Can Dogs Have Codeine?

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Introduction

There are a lot of drugs that people are prescribed that can be helpful for their conditions - especially things like codeine. Codeine is a sleep-inducing and analgesic drug that is derived from morphine and can be incredibly helpful when prescribed to human patients who suffer from intense chronic pain, sleep disorders, and other issues. 

Dogs, as you know, face a lot of the same issues that people do, but that doesn't always mean that they should take the same drugs. So, to be blunt and answer the question directly, your dog should never have codeine. Even if you think your dog is suffering from chronic, intense pain, you cannot give your pup your human-prescribed codeine. 
Codeine is, unfortunately, incredibly dangerous for your dog and can cause severe illness, seizures, and in some cases, even death. 

While we know you'd never purposely harm your dog, sometimes it's possible that your pup gets his or her paws on your prescribed codeine. Want to know the signs your dog might be giving you to let you know that they've gotten into your codeine? Would you like a better idea as to why codeine is so toxic for your pup? Read on! 

Signs Your Dog is Suffering from Codeine Poisoning

While it is possible that your vet has prescribed doggo-specific codeine medicine for your pooch. there's always the potential of an accidental overdose. To ensure that your dog is taking the right dosage, you'll need to keep an eye on his or her behavior to make sure that they're reacting appropriately to their medicine. 

Additionally, it's possible your dog might have gotten into your human-prescribed codeine medication, which causes a whole slew of other issues. If you suspect your dog is suffering from codeine poisoning or an overdose, look for signs of sedation, lethargy, and laziness. 

This drug will essentially knock all the energy out of your dog, zapping the liveliness right out of them. Check for other signs like vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, trouble eating, labored breathing, and vomiting, as well.

Body Language

Here are a few signs your dog might be giving you to let you know that they've overdosed on codeine:
  • Weakness
  • Body freezing
  • Raspy panting
  • Lack of focus
  • Ears back
  • Pupils dilated
  • Blinking

Other Signs

There are other signs you should be on the lookout for as well, including:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleepiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Constipation

Historic Uses of Codeine for Dogs

While codeine can be a very dangerous drug that your dog should avoid most of the time, it's also possible that your dog-tor will prescribe special, doggy-dosages of codeine to help your pet deal with issues. 

Your vet might prescribe codeine for your pup if your dog is experiencing mild to moderate pain, but they also might suggest it for your pooch as a cough suppressant or even an anti-diarrhea medication.Veterinarians will often prescribe codeine for dogs to help alleviate chronic but moderate pain that's located in the back, muscles, and joints, and will prescribe proper dosages of it to help them manage post-surgical pains.

The Science of Codeine's Effects on Dogs

Codeine is a unique drug that's used by doctors to help alleviate chronic pain, remedy intense sleeping issues, and solve medical problems. But how does codeine work? 

Codeine is derived from the opium poppy plant and is designed to mimic the natural pain-reducing chemicals in both people and animals' brains. The chemicals that come from codeine combine with the opioid receptors in the brain and help to block reception of pain signals, meaning that your brain won't register the pain your body is feeling.

Codeine is said to increase a body's tolerance for pain, cause sedation drowsiness, depress breathing, and help to decrease discomfort.

Training Your Dog to Leave the Codeine Alone

Obviously, your dog doesn't have to deal with the dangers associated with codeine that people do, rather, your dog cannot get addicted to the drug, especially when you're the one in control of the dosage. That being said, though, an accidental overdose, a curious pup who gets into the codeine, or some sort of freak accident involving codeine (doggo prescribed or human prescribed) can result in extreme illness, wild discomfort, and even death. 

In order to keep your dog safe, you'll need to train your pup to follow a few basic rules. First, ensure that your dog is not only familiar with but abides by basic obedience commands. If your dog doesn't understand things like "no," "leave it," and "stay," you're definitely going to be in trouble. Ensure your dog knows you mean business with this. 

Next, train your dog to stay out of the bathroom or kitchen, wherever you decide to keep medicine. If your dog knows he or she is not allowed to enter a certain room, the likelihood of them getting into a situation with the medicine reduces drastically. 
You'll have to do more than just train your dog to stay away from the codeine, though, as you'll also probably have to train your dog to take the medicine you give them. Some dogs will avoid taking medicine if you simply leave it in their bowls, so consider training your pup to take it out of your hand like a treat. 

You can also train your dog to play a throw-and-catch game with their pills. Make sure you're rewarding your pup after and then returning the medicine to a safe, hard-to-reach spot so your dog doesn't get into them without you.

Safety Tips for Keeping Codeine Around Dogs:

  • Keep the codeine in a locked bottle they cannot bite through.
  • Keep the codeine up high in an area they cannot reach.
  • Crate train your pup for while you're gone to avoid any unsupervised codeine sampling.
  • Have a plan of action worked out with your vet for emergency situations.
  • Avoid leaving the pill bottle around the house.