Authored by Douglas Mefford in Dogs
Published on 12-06-2009
There are a number of reasons a dog may develop a cough without it being the disease known as “kennel cough” which is a viral infection. Several viral ailments affect dogs this way. A cough in dogs can also be caused by parasites such as nasal mites. Just like any animal, dogs can have allergies from a variety of sources. Digestive tract disorders and enlargement of the heart or esophagus can also make a dog cough. If your dog does develop a cough it is very important to try and discover the reason and remove it if possible.
There are a number of expectorants and cough suppressants that can be used to treat the cough symptomatically. Realize that these treatments are not “cures” but rather diminish the incidence of coughing so the throat and esophagus can have an easier time of it while healing. One can use some human medications on their dog safely although it is best to check with your veterinarian to make sure you have the correct dosage. Most human cough syrups you can use on your dog will work at one teaspoon per twenty pounds administered every six to twelve hours. Your veterinarian may want you to use only half this dosage.
The safest human drug to use as a cough medicine for your dog is dextromethorphan. This can be found in such over the counter medications as Vicks Formula 44 Soothing Cough Relief, St. Joseph Cough Suppressant for Children, Benylin Expectorant, or Robitussin DM. Dextromethorphan can be found in many over the counter cough medicines in both liquid and tablet form.
You will have to be careful and read all the ingredients in any human medicine you are contemplating using on your dog. While guiafenesin is safe, you must avoid anything that contains acetaminophen. Paracetamol is also dangerous for dogs as well as any medication containing alcohol or caffeine. Do not use any of the human medicines if your dog is pregnant or nursing or if it has heart disease. If you do use human cough medicine for your dog you will have to watch out for the symptoms of overdose. Get your dog to the veterinarian fast if it begins to vomit. Exhibiting hyperactive activity or dizziness or developing breathing difficulties are also signs of overdose.
A quick home preparation of cough medicine for dogs is syrup made from honey or sugar with a bit of peppermint included. These will help ease the cough reflex and allow faster healing of the inflamed throat tissues. Several herbs can be used homeopathically to help aid your dog in reducing cough. Plantago lanceolata, the common English plantain is good for clearing congestion from the throat, nose and chest. While considered a weed in your yard or garden, this herb has been used medicinally for millennia. In very small doses, the root of bryonia dioica, also known as English Mandrake, can help relieve cough. Echinacea purpurea, the Eastern purple coneflower, will help strengthen the immune system of both your dog and yourself.
All incidences of coughing in your dog indicate a serious condition. If in any doubt as to the underlying cause and treatment, take your friend to the veterinarian for a full examination and medical diagnosis.