Robitussin is a cough medicine currently produced by Pfizer that temporarily reduces coughs that are caused by minor throat and bronchial irritation. Available in different formulations, its main task is to either make coughing more productive by loosening the phlegm and thin bronchial secretions, or reduce the regularity of coughing by clearing out chest congestion. Although the FDA recognizes it as a safe expectorant for patients experiencing dry cough, is Robitussin also safe enough to give to cats as a cough remedy?
Cats develop cough for a number of reasons. An irritation in the throat or airways can be caused by inhaled irritants such as dust, smoke, food particles, and chemicals. Allergic reactions, swallowed hairballs, or even asthma can also trigger cough. Whatever the cause may be, coughing in cats deserves immediate treatment and attention. Observe your cat’s cough — is it accompanied by sneezing with watery eyes? Is it giving your cat difficulty in breathing? Does it sound dry or moist? The type of cough your cat is showing will most likely determine what kind of treatment you need to give them.
If your cat is experiencing a dry and unproductive cough, giving them a mild cough suppressant with the ingredient dextromethorphan can be helpful. This has been proven to be the only cough suppressant safe for cats. There are a number of over-the-counter cough suppressants used for children that can be used for your cat’s mild cough. Robitussin is the best example of a safe and effective medicine for cats that contains dextromethorphan, which helps suppress the cough. Although this home remedy has been approved by animal experts, it is still a must to use it under the supervision of your cat’s veterinarian.
Can I Give My Cat Robitussin? Answer: Only in Specific Cases
Robitussin contains an active ingredient called dextromethorphan, the only cough suppressant safe for cats. This means that yes, it is safe to give your cat Robitussin. This does not mean, though, that this is automatically the best medication every time your cat experiences cough. It is still best to consult with your cat’s veterinarian because they know exactly what your pet is going through and what treatment must be given.
In minor cases such as a dry cough, Robitussin will most likely be the veterinarian’s prescription for your cat because it has been formulated for this purpose. In cases where your cat is having a moist and productive cough, a cough suppressant such as Robitussin won’t help at all.
Robitussin Is FDA Approved For Humans, But Not For Animals
According to Pfizer, “Guaifenesin (Robitussin) is the only compound recognized by the US FDA as safe and effective expectorant for use among patients with dry, unproductive cough.” This is the reason why Robitussin is widely used in different countries as a cough reliever for children and adults. However, it is not the same for animals and pets such as cats. Robitussin has not been approved for use in animals, but the use of dextromethorphan, which is found in Robitussin, is an accepted practice. This is why it is always still best to consult with the veterinarian before treating your cat with specific medications.
Be Careful What You Give to Your Cat
Although some mild cough suppressants for children can be given to your cat, take note of some ingredients that can threaten your pet’s life. Products containing acetaminophen, codeine, caffeine, alcohol, or other narcotics are toxic to pets and must never be used because they may be deadly. Contact your veterinarian first before giving anything to your cat to ensure that you have the right formulation.
When Your Cat’s Cough Gets Serious
Just like taking in any medication, effects must be monitored within 24 hours. If no improvement is seen within the day and the cough gets even more serious, immediately contact your veterinarian. Your cat will then be fully examined using different diagnostic tools. An x-ray of your cat’s lungs will be done as well, to check if there is anything major that is blocking your pet’s breathing passages. To ensure your cat’s safety, your veterinarian’s instructions must be strictly followed.
Antibiotics or steroids might be prescribed by your vet, too. Be careful in giving the correct dosage at the right time to your cat, as they might have an overdose if too much medicine is given.