Dextromethorphan (brand names: Delsym®, Robitussin®, Balminil®, Benylin ® and many others) is a medication used to treat compulsive behavior. It can also be used as a cough suppressant, although other cough suppressants are typically more effective in cats and dogs.

Its use in cats, dogs, and horses to treat compulsive behavior or cough is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.


Coughing in dogs is usually treatable. Before your veterinarian can treat your dog’s cough, however, he or she has to diagnose the underlying cause of the cough. Veterinarians diagnose based on a combination of tests and clinical signs. Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam, listening to your dog’s heart and lungs, taking your dog’s temperature, and performing diagnostic tests, as necessary, to determine what is bothering your dog.

Once he finds the underlying cause, your vet will discuss a treatment plan catered to your dog’s unique needs that treats both your dog’s coughing and the underlying cause or disease.

Features of Cough Medicine For Dogs

Dextromethorphan is given by mouth in the form of a tablet, gelcap, or liquid. It is also available in other forms, but these are more difficult to administer to pets. It may be given with or without food; however, if your pet vomits when given this medication on an empty stomach, give future doses with food or a treat. Measure liquid forms of this medication carefully. This medication will take effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, and improvement in clinical signs should follow. If you miss a dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Uses/benefit of Cough Medicine For Dogs

Dogs can suffer from an array of respiratory conditions, from tracheobronchitis, or kennel cough, to chronic bronchitis, and in these cases (or in the case of a collapsed windpipe or bronchial compression), coughing can add to the pain and discomfort the dog already may be experiencing. If the coughing is left untreated in a pet, it can make a bad problem worse.

Dextromethorphan temporarily suppresses coughing in dogs that are suffering from mild irritation of the airway, thereby reducing the risk of the condition worsening through the strenuous act of coughing. When combined with Guaifenesin, Dextromethorphan not only helps reduce the cough, but also loosens and dislodges mucous.

Dosage and Administration of Dextromethorphan

The commercially available dosage-form available for Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan is an oral suspension. Wedgewood Pharmacy’s oral suspensions and solutions are familiar and convenient dosage forms. Oral suspensions and solutions can be administered directly into the mouth using a dosing syringe or mixed with a small amount of food. They offer a wide range of flavoring options, and flexible dosing adjustments.

One strength combination of compounded Guaifenesin/Dextromethorphan oral suspension is available.

  • Dextromethorphan HBr 5 mg/ml
  • Guaifenesin 50 mg/ml

Potential Side-Effects of Dextromethorphan

Dextromethorphan can cause some animals to experience certain side-effects, the most common one being mild sedation, although it can be accompanied by general nausea and some dizziness.

Prices of Cough Medicine For Dogs

$24.59 – $35.85 

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