Major Uses

Hydrocodone is an opiate agonist that is often used as an antitussive in dogs. It may also be useful as an oral analgesic. It is primarily used in dogs to help with coughing associated with secondary conditions like collapsing trachea, bronchitis, or canine upper respiratory infection complex. It can also be used to treat any cough described as harsh, dry, or non-productive. Hydrocodone is sometimes useful in treating opioid-related behavior problems in dogs and cats.

Common Precautions

Hydrocodone should not be used in animals that are hypersensitive to narcotic analgesics, or those with diarrhea caused by a toxic ingestion. Opiates in general should be used cautiously in geriatric or severely debilitated animals, as well as those with hypothyroidism, severe renal insufficiency, or adrenocortical insufficiency. Hydrocodone should also be used cautiously in animals suffering from head injuries or increased intracranial pressure and acute abdominal conditions.

Some possible side effects of hydrocodone in dogs are sedation, constipation, vomiting, and other GI disturbances. It can also hide the signs of respiratory disease and should not be in combination with a drug that treats the underlying cause of the secondary cough.

Hydrocodone should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. A veterinarian should be contacted immediately if an overdose is suspected, the symptoms of which may include CNS, cardiovascular and respiratory depression.


Hydrocodone should be kept at room temperature in a tight, light resistant, childproof container. It should be stored away from light.


The standard dose of hydrocodone used to suppress coughing in dogs is .22 mg/kg every 6-12 hours. For use as an analgesic, the standard dose in dogs is .22-.5 mg/kg every 8-12 hours. When being used in tablet form, a normal dose for treating coughs is 1/4-1 tablet once to four times daily. For treating opioid related issues in cats, 1.25-5 mg per cat every 12 hours is the standard dose. At no point should two doses be given at the same time. In the case of a dose being forgotten, it should be administered as soon as possible unless it conflicts with the next scheduled dose, in which case the scheduled dose should be administered instead.

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 label 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.