Why you should stop using cough syrup

December 21st, 2022 at 10:47 am EDT

Today's newsletter highlights why you should question the 'conventional' treatments....what you may think is safe for your pets may be not...

Not only that, many professionals get lulled into the same belief ..it's been around forever...so although it may not help, at least it won't harm..

Yikes...also not always true..

Meaning it really is important that whatever you give your dogs/cats is really beneficial, and without side effects..

Here is one I take every day, and I happily give to my dog and cat :-)

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are considered one of the MOST important supplements in veterinary medicine helping with: allergies, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, cognitive dysfunction

I have many pet parents reporting this is helping their aging pet, and on a personal side I am finding it to help my 'aging' brain. If you have yet to try them, they are definitely worth a try...

Dr Jones' ULTIMATE Omega 3 Supplement for Dogs and Cats


What to GIVE to STOP your coughing Dog or Cat?

Well for years in veterinary practice I suggested the OTC cough syrup containing the active ingredient Dextromethorphan

I took it, readily gave it to my kids, dog and even coughing cat

It has been take by HUNDREDS of millions of people.. You would think it is SAFE right?

So if it didn't help, it would at least do NO HARM ( at least that is what I thought)

Turns out that is not the case..

Consider this

Source: vcacanada.com

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

Are there any potential side effects?

Side effects are uncommon, but may include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, sleepiness, drooling, or anxiousness. More serious side effects include rapid heartbeat, collapse, muscle tension, incoordination, muscle twitches, seizures, and abnormal eye movements.

This short-acting medication should stop working within 24 hours, although effects can be longer in pets with liver or kidney disease.

How about Side Effects with People?

Blurred vision


difficulty in urination

drowsiness or dizziness

nausea or vomiting (severe)

shakiness and unsteady walk

slowed breathing

unusual excitement, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability (severe)

But does it work?

Consider this study (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/571638)

December 2007

Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and Their Parents


To compare the effects of a single nocturnal dose of buckwheat honey or honey-flavored dextromethorphan (DM) with no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infections.


Significant differences in symptom improvement were detected between treatment groups, with honey consistently scoring the best and no treatment scoring the worst. In paired comparisons, honey was significantly superior to no treatment for cough frequency and the combined score, but DM was not better than no treatment for any outcome. Comparison of honey with DM revealed no significant differences.

So what does this mean for your dogs and cats?

DO NOT give dextromethorphan to your dog or cats

It is NOT very effective, and can be VERY harmful

Here are some much more helpful options.. starting with the honey used in the study :-)

Natural Cough Syrup

Natural Cough Syrup. Lemon and honey can soothe any sore throat. Mix 2 tbsp of honey, 1 tsp of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water. Give it to your dog twice daily, 1 tbsp for an average sized (50 lb) dog, 1 tsp for a cat .

Herbal Help

Licorice Root is an effective cough suppressant and works well in conjunction with the honey, it is antiviral along with having anti-inflammatory properties to soothe an inflamed throat.

I have used 1/2ml of Licorice Root tincture/20lbs of body weight combined with 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of warm water.

Slippery Elm. 

This is another herb used by many holistic practitioners for coughing in dogs and cats. It has a wide safety margin, and is also especially helpful for intestinal disorders. When the ground root is combined with water it makes a very thick/gelatinous like fluid that helps coat the throat and relieve the cough. You can break open one 400mg capsule, then combine it with the honey and water. Some people find it to be more effective than the licorice root.

Heal Your Pet At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew

P.S. Sometimes the best advice is to NOT take the syrup/pill/injection, and consider some old fashioned home remedy....without the side effects..

P.P.S. About those winter blues..

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are considered to be one of the most important supplements in Veterinary Medicine (Clinician's Brief). Dr Jones' Natural Krill Oil provides high levels of the important Fatty Acids, EPA and DHA, better absorption/bioavailability, WITHOUT the toxins now found in many Fish Oil supplements.

Get your bottle here:

Dr Jones' New KRILL Oil Supplement

DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. Dr Andrew Jones resigned from the College of Veterinarians of B.C. effective December 1 2010, meaning he cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make specific medical recommendations for your pet.

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