What You Must Know Before Giving Your Dog Robitussin!

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Are you wondering if Robitussin can be given to your dog for a cough, mucus, sinus problems or other flu-like symptoms?

You aren’t alone!

Guaifenesin is a super popular medicine. Robitussin in particular has at least 15 different variations including some formulated for children.

It can be very confusing and even more so when it comes to your precious pet dog.

Can I Give My Dog Robitussin?Here is what’s certain:

Robitussin AC contains codeine which makes it off limits.

Keep reading to learn which versions are safest. We’ll also talk about dosing.

With Vet Approval, Your Dog Can Take Robitussin

This cough and congestion combo drug works for canines too. In fact, veterinarians sometimes prescribe it.

We asked Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa of Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital for her view. Here is what she said…

Robitussin is useful for a mild cough. Often times it will help a dog to stop coughing and also sleep better at night. I occasionally prescribe it for those intended purposes.

Dogs And Dextromethorphan

Remember that Robitussin is a cough suppressant.

While it won’t cure a cold, Dextromethorphan does suppress cough reflex signals.

Speaking of Dextromethorphan, it is the active ingredient in Robitussin that’s safest for dogs.

But even then, Robitussin is for short-term use only. Any dog with lingering symptoms should be properly checked out.

Robitussin Can Have Side Effects

Robitussin, like all drugs, has potential to cause complications.

Your dog may experience hallucinogenic effects from too high a dose.

Other signs include:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion

Some dogs suffer withdrawals or other nasty symptoms due to Robitussin, especially when taken for an extended period.

Careful of Codeine For Canines

It cannot be stressed enough:

For your dog’s sake, be sure to stick with a version that contains Dextromethorphan — look for DM on the label.

Robitussin AC contains a narcotic opiate called codeine, a naturally occurring morphine and a Schedule V Controlled Substance.

Warning: Despite being an ingredient in certain OTC drugs, codeine can absolutely cause a tragic situation.

Dosing Information For Dogs

Robitussin comes in liquid and tablet form.

It is easy to administer tablets by simply crushing and concealing the contents in with dog food.

As with all antitussives, have your veterinarian determine a proper dose. They’ll take into account several factors including weight, size, age, breed as well as any known allergies.

Every case is different, but generally every 10 hours up to half a milligram (0.5mg) per pound is OK for adult dogs. Never exceed this amount!

The same formula applies to liquid Robitussin. Check the label’s concentration.

Two Robitussin Alternatives

Mucinex is a very similar pharmaceutical. They both contain an expectorant called Guaifenesin that will help to clear mucus in the lungs.

But if you’re looking for something natural we recommend honey. It is a great remedy although not for puppies.

The Bottom Line

Robitussin AC is far too dangerous for a pet.

In general, only the DM version is acceptable for dog use.

As for Robitussin dosing, a professional really should determine the amount.

Be sure to watch for bad reactions. And, if your dog is not improving, head to your vet as soon as possible.

What Do You Think? Have Your Say Below…

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24 thoughts on “What You Must Know Before Giving Your Dog Robitussin!”

  1. My 12 year old Chihuahua has had a cough for 3 years. We went to the vet, but nothing he gave her worked. Can I give her a little Robitussin DM? After reading, I’m sort of scared.

  2. My 15 year old Terrier cross has an enlarged heart. Will Robitussin help?

  3. My dog died after giving him Robitussin DM (for children). As soon as I gave it he hid under the sofa and came out an hour later trying to breath. I was in shock. I couldn’t do anything because he was in distress. What when wrong?

    1. Eddie: Sorry for your loss. We have been there several times over the years and it is never easy. Just remember the joy that you brought to each other’s lives.

      Your question is a good one. And it involves several factors:

      1: Was the dose appropriate for the weight of the dog (should never exceed 0.5 mgm/lb of body weight every 10 hours.

      2: The only ingredients should be guiafenesin and dextromethorphan. Many of the guiafenesin products have antihistamines and decongestants included.

      3. Do you know the origin of the cough? As you probably know, cough is only a symptom of some other underlying problem e.g. kennel cough, cancer, tracheal narrowing or collapse, pneumonia etc.

      4. The general status and age of your friend other than the cough. Regardless of the circumstances it is always heart breaking when we loose a friend. But, when you are ready, another furry friend will help heal the hole in your heart.

  4. My Chihuahua has been coughing for the past few days now, not as much as the first day. I just picked up the Robitussin DM. How much do I give her? She weighs about 12 pounds.

    I also picked up Benadryl. Can I give her that as well? I just want her to feel better. I’m not working, so I can’t afford to take her to a vet.

    1. You need to know what is causing the cough. I also have a Chihuahua that started coughing and it ended up being due to 2 serious issues: 1) congestive heart failure and 2) collapsing trachea. Robitussin is not to be given to a dog with heart issues. See a vet before you dose your dog with Robitussin.

  5. My 9 month old Pekingese – Pomeranian mix has this sneezing and cough. It sounds like he has something stuck in his throat.

    He has never experienced cold weather. I thought maybe he wasn’t used to a runny nose, but he does it in the house too. We can’t afford to take him to a vet. I don’t know what to do.

    1. Sounds like it maybe kennel cough. Manipulate the throat to lung connection gently and see if that triggers the cough/sneeze/runny nose. If it does check with a veterinarian for treatment. Penicillin G and cough suppressant will help.

  6. My 12 year old Australian Terrier has a choking cough and I have no money to take him to vet. What can I give him?

  7. I have the children’s version. Can I give this to a 70 pound Boxer?

  8. 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 but was told it should be okay.

    I also have mixed honey and lemon and wonder if that would help once the Robitussin has all gone.

    1. 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.

  9. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

        1. 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.

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

          1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

    2. I just had my 37 pound, 8-1/2 year old Puggle at the vet last night. The dog is way overweight and has been having the sniffles, runny nose and has also 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.

      Do not give too much 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 won’t spit it out.

  11. You can use natural remedies for Kennel Cough including the following:

    1. Nosodes
    2. Esberitox
    3. Vitamin C and E
    4. Oregano oil
    5. 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

    1. I would not be recommending tea tree oil. It’s toxic for dogs!

    2. No Eucalyptus oil as it’s toxic. Tea Tree is toxic. You can use Lavender and Chamomile, but no citrus. Here’s a list, but remember their noses are very sensitive so dilute it:

      Frankincense
      Chamomile
      Lavender oil
      Ginger
      Rosemary
      Bergamot

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