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My 13 year old black lab has always in her latter years had a cough. my vet is aware of this. However, last night her cough sounded somewhat different. is sounds like her cough is dry. Am I able to give her any over the counter cough medicine that might help her before I take to the vet again? I was thinking maybe childrens cough syrup of some kind.
Thank you so much for any help you can give me. Her name is Christmas and she thanks you too!

Hi Pam,

First, if you feel there has been a change in your dog's cough, you should tell your vet about it. I have no idea what it might mean, but to your vet the change could mean something important.

In answer to your question, you can give your dog a cough suppressant that contains Dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in the brands: Benylin, Robitussin, St. Joseph Cough Suppressant for Children, Vicks Formula 44 Soothing Cough Relief. Be sure to read the ingredients listed on the package, as some formulations may not contain Dextromethorphan, and some forms may contain other ingredients, such as acetaminophen, caffeine, or alcohol that are dangerous to your dog. If you use a cough suppressant it shouldn't be used for more than a week or so, without your vet's say so.

The usual dose for Dextromethorphan is one teaspoon for every 20 lbs., every 8 to 12 hours. You should probably run this dose past your vet for conformation.

You can also give your dog raw honey, or Manuka honey to help her cough. Studies, such as one conducted at Penn State College of Medicine, have found that honey can work more efficiently to calm a cough than over-the-counter medications! Give your dog 2 teaspoons of honey 1-3 times daily as needed to control coughing. If she refuses to lick it, thin the honey with a tablespoon or two of warm water and use a medicine dropper to give the solution directly into her mouth. Honey can soothe the throat and is antibacterial as well.

If you happen to have one, put a humidifier or a cool mist vaporizer near your dog's bed, or wherever she spends a lot of time. This will help fill her airways with soothing moisture. Set the vaporizer several feet away from your dog but not blowing directly onto her face. Running the humidifier when your dog is not in the room is unnecessary. Be sure to clean the humidifier/ vaporizer as often as the instructions say. Mold can grow in the unit and throw off spores, and neither you or your dog needs to be breathing that in!

I hope I've been a help!
Best of luck,



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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