Everyone has heard of Robitussin. Maybe it saved you a trip to the doctor a few times. People don’t think twice before taking this popular cold medicine. However, if your dog is sick you might have some doubts about giving them Robitussin. You’d be right to be concerned because Robitussin is quite strong, especially for pets, so you must know more about it before you can safely give it to your dog.
Nowadays, Robitussin has over 15 different variations of their product including some specifically formulated for children. Unfortunately, with all those choices there is still nothing geared specifically towards helping dogs. K9s are actually worse off in regards to the Robutussin expansion because often their owners are confused as to which type to provide.
Robitussin is a Schedule V Controlled Substance in the US. This cough syrup is a controlled product for humans. It should be highly controlled for a dog since the medicine not formulated for them. Proper dosage, possible allergic reactions and other factors are based on testing done on people and not dogs. So is Robitussin safe for dogs? Let’s find out as much as possible before you give your dog some.
Can I Give My Dog Robitussin? Answer: Yes but confirm with a vet first
Medicines like Robitussin are becoming the end all solution for many households. It can treat so many of the 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 actually do sometimes prescribe Robitussin to treat these nagging problems found in under-the-weather dogs. They particularly use it to treat dogs for kennel cough.
Basically, Robitussin it is a cough suppressant. It won’t cure your dog’s cold at all. Check the label for something called Dextromethorphan. That’s the active ingredient in Robitussin that will act to suppress the cough reflex signals in your dog’s brain. It sounds crazy but that’s how it works.
This medicine can cause many side effects. Robitussin is actually known to be abused by lots of bored young people. Take it from them, your dog can 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 abuse it because it is a cheap alternative to marijuana which your dog should obviously not experience.
You don’t want your dog suffering from withdrawals and experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above. They can definitely occur if taken for an extended period of time. Remember that Robitussin should be used as only temporary relief for your dog. Be sure to properly monitor them after they consume any type of antitussive such as this.
Robitussin Dosage for Dogs
So how much Robitussin to give a dog is the question lots of K9 owners are asking. First off, you’ll want to 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 which is why a prescription is required in some places.
Second, consider that it comes in both liquid and tablet form. Most people find it is easier to administer in tablet form, mixing it with dog food. Finally, and most importantly, you need to know the key factors by which to arrive at the proper dosage. Ideally, you want to let a veterinarian determine the dose for your dog. Their weight, size, age, breed and known allergies will all play a factor.
For the above reasons, it is difficult to give you on an exact dosage. Every 10 hours or so you can use up to half a milligram per pound (always know your dog’s weight) but don’t exceed this dosage unless the vet specifically advises you to do so. The same formula would apply to the liquid form but you will need to carefully check the label’s concentration to arrive at that proper amount.
Alternatives to Robitussin
Mucinex is similar to Robitussin because they both contain Guaifenesin which is known as an expectorant. If your dog has mucus in their lungs, guaifenesin will help to loosen it which in turn helps to clear it. If you would like to go the natural route, honey is suggested for treating many of the same symptoms your dog may be experiencing. You may also want to try certain types of teas which are well known for treating and relieving flu symptoms and the common cold. This has been a particularly bad winter so a cold can be rough for a dog. Please share some ideas for treating a canine with cold-related symptoms with our community by commenting below.
Final Thoughts on Dogs & Robitussin
Understand that Robitussin is a powerful drug and not intended for dogs. It is one of the cough preparations which can contain an opiate. That is serious business. It is, however, considered acceptable for use according to most vets. I can’t stress enough that if you do use Robitussin for a dog, it should be for a short time. They also need to be closely watched for bad reactions to it. If your K9 isn’t getting better you really need to take them to the vet because they could have a medical condition you aren’t aware of.