difference between the weights is the weight of your dog. This isn’t 100% accurate, but is one way to try and weigh your pet.
Your vet should also have an indication of your pet’s weight in their records. In any case, we can’t stress enough, always confirm with your vet before giving your dog any human medication.
Decongestants That Are Considered Safe
A type of decongestant which is considered safe for dogs, with the approval of your vet, is Dextromethorphan. You can give this to your dog every six hours, but only one teaspoon per twenty pounds of dog is advisable. Administering the right dose is key. Have you weighed your dog yet?
You can also give your dog Guaifenesin. This often includes Dextromethorphan and you can also give this to them every six hours. It comes in liquid form so one teaspoon per twenty pounds of dog is a reasonable guideline.
Diphenhydramine is another safe decongestant to give your dog with the vet’s approval. This comes in tablet form. The lower the tablet dose you can find, the better. Give 2mg per pound of dog and not more.
If need be you can break a tablet to ensure the right dose is being given. The advantage of this is you can crush the tablet and mix in with their food.
Hycodan is a decongestant that can only be prescribed by a veterinarian. This will be given in extreme cases. Your vet is only a phone call away!
Side Effects of Decongestants in Dogs
If your dog starts vomiting, trembling, becomes hyperactive, or appears to have an elevated heart rate, stop giving the medication immediately and contact your vet. An overdose of decongestants can kill a dog.
If you notice any of these symptoms you should immediately stop the medication and phone your vet. They may suggest that you bring the dog in immediately for evaluation. Some people try to induce vomiting at home.
So What to Do
Deciding whether to give your dog over-the-counter decongestants or not is in your hands. It is suggested that you only do so with vet approval and their expert dosage recommendation. Once you get the OK, keep a watchful eye on your canine for early signs of a bad reaction. If you notice any harmful side effects, stop the medication immediately and seek professional help.