If your dog ate cough drops, you may be wondering if you should be worried. Cough drops contain various ingredients that can be harmful to dogs, such as menthol, eucalyptus oil, and xylitol. While some cough drops may not cause any issues, others can lead to serious complications.
Understanding the potential risks associated with cough drops is crucial for pet owners. Even small amounts of certain ingredients can cause toxicity in dogs, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and even seizures. If you suspect that your dog has ingested cough drops, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.
Table of Contents
- Cough drops can be harmful to dogs due to the ingredients they contain.
- Symptoms of cough drop ingestion in dogs can range from mild to severe.
- If your dog eats cough drops, seek veterinary care right away to prevent complications.
Understanding Cough Drops
Cough drops are a common over-the-counter medication used to soothe sore throats and reduce coughing. They typically contain ingredients such as menthol, benzocaine, eucalyptus oil, and cough suppressants.
Menthol is a natural compound found in peppermint oil that can help alleviate coughing and congestion. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that can numb the throat and reduce pain. Eucalyptus oil is a natural decongestant that can help clear the sinuses.
Cough drops can also contain sugar, corn syrup, and flavors to make them more palatable. However, it’s important to note that excessive sugar intake can be harmful to your health.
When it comes to choosing a cough drop, it’s important to read the label and choose one that contains the ingredients that will be most effective for your symptoms. Halls cough drops, for example, contain menthol and are designed to soothe sore throats and reduce coughing.
Always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication, including cough drops.
Why Cough Drops Can Be Harmful to Dogs
Cough drops may seem harmless, but they can be toxic to dogs. This is because many cough drops contain xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs.
Xylitol can cause a rapid insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, and even death. The amount of xylitol needed to cause toxicity in dogs is much less than in humans.
Additionally, some cough drops contain other ingredients that can be harmful to dogs, such as menthol, eucalyptus oil, and camphor. These ingredients can cause gastrointestinal upset, breathing difficulties, and other symptoms of poisoning.
If you suspect that your dog has ingested cough drops, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. The earlier the treatment, the better the chances of a full recovery.
- ASPCA: Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs
- Pet Poison Helpline: Cough Drop Toxicity in Dogs
Symptoms of Cough Drop Ingestion in Dogs
If your dog has ingested cough drops, you may notice some symptoms. Here are some common signs to look out for:
- Vomiting: Your dog may vomit after ingesting cough drops.
- Numbness: Cough drops contain menthol, which can cause numbness if ingested in large amounts.
- Choking: Cough drops can be a choking hazard for dogs, especially if they are small or have trouble swallowing.
- Swelling: Ingesting cough drops can cause swelling in the mouth, throat, or stomach.
- Behavioral Changes: Your dog may exhibit behavioral changes such as lethargy, depression, or weakness.
- Upset Stomach: Your dog may experience an upset stomach after ingesting cough drops.
- Seizures: In rare cases, cough drop ingestion can lead to seizures.
- Hypothermia: Ingesting cough drops can cause a decrease in body temperature, leading to hypothermia.
- Jaundice: Cough drop ingestion can cause jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes.
- Fast Breathing: Your dog may breathe faster than usual after ingesting cough drops.
- Blood Sugar Decrease: Cough drops can cause a decrease in blood sugar levels, leading to weakness and lethargy.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately. Sources: ASPCA, PetMD
Specific Risks Associated with Cough Drop Ingredients
Cough drops can contain several ingredients that can be harmful to your dog. Here are some of the specific risks associated with cough drop ingredients:
- Xylitol: A sweetener that can cause hypoglycemia and liver failure in dogs.
- Menthol: Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and liver injury.
- Benzocaine: A numbing agent that can cause methemoglobinemia, a condition that reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood.
- Eucalyptus oil: Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and low blood sugar.
- Sugar: Can cause an upset stomach and tooth decay.
It’s important to note that the severity of these risks depends on the amount of cough drops your dog has ingested and their size. If you suspect your dog has eaten cough drops, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Cough Drops
If you suspect that your dog has eaten cough drops, take action immediately. Here are some steps you can take:
- Contact your veterinarian or a pet poison helpline such as the Animal Poison Control Center for advice.
- Check the label of the cough drops to see if they contain any active ingredients that are toxic to dogs.
- Do not give your dog any medication without consulting a veterinarian.
- If advised by a veterinarian, you may need to induce vomiting to remove any remaining cough drops from your dog’s system.
- Seek medical attention immediately if your dog shows signs of distress, such as difficulty breathing or seizures.
Remember, prompt action is crucial in case of a medical emergency. Stay calm and follow the advice of a veterinarian or pet poison helpline.
Potential Complications from Ingesting Cough Drops
Cough drops can be dangerous for dogs. Here are some potential complications:
- Obstruction: The wrapper of the cough drop can cause an obstruction in the dog’s intestines.
- Liver: Cough drops contain xylitol, which can cause liver damage.
- Anesthetic: Cough drops can cause a local anesthetic effect, leading to difficulty swallowing or breathing.
- Seizures: Ingesting cough drops can cause seizures in dogs.
- Life-threatening: Ingesting cough drops can be life-threatening for dogs, especially puppies.
- Choking hazard: Cough drops can be a choking hazard for dogs.
- Intestinal blockage: Ingesting cough drops can cause an intestinal blockage, which may require surgery.
- Blood oxygen levels: Cough drops can cause a decrease in blood oxygen levels, leading to difficulty breathing.
- Stool: Ingesting cough drops can cause diarrhea or changes in stool.
If your dog has ingested cough drops, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately.
Preventing Future Incidents
To prevent future incidents, make sure you keep all medications and supplements out of your pet’s reach. Store them in a secure location that your pet can’t access.
If you have multiple pets, make sure they each have their own designated feeding area to avoid any competition for food or treats.
If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior, seek veterinary care immediately.
Be aware of the time it takes for medication to take effect and how long it lasts.
Check the packaging of any medications or supplements to ensure they are safe for pets.
If your pet has swallowed or chewed on any medication or supplement, contact your veterinarian right away.
Avoid using scented products around your pet, as some scents can be harmful to them.
Keep your pet cool and hydrated, especially during hot weather.
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Pet Poison Helpline
My name is Danny Jackson and I’m the CEO and Chief Editor behind Petloverguy.com. After spending a decade working with vets and private clients as an animal behavioral and nutritional specialist I co-founded Pet Lover Guy to help other pet parents learn how to interact with, and make the most of the time that they spend with their adopted and rescued best pet friends.
Working with Ella, our chihuahua rescue, we seek to help all dog and cat lovers have the happiest life possible.