There are many possible causes of coughing in dogs, some of which are serious. If your dog has developed a cough that does not seem to go away, be sure to take him to the vet for a check-up.
This page looks at some cough medicine for dogs that can be used to help treat minor coughs of brief duration.
OTC Cough Medicine for Dogs
Some OTC cough medicine for children can be used to help treat minor coughing in dogs. For example:
Expectorants do not suppress the cough reflex, but they help to liquefy mucus secretions so that they can be coughed up more easily.
Cough medicine that contains an expectorant called guaifenesin is available over the counter (e.g. Children’s Robitussin). It is safe for use on dogs for all coughs.
Recommended dosage is one teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight every 4 hours.
Suppressants actually suppress the cough reflex. Cough medicines that contain the cough suppressant dextromethorphan such as Robitussin-DM and Benylin Expectorant are available over the counter.
Recommended dosage is one teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight every 6 hours. Note that cough suppressants should be used selectively and only for short periods.
As mentioned in our page on Canine Coughing, coughing in dogs is a symptom of some underlying cause, so over-using suppressants to decrease the frequency and severity of the cough will delay diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause.
Also, cough suppressants should be avoided if your dog is suspected to have a bacterial infection. In this case, productive cough (coughing up phlegm) is helpful to bring up and clear out unwanted material from the airway. Instead of suppressants, you may want to use an expectorant.
A Natural Product of Cough Medicine for Dogs
If you prefer to go the natural way (which is advisable especially if you have a small puppy or older dog with a weak immune system), here is an effective natural product for canine cough:
This cough medicine contains all natural herbal ingredients effective for soothing cough and respiratory irritations.
Cough Medicine for Dogs – Home Remedies
Here are some home remedies that you may want to try to help relieve your dog’s coughing:
Hydrogen Peroxide and Honey
There are quite a few anecdotal reports that claim that hydrogen peroxide and honey can help ease the dry, hacking coughing caused by kennel cough.
Add 3 drops of hydrogen peroxide (food grade) to a teaspoon of honey mixed into a large glass of water. Let your dog drink up the water as soon as possible.
Hydrogen peroxide loses its potency after a few hours in water, so you need to give your dog a fresh new bowl of honey water with hydrogen peroxide every few hours.
If you have raw honey or Manuka honey, try adding one teaspoon or so to a warm cup of water and give it to your dog.
Honey can soothe the throat and is antibacterial as well. If your dog refuses to drink it, use a medicine dropper and administer a few drops of the solution directly into his mouth every hour or so.
Vitamin C / Echinacea
Vitamin C boosts your dog’s immune system so he can recover faster from diseases. Try giving your dog a daily dose of vitamin C.
Dosage is 500 mg for bigger dogs and 250 mg for smaller dogs. An herbal tincture of echinacea can also be used to boost immunity.
If your dog has a dry cough, put a humidifier or vaporizer near his bed. This will help fill his airways with soothing moisture. If you have essential oils, adding a few drops to the vaporizer can help ease the cough as well. Some essential oils that are antibacterial and antiviral are particularly good for dog coughs caused by bacterial or viral infections (e.g. lavender, eucalyptus, and niaouli essential oils).