Can I Give My Dog Robitussin?

Can I Give My Dog Robitussin?Everyone knows Robitussin and people don’t think twice before taking this popular cold medicine. But, if your dog is sick you may have some doubts about giving it because the product is quite strong.

Robitussin has over 15 different variations, including some formulated for children, but there’s nothing geared towards canine use. Dogs are actually worse off because of this since their owners are often unsure as to which type to provide.

Robitussin AC is a Schedule V Controlled Substance since it contains Codeine. Such cough syrup should be highly controlled for dogs. Other versions of this cough medicine require that you know about proper dosage, possible allergic reactions and other factors that we’ll be covering here.

Can I Give My Dog Robitussin? Answer: Yes, with vet approval

This medicine is a popular solution for many households and that can include the family dog if you are careful.

Robitussin can treat many respiratory symptoms associated with the common cold. Has your dog been coughing a lot or are they struggling with lingering mucus, sinus problems or a combination of various cold or flu symptoms? Vets do prescribe Robitussin to treat these nagging problems for canines. They often use it to treat dogs for kennel cough.

But Robitussin is a cough suppressant only. It won’t cure your dog’s cold at all. Check the label for Dextromethorphan. That’s the active ingredient in Robitussin which suppresses the cough reflex signals in your dog’s brain.

Bad Side Effects

Be aware that Robitussin can cause side effects. Your dog may experience hallucinogenic effects from too high a dose. Other symptoms, usually from heavy use, can include shallow breathing, anxiety, dizziness, nervousness, restlessness and confusion. People sometimes abuse it because it’s a cheap alternative to marijuana.

You don’t want your dog suffering from withdrawals or experiencing any of the nasty symptoms. They can very easily occur if the drug is taken for an extended period. Robitussin should be used as only temporary relief for your dog.

Closely monitor your four-legged friend following consumption of any type of antitussive such as Robitussin.

The Dosage for Dogs

How much Robitussin to give a dog is the question lots of canine owners ask. First off, stick with Robitussin that contains Dextromethorphan which is the most commercially available. Be warned that Robitussin AC contains opiates such as codeine which is a naturally occurring morphine. This can be habit forming and develop into a very bad situation for Fido!

Second, Robitussin comes in liquid and tablet form. Most people find it easier to administer it as a tablet, mixing it in with dog food. Finally, you need to know the key factors for a proper dosage. Ideally, you should get a veterinarian to determine the dose for your dog. Their weight, size, age, breed and known allergies will all play a factor.

So, it’s really difficult to provide an exact dosage because every case is somewhat different. As a general guideline, every 10 hours or so you can use up to half a milligram per pound but don’t exceed this amount. The same formula applies to the liquid form but be sure to check the label’s concentration.

Alternatives to Robitussin

Mucinex is similar to Robitussin because they both contain Guaifenesin which is an expectorant. If your dog has mucus in their lungs, guaifenesin will loosen it which helps to clear it. To go the natural route, honey can treat many of the same symptoms your dog is experiencing. Also, certain types of teas may relieve flu symptoms and the common cold.

Conclusion on Robitussin

Robitussin is a powerful drug and not normally intended for dogs. It’s one of the cough preparations which can contain an opiate and that’s serious business. It is, however, considered acceptable for use according to most vets. It can’t be stressed enough that if you do give your dog Robitussin, it should only be for a short time. They also need to be closely watched for bad reactions. If your dog isn’t getting better you really need to take them to the vet.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Laury March, 2016

my 15 year old Great Pyrenees has a lung lesion, presumed to be cancer. He has a lot of thick mucous which he coughs up every few days with an intermittent gagging cough. He weighs around 30 pounds but is losing body mass quickly. I’m giving him honey and lemon juice but he hates it.

I saw information about using n-acetylcysteine or other natural supplements which reportedly helps beat cancer. Our vet has him on prednisone on antibiotics. I will not put him though oncology treatment at his age, but I know food is medicine. However, he’s having trouble with his appetite and keeping down what he does eat. I love him so much and would appreciate any solid advice.


Carole Heath July, 2015

I have a 14 year old Shih Tzu. He’s had a cough for awhile. The vet checked him out recently and found no heart problems. She isn’t sure what the cough is but said if it gets any worse to bring him back. I have a bottle of Robitussin cough mixture and I give him a small amount sometimes. I was unsure about giving it to him but was told it should be okay. I also have a bottle of mixed honey and lemon and wonder if that would help once the Robitussin has all gone.


Jules November, 2015

If your dog continues with the cough, I would give him a mix of honey and lime juice (1 tablespoon each) twice a day. It’s a natural remedy and better than Robitussin.


Mary January, 2015

My small dog has a heart murmur. She takes heart medicine as prescribed by a vet, but now she has a cough all the time. A vet on the computer says to try a cough suppressant. It does work sometimes. Do you have any other ideas?


Susan January, 2015

I would take your dog to your vet. I don’t want to scare you, but my baby had a heart murmur and then developed a cough that sounded like a goose honk. It turned out that she had congestive heart failure.


Tammy February, 2015

Yes, that is what my Cocker Spaniel was just diagnosed with. How long has your dog had it and what can I expect in the coming months?


Susan February, 2015

Tammy, she was diagnosed in March 2014 and passed away on Sept 30, 2014. She did fine on her heart meds for quite a while, but by August she was not wanting to take her meds with peanut butter. So I switched to putting them in with her food (dry with wet mixed in). I then had to start crushing her Vetmedin because that was too big to hide. On September 29th she was up all night panting and I took her to the vet in the morning. She passed away when we got there. Some people have said they had more warning that the end was coming, but it seemed like she was fine until that last night. I wish you the best and will say prayers for your baby. I wish there was a happy ending to tell you or that there was more that we could do for our babies.


Shanna September, 2015

My dog has had congestive heart failure for 4 years and has done just fine on Lasix. I am sure they are all different.


Cathy November, 2015

My Toy Poodle has also had heart failure for 4 years and we have only used Lasix during that time. We must have caught it early.

Jana January, 2015

How much Robitussin cough liquid can I give my 20 pound Pug for bronchitis?


Michael January, 2015

I gave 10 milliliters to my 30 pound Rat Terrier about 45 minutes ago and she got sick from it. I’m off to find something else at 2:00am.


Judy February, 2015

I just had my 8-1/2 year old Puggle at the vet last night. The dog is 37 pounds, way overweight, and has been having the sniffles, runny nose and has been waking up in the morning like she has post nasal drip. She is trying to hack up the phlegm. The vet told me to give her 1-1.5 milliliters at bedtime because even though she is large, she’s still a dog. What a difference, no snoring all night and no hacking this morning. I really think my dog is allergic to dust mites so I’m going to wash her blankets and clean my room better. She said I could give this amount twice a day if needed.

Don’t give too much. Oh, and make sure you get Robitussin DM. The vet said remember it by DM for dog medicine. I got the liquid with a marked syringe. Just put it in the side of their mouth quickly and have a treat waiting, like piece of cheese or something to distract them so they wont spit it out.


Terence March, 2014

Alternatively, you can use natural remedies for Kennel Cough like the following:

1. Nosodes
2. Esberitox
3. Vitamin C and E
4. Oregano oil
5. Raw garlic and olive leaf
6. Raw honey and certain herbs such as licorice root and marshmallow
7. Essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree and chamomile
8. Slippery Elm
9. Astragalus


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