Major Uses

Codeine is typically prescribed to treat mild to moderate pain in pets or as a cough suppressant. Due to its constipating effects on the gastrointestinal tract, it can also be prescribed to treat chronic diarrhea. Most commonly, codeine is prescribed to canines and felines, as little research has been conducted regarding large animals and opiates.

Common Precautions

Adverse reactions to codeine are significantly lower in frequency than morphine at antitussive dosages. Codeine should not be used after gastrointestinal tract surgery, as constipation can exacerbate pain caused by the surgery.

Codeine should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. Overdose is commonly exhibited as excitement, muscular spasms, convulsions, respiratory depression, sedation, and constipation. Felines are particularly vulnerable to opiate-induced hyperactivity.


This medication should be stored away from heat and light in a tightly sealed container at room temperature if the container or bottle is unopened. If the container has been opened, it should be stored in a refrigerator. Exposure to heat and moisture will cause Codeine to break down quickly.


Codeine is available in tablet, liquid, and syrup forms. A typical dose range for treating excessive or painful coughing in canines is 1-2mg/kg by mouth twice to four times daily.

If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as it is remembered. If it's remembered within a few hours of the next regularly scheduled dose, the missed dose should be skipped and regular dosing should resume. Doubling up because of missed doses is not recommended.

Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication should be followed closely.

This information is for general reference only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition of your pet. It's intended as a general reference, this information may not include all possible uses, precautions, directions, reactions (including allergic), drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your local veterinarian and have your pet examined for any advice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of your pet, including which products and doses are most appropriate. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. VetDepot is not a pharmacy. All prescription products are dispensed by our Pharmacy Partner. Article last updated 2/2014.