Hycodan for Canines

By Brian Clark

Hycodon is a prescription medication that is used to treat a variety of conditions in dogs. Most often, it is use as a cough suppressant. Hycodon contains a powerful narcotic drug called hydrocodone and a decongestant called homatropine. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in dogs, but is often prescribed by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.


Hycodon is used in canines to treat several respiratory conditions. It is used to treat chronic or severe coughing. It is often prescribed to suppress the dry, hacking cough that accompanies a common condition known as kennel cough. Hycodon is used to treat chronic bronchitis and bronchial compression, and can be used to treat coughing due to a collapsed trachea. It should not be used for bacterial infections of the lung such as pneumonia because it suppresses coughing. In bacterial infections, it is important to be able to cough in order to clear the lungs of these infections. Hycodon may be used to treat viral infections in the lung.


Hycodon is a narcotic medication. It is a controlled medication that must be prescribed by a veterinarian; it's an opiate that is similar to morphine and a sedative that works by suppressing the cough reflex in the brain of the dog. It also contains decongestant medications that dry respiratory and nasal secretions. It does not cure the underlying condition that is causing the coughing, but provides comfort to the dog by reducing the amount of coughing.


Hycodon is available is 5 mg tablets and 5mg/ml liquid form. It is taken two to four times a day. The dog may take Hycodon with food to prevent gastrointestinal upset. The duration of treatment with this medication depends on the condition being treated and the severity of the symptoms.

Side Effects

Hycodon is a sedative and a central nervous system depressant. Some of the side effects include sedation, drowsiness, and lethargy. Constipation is a common side effect because of the depressing effect of this drug. Gastrointestinal upset is another common side effect. This may include stomach upset and vomiting. Another side effect is dry mouth. This is due to the decongestant medication in this drug.


Hycodon should not be used in dogs with a known allergy to this medication. It should not be used in dogs with a low thyroid function, kidney disease or heart disease. Hycodon should not be combined with medications such as antihistamines, barbiturates or tranquilizers.