Prescription pillsWhat is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is classified as an opioid, a drug with similar properties to morphine. It is used primarily as a cough suppressant (antitussive) in dogs, working on receptors within the brain. Hydrocodone is often paired with another drug, homatropine, mostly for the purpose of preventing abuse.


  • Used primarily in dogs as an antitussive to control cough secondary to:
    • Tracheal collapse, kennel cough, bronchitis, and bronchial compression secondary to heart enlargement
  • It is contraindicated in cases of cough caused by uncontrolled congestive heart failure or pneumonia

Adverse Effects

[please contact CVCA should any of these symptoms be noted]

  • Sedation is the most commonly noted side effect
  • Constipation, decreased appetite or vomiting
  • Can worsen intraocular pressure in cases of untreated glaucoma

Client Information

  • Hydrocodone should not take the place of determining and treating the underlying cause of any cough
  • Hydrocodone is a controlled substance, so the medication should be kept in a safe
  • Can be given with or without
  • Available in pill form or liquid, however it can not be reformulated into a flavor
  • Given up to 4 times a There is still a question in veterinary medicine whether drug dependence is an issue in dogs, however, it is probably wise not to abruptly stop the medication in chronic use patients

Interaction with Other Drugs

  • Increased sedation if used with other opioids (pain medications – tramadol, buprenorphine, butorphanol), tranquilizers (acepromazine, alprazolam) or first generation antihistamines (benadryl, hydroxyzine)
  • Should not be used in patients on Anipryl/L-Deprenyl, a medication used to treat dog senility and some Cushing’s patients
  • Recommended to not use Preventic collars (tick prevention). Other topical flea and tick products are fine
  • The doctors at CVCA have taken this into account, however, please feel free to contact CVCA regarding any concurrent medications your pet may be prescribed

Dosage Forms

Hydrocodone Bitartrate Tablets 5mg

Hydrocodone Bitartrate Syrup 5mg per 5 mL


Hycodan® tablets and syrup, Tussigon®, Hydromet® syrup, Hydromide® syrup, Hydropane® syrup, Hydrocodone

Drug Handouts