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Can You Give A Dog Robitussin?

Robitussin is commonly used as a cough suppressant for humans.

However, it can also be used for dogs struggling with a cough.

Although it is prescribed by vets and safe for dogs, there are a couple of very important things to know before giving any to your dog.

Robitussin for Dogs

Yes, Robitussin can be used for a non-productive cough in a dog, but only if your vet approves first. 

Robitussin is a cough suppressant only, and you should carefully check the label to ensure that only dextromethorphan is listed and no other ingredients such as acetaminophen, which should never be given to dogs.

For this reason, you should only give your dog Robitussin DM, and no other variety.

Robitussin AC, for instance, contains codeine, a narcotic opiate, that can cause tragic results if given to your dog.

Additionally, Robitussin should only be used for a short period of time, and it is not safe for long-term use.

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In some instances, dogs can end up with withdrawal symptoms if this medication is given for too long.

A good rule of thumb is that if your dog’s cough hasn’t improved within 24 hours, contact your veterinarian for an exam.

Side Effects and Overdose

As with any other medication, Robitussin can have side effects that you should be aware of.

The main side effects can include:

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

With high doses, dogs can also experience hallucinogenic effects.

If your dog has been given too much Robitussin, it may experience labored breathing, overexcitement, confusion, nausea, and vomiting.

If any of these symptoms are present, you should contact your vet immediately.

When You Should Avoid Robitussin

Vets recommend against using Robitussin if your dog is struggling with pneumonia, or if the cough is wet and producing phlegm.

It is also not usually prescribed alongside other medications such as sedatives, narcotics, CNS depressants, or antihistamines.

If your dog has any of these conditions or is taking any of these medications, never give them Robitussin — or any other medication — without first consulting your vet.

Dosage

Once your vet approves giving your dog Robitussin, doses can usually be repeated every 8 to 12 hours.

These are the most common dosage guidelines.

5lb 1/4 tsp
10lb 1/2 tsp
20lb 1 tsp
30lb 1 1/2 tsp
40-50lb 2 tsp
60-90lb 1 tbsp
100lb 1 1/2 tbsp
125 2 tbsp

Dogs that are under 5lb should not be given Robitussin.

It should also be noted that while these dosage guidelines are typical, they should not override the advice of your veterinarian.

This is especially true since children’s Robitussin, adult tablets, and liquid varieties will all have different concentrations.

Alternatives

If you can’t reach your vet or you want to try a medication-free home remedy first, there are a few options you can try that are easy and safe.

Honey and Warm Water

Honey is a great cough remedy for both humans and dogs. It can help soothe the throat and minimize the urge to cough.

To administer, add 1/2 tbsp to 1tbsp of honey into a small amount of warm (not hot) water.

This can be given to your dog up to three times a day.

However, this should only be offered to adult dogs and not puppies.

Add a Humidifier

Another remedy that works for both humans and dogs is adding a humidifier to the area where your dog is resting.

This can help add moisture to the air, which can help with dry coughs.

Steam Therapy

If you don’t have a humidifier handy, you can turn your shower on and let it steam up your bathroom.

Place your dog inside for a couple of minutes to help the steam mitigate the cough and soothe the respiratory tract.

Just make sure that while your dog is inside that they can’t access the hot water in the shower and get burned.

Chicken Broth

Low-sodium warm chicken broth can also be a good at-home remedy for a dry cough.

While you should never give a dog soup that is made for humans, low-sodium chicken bone broth can be given in small amounts.

Some pet stores also sell broths specially made for dogs and these can be some of the best to buy if you want to give your dog something soothing to sip on.

This broth can also be added to their usual food to help make it more hydrating.

Hydration is one of the most important things when it comes to treating a dry cough.

A Two-Prong Approach

While Robitussin can be given to dogs, you should never administer it without the okay from your veterinarian.

Additionally, it should only be used for short periods and never as a long-term solution.

To help make Robitussin more effective, you can consider using it in conjunction with one of the above-mentioned alternatives to help speed up healing and reduce the amount of time that your dog will need a medicated cough suppressant.

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