Pepto Bismol, an over-the-counter medication used for gastrointestinal upset, is safe for your dog, but with a few caveats. I am sure you’ve witnessed your dog swallow something that was never intended to be food. My step-daughter has a dog that swallows everything…baby socks, face clothes, and small toys. Pepto Bismol isn’t going to help your dog in that case. The risk of bowel obstruction should prompt a visit to the vet!
In this article, I will show you how to give your dog Pepto Bismol for everyday, minor tummy upsets, the possible side effects, and some of the conditions the medication can mask.
Offering over-the-counter medications to a dog seems to like the perfect quick fix in the beginning, but then you’re left with a bottle and a teaspoon wondering how much to give!
How Much Pepto for Dogs is Okay?
There is no standardized dosing for dogs. However, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests a dosage of 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds of animal weight does the trick.
Watch this YouTube video for tips in treating diarrhea at home.
A quick phone call to the veterinarian will help you determine the right thing to do for your dog. Pepto Bismol for dogs is fine for the short-term, provided there’s nothing else going on that you weren’t aware of.
When You Speak with a Veterinarian…
The veterinarian will likely want to know a few things about your dog’s condition, including:
- whether your dog has diarrhea
- how often your dog is throwing up
- whether there are signs of dehydration
- what the dog got into to make him/her sick
- how many days your dog has been under-the-weather.
Your answers to these questions will help the doctor determine if there is a more serious, underlying cause.
The Active Ingredient in Pepto Bismol
The active ingredient found in Pepto Bismol is bismuth subsalicylate.
Bismuth subsalicylate is an antacid and antidiarrheal. The compound acts as a binding agent within the gut and is also thought to slow down motility in the gut. Serious side-effects in dogs is rare. The biggest concern with bismuth subsalicylate is that it coats the bowels and turns them black. When that happens, it’s hard to determine if there is blood in the stool.
Try this instead of Pepto for Dogxs
Small doses of Pepto Bismol over the short-term (1 day or within 24 hours) is fine, but the active compound turns the stool black. When that happens, you can’t be sure your dog doesn’t have blood in the stool, which could indicate a number of things including:
- and more
If you have a dog that gets an upset stomach from time-to-time, you might want to consider buying antacid and antidiarrheal medications specially formulated for dogs. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions or stop by a reputable pet store.
Dealing With a Worst-Case Scenario
The worst-case scenario would be to overlook the real cause of your dog’s stomach upset, particularly if something serious is happening. Continuing to use any product, including Pepto Bismol, when it is clearly not working, will lead to rapid dehydration in your dog. Your dog could have internal bleeding made worse by the medication. In some cases, your dog could have another underlying condition that’s never been diagnosed before.
Never give your dog Pepto Bismol for more than a day. Continuing illness requires a workup by a veterinarian to rule-out potentially dangerous causes.
Liquid Pepto Bismol for Dogs
Pepto Bismol comes in a variety of options including tablets or liquid. The choice is up to you, depending on how easily your dog will take medicine. Once you’ve established the right dosage (1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds), you can then use a syringe to ease liquid suspension into your dog’s mouth, or use a tablet that the dog can chew.
Fussy eaters or dogs with no appetite might need to be tempted by hiding the tablet or capsule in a treat
Don’t Overdo a Good Thing
Stop administering Pepto Bismol to your dog the minute you notice signs of recovery, even if they are subtle. Watch for:
- Return of appetite
- Energy increase
- Eyes are bright
- Moist nose
- Pink, healthy gums
Dogs can become dehydrated quickly. Watch for these signs:
- excessive panting
- sunken eyes
- pale gums
- dry nose
Do not hesitate to supplement your dog with Pedialyte (the same solution used for infants) or an over-the-counter solution made specifically for dogs. The dosage of Pedialyte for dogs depends on the size. On average, you could administer about 1/2 cup three times a day as a supplement while the dog is sick.
The following YouTube video offers more solutions and tips to treating dehydration in dogs.
When to Make an Appointment with the Veterinarian
If you’ve been administering Pepto Bismol to your dog for 24 hours and there is no change, or if you stop the treatment and the symptoms quickly return, call the vet.
The Side Effects of Pepto Bismol in Dogs
Sensitivity to the active ingredient could cause any of the following side-effects to varying degrees. Keep in mind these reactions are from human consumption. However, your dog could also have a reaction to the medication.
- constipation (severe, after ending the treatment)
- the return of diarrhea
- restlessness or anxiety
Keep in mind that if given at the dosages recommended above, it’s unlikely your dog will have a serious reaction.
You Get One Day to Play the Role of Doctor
If your dog continues to be unwell after 24 hours, phone the veterinarian, tell him or her what has been happening, and book an appointment. Watch for fever, lethargy, blood in the vomit, swollen belly, and pain.
If your pooch is prone to stomach upset, and isn’t vomiting excessively or experiencing severe diarrhea, you could try the following:
- pumpkin puree
- white or brown rice
- broth with no sodium (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
- boiled ground beef
- probiotic powder
Cook the rice and add some broth along with the boiled ground beef. You want to make it thick so don’t add too much broth. Add the probiotic powder and fold the pumpkin puree into the mix. Depending on the size of your dog, about ½ cup a few times a day should be plenty. While treating the dog with this recipe, try to avoid letting him/her have added snacks or treats.
Dog Breeds with Tummy Issues
Dog breeds known to have tummy issues include:
- Great Danes
- German Shepherds
- Golden retrievers
Why Most Dogs Get Sick
Not everything is an emergency, and there are some common reasons why your dog has fallen ill. For example:
- He ate something nasty out of the garbage can
- He swallowed something from outside (toxic plant for example)
- He got into some chocolate (potential danger depending on the amount of cocoa and the size of the dog)
- An allergic reaction to something
- A sudden change in food
- Vaccination side-effect
Treating Dehydration at Home
Dogs are about 60% water, and they can become easily dehydrated, especially if they are suffering with diarrhea and vomiting.
A dehydrated dog is missing important electrolytes (sodium, chloride, and potassium) which need replacing. Dehydration can go from mild to severe quickly, which is why it’s best not to hesitate on getting your dog to the vet.
If you can’t get in right away, diluted Pedialyte (the same solution used for sick infants) is a good but temporary measure.
You know your dog better than anybody! In most cases of mild stomach upset, it’s going to clear up quickly and on its own. Don’t let it continue without advice from a veterinarian after the first 24 hours. If you suspect something else is happening, don’t hesitate to get a medical opinion as soon as possible.
Now that you know how to administer Pepto Bismol to dogs and the kinds of conditions to watch for, why not share with other dog lovers? This is information everybody can use.
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