My Dog Ate a Halls Cough Drop! What to do?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

It’s the time of the year again when cough drops are the only thing that soothes your sore throat. You’re probably dizzy with all the medicines that are needed to treat your cold. But amid this, your dog steals one of your cough drops and eats it!

Oh no! What should you do now? Start by making sure the dog doesn’t choke on the cough drops. Next, look at the ingredients. If you see a toxic ingredient, immediately head out to an emergency pet hospital.

Things can get rather serious if the dog swallows a Halls cough drop. Read this post to find out more about this issue.

What You Should Do

So, the current situation is that your dog ate a Halls cough drop. Right off the bat, here’s what you should you:

Induce Vomiting in Your Dog (Video)

Look Through the Ingredients

Take a look at the ingredients. Yes, it may sound unnecessary. I mean, your dog just ate something potentially harmful. Shouldn’t you be running around to fix the issue instead of reading through some ingredient list?

Well, here’s the thing:

All cough drops are different. Even if it was particularly a Halls cough drop, you need to first make sure what could be causing the problem in order to treat it effectively. Maybe you’ll find out that the cough drop your dog ate, was free of toxic ingredients. Although there is a very brisk chance of this. We’ll talk about the problematic ingredients along with their expected side effects later on.

How Many Did the Dog Eat?

Other than checking the ingredients, you also need to look around and find out a few things. You could say you have to get into detective mode to find these answers. First of all, look around for the source of the cough drops. Did you accidentally drop one that the dog ate, or did the dog get access to the cabinet where there are tens of cough drops? Basically, how many cough drops could the dog have eaten?

Wrapped or Unwrapped?

Other than the amount of ingested cough drops, you should also see if the wrappers were swallowed too. The cough drops themselves are hard to digest. If they were ingested with the wrapper on, the situation is more serious. Wrappers can choke the dog. If that doesn’t happen, they can cause a blockage. Since wrappers are impossible to digest, the process of removing it from your dog’s system can be as serious as surgery. Sometimes, it is impossible to get rid of the wrappers, and the life of the dog is on the line.

Professional Help

As serious as the problem is, you should steer clear of home remedies in this case. Do not try to pull out the wrapper, do not make the dog vomit voluntarily, and do not try any quick fixes that you read online. Since this is a matter of grave seriousness, let a professional handle it. Your job is to find the answers to the aforementioned questions. This information will help the vet do the job more effectively and will also save you some time.

Most dog parents have one true, tried and trusted vet that they always go to. This is the clinic where the dog feels comfortable. The sense of familiarity gives you peace of mind while your dog is being treated. While all of this is justifiable, it isn’t something that should allow you to delay your dog’s treatment. If your regular vet is unavailable or further away, forget about it. Go to the nearest emergency vet clinic immediately. Get your dog analyzed, let the vet offer some instant help, and if you feel the need, you can always shift to your trusted vet later on.

Other Helpful Factors

Alongside all that you’re suggested to do, you can do more. Keep track of the timings. The vet will need to know the details of the incident with the time frame to manage a treatment accordingly. Also, note down any immediate or delayed changes in your dog’s behavior. Hyperactivity, lethargy, dry mouth, or anything that seems out of the ordinary should be reported to the veterinarian.


Keep an eye at the dog’s stool. Whether it’s diarrhea or constipation or a change in the pooping schedule, communicate it to the doctor. Any other symptoms that you notice, no matter how big or small, very clearly let the vet know all the details. Since you’ll probably be panicking yourself when the dog ate the cough drops, it’s best to keep writing all these facts down so that you don’t forget to tell the vet anything.

Lastly, make sure to take steps that will minimize a similar risk in the future. You’ll find great tips to dog-proof your house here.

Cough Drop Toxicity

Remember the first step, which was to look into the ingredients? Well, here’s a list of the common dough drop ingredients that are toxic to dogs.


If your dog is a naughty one and eats the wrong things all the time, you would’ve heard a lot about xylitol already. Basically, xylitol is a sugar alternative in a number of candies and sometimes, medicines. It is the most common ingredient in world-famous jelly beans too. Despite being completely safe for humans, it can be fatal to dogs.

The major side effect of xylitol is an instant drop in the blood sugar levels of the dog. This further leads to more serious problems such as brain damage, heart failure, liver damage, and the list goes on.


Benzocaine is the culprit for most gastrointestinal problems. From diarrhea to methemoglobinemia, which is a form of anemia, benzocaine can make your dog miserable. It is a local anesthetic, so your dog’s throat will instantly get numb. If your dog has trouble breathing, benzocaine will only make it worse.


Most cough drops have a minty, cooling effect. This is actually what soothes the irritated throat. Menthol is the ingredient responsible for this effect. The factor that makes it soothing for humans is exactly what irritates the dogs. It suppresses the lungs, causes vomiting and diarrhea, and in the case of a higher amount, can kill the dog too. The instant effects of menthol are mostly behavioral changes.


We all are pretty aware of the potential harms of sugar. Excess sweetness is bad for humans, let alone for dogs. Sugar instantly makes the dog hyperactive. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common after the dog eats too much sugar. In the longer run, the side effects are worse. There is a higher risk of:

  • diabetes
  • tooth decay
  • liver failure

Eucalyptus Oil

Most essential oils are bad for dogs. They can affect your dog if they are inhaled. So if the dog ingested a cough drop, expect eucalyptus oil poisoning. It starts with vomiting but quickly transitions into depression, seizures, and worse problems.


Additives include the flavors and colors used in cough drops. These are usually artificial ingredients used to enhance the appearance and taste of cough drops.

Find out more about some common household ingredients that are bad for your dogs in this post.

Related Questions

Do cough drops have xylitol?

Xylitol is not a common cough drop ingredient. Usually, sugar is used instead of an artificial sweetener. However, some cough drops do consist of xylitol.

What can I give my dog for a cough?

It is actually super simple to treat your dog’s cough at home. Half to one teaspoon of honey every now and then during the day should do wonders. You can mix it in the dog’s water or food if it doesn’t like eating honey directly. Herbal tea, especially one with licorice root, is a great calming agent for canine cough.

Why does my dog keep coughing and gagging?

Dogs can suffer from what is known as canine cough or kennel cough. It is generally a dry cough that develops due to the change in weather. However, it can also be a wet cough which is caused by the phlegm build-up. This is a result of bacteria or viruses.

Can dogs have cough syrup?

Cough syrups and most other human medication are toxic to dogs. The ingredients and chemicals in these medicines can potentially kill animals. Even if the medicine was made entirely of dog-friendly ingredients, it wouldn’t be safe to give your dog any medicine without the vet’s recommendation. Make sure you get approval from the vet before you medicate your pet.

Do dogs cry?

Dogs are not emotionless. Yes, they too feel sad. However, they cannot cry. Their tear ducts are functional to keep their eyes clean. But unlike humans, these tears are absorbed into the throat and nose. If your dog has watery eyes, it is probably due to an infection or some other issue. But it is for sure that the tears are not an indication of a crying dog.

Can Vicks vaporizer hurt dogs?

Yes, Vicks vaporizers are toxic to dogs. Usually, the strong smell of the vaporizer will repel the dog. But there are a few curious ones who will want to taste it. In case this happens, you shouldn’t delay your visit to the vet.

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