Porky and Buddy Pet Health – The Hazards of Cough Drops

Porky and Buddy

Dear Porky and Buddy,
Just when I thought I had more than enough to worry about someone just told me that some cough drops are dangerous for pets. Ahem. Cough drops? I had just put one in my mouth and it tasted horrible so I was outside and just spat it out on the ground, which resulted in a lecture from my “friend.” So I did pick it up just to get her to leave me alone. But is that really true?

Dear John,
We are willing to assume that you would not have spat it on the floor if you were inside because that would have necessitated still another lecture from us. So let’s leave good manners, whether indoors or outdoors, aside, and concentrate on pet safety.

The thing about cough drops is that they look like hard candy, they are somewhat sweet, and they have other flavorings, such as honey or lemon that dogs in particular might find tasty.

But they really are medicines. So start by looking at the label of the brand you use.

We consulted with our friends at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center and they said to watch out for these two ingredients:

First there is xylitol, a common sweetener in all kinds of consumer products that can cause hypoglycemia and possible liver injury. It depends on the amount in the drops and how many your dog has scarfed up but you don’t want to take that risk

Second there is Benzocaine, that stuff that makes your throat go pleasantly numb. It usually only causes an upset stomach. It can be metabolized, however, into compounds which can cause a form of anemia with symptoms such as depression, weakness, rapid breathing, jaundice, vomiting, or swelling of the face or jaw. Plus, because it numbs the mouth and throat it can pose a risk for aspiration (being sucked into the lungs). You don’t want to take that risk.

Plus, they are an obvious choking hazard.

So even if what you use does not contain either xylitol or Benzocaine, be careful where you store them, i.e. not in an open bag on the floor by your bed, as just one example.

If you believe that your pet has ingested cough drops, especially if you are not certain about what they contain, contact your veterinarian or the APCC immediately for advice. You don’t want to take that risk.

One “risk” you might want to take is adopting a new pet. You can see our pets for adoption at www.oswegohumane.org/adopt.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Located at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other