Theophylline for Dogs Without Prescription (Alternatives)

  • Brands: Theo-24®, Theochron®, Elixophyllin®, Theodur®
  • Ingredient: Theophylline
  • Indications:
    • Asthma
    • Coughing
    • Bronchitis
    • Collapsed trachea
    • Signs associated with pulmonary hypertension
  • Strengths: 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg, 400 mg, and 500 mg


Theophylline is a medication that has proven useful for dogs with asthma or lung diseases. The drug works in the respiratory system to relieve breathing problems. In this article, we will learn more about Theophylline for dogs: dosage, side effects, alternatives, and more.

Theophylline for Dogs Without Prescription

What is theophylline used for dogs?

Vets prescribe theophylline for dogs that have signs of asthma, coughs, and other conditions related to the lungs.

Theophylline is a bronchodilator and is available as a tablet or compounded capsule.

Theophylline works by relaxing and widening the muscles in your dog’s bronchial airways and pulmonary blood vessels.

There are some side effects associated with theophylline use, but they’re generally mild and go away quickly when treatment is stopped.

Theophylline may cause adverse effects in some dogs with preexisting conditions, so it’s important to tell your vet if your pet has any of these conditions:

  • Gastric ulcers
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • CHF
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Liver or kidney disease

If you have any questions about using theophylline, contact your veterinarian.

Theophylline dosage for dogs

The usual dosage of theophylline for dogs is 4.5 to 6.8 mg per pound of body weight, given every 12 hours.

Theophylline is generally well tolerated by dogs. However, overdosage can cause vomiting, rapid heart rates, arrhythmias, seizures, and other central nervous system signs.

Please follow the instructions from your veterinarian’s prescription.

Alternatives to theophylline for dogs

If your dog is having trouble breathing and you’re looking for an alternative to theophylline for dogs, here are some options that may work for your pet.


This cough suppressant is available in both liquid and tablet form. It can be given daily to reduce coughing, but it’s not recommended for long-term use.


Licorice root has been used for centuries as a remedy for coughs and asthma. It’s also available as a chewable tablet or syrup. The active ingredient in licorice, glycyrrhizin, has been shown to have anticancer, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Slippery Elm

Slippery elm bark is an herb that’s used to treat coughs, sore throat, stomach ulcers, and digestive problems such as diarrhea and constipation. The active ingredient in slippery elm is mucilage, which can be used as an effective remedy for coughs and inflammatory bowel conditions.

Mullein leaf

Mullein leaf has been used for centuries as a treatment for respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma. Mullein leaves have been found to be effective at reducing inflammation in the lungs while reducing coughing fits caused by allergic reactions or colds.


Quercetin is an antioxidant, found in many fruits and vegetables, that can help your pet’s breathing when taken along with theophylline. Quercetin may help reduce wheezing and coughing in dogs with asthma or allergies by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.


Honey has antibacterial properties that may help keep your dog’s throat clean during periods of illness or when they’re unable to swallow pills easily.

How long does it take theophylline to work in a dog?

You may see improvements within 1 to 2 days of starting treatment with theophylline, but it may take up to 7 days for the full benefits of therapy to occur.

Theophylline must be used regularly to be effective; treatment should not be discontinued abruptly. Theophylline should not be used to relieve sudden breathing problems.

How long does theophylline stay in a dog’s system?

Theophylline is absorbed into the bloodstream within one or two hours after being taken orally. It can remain in the body for up to 24 hours, although this varies depending on the dog’s condition and how much was taken.

What are the side effects of theophylline in dogs?

Side effects of theophylline for dogs are usually mild and include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia or restlessness
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremor

Seek emergency veterinary medical attention if you notice any signs of serious side effects such as seizures, severe vomiting, difficulty breathing, and coughing up blood or vomit.

Talk to your veterinarian about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome to your pet.

Is theophylline toxic to dogs?

Theophylline has an extremely narrow therapeutic window, meaning that serum theophylline levels must be kept below those found in the therapeutic range.

If theophylline toxicity happens, additional medications or treatments may be required to correct this problem.

Most dogs with elevated serum theophylline levels are successfully managed with supportive care including frequent monitoring of vital signs and close observation for signs of neurological deficits such as airway, breathing, circulation, and hemodynamics.

Conclusion of theophylline for dogs

Theophylline is a drug that has been used for many years by veterinarians and other medical professionals.

Theophylline is typically used in dogs with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other breathing problems.

Theophylline helps to relax the bronchial muscles and open up the airways to allow easier breathing.

If you’re considering using Theophylline on your dog without a prescription, it’s important that you understand how it works and what side effects it might cause before using it.

Theophylline has not been proven safe for all dogs, including those with existing health conditions or those who aren’t in good health already.

If you have questions about whether or not your dog should be given theophylline, consult with your veterinarian first.

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