Can you give a dog Pepto Bismol for diarrhea, vomiting or stomach upset? Find out when they can have Pepto in this complete guide to Pepto Bismol for dogs.
You’re probably familiar with Pepto Bismol, the signature pink medicine that you reach for when a mild stomach upset strikes.
And if you’re a Pepto Bismol user, then you may have wondered “Can you give a dog Pepto Bismol for digestive issues, too?”
In this article we’ll have a look at what Pepto Bismol is, whether it’s safe for dogs, the correct dosage and when you should not give it to dogs.
As with any drug intended for humans, but that can also be given to dogs, it’s always safer to check with your vet whether your dog can have Pepto Bismol.
What is Pepto Bismol?
Pepto Bismol is FDA-approved OTC (over the counter) drug meant for human consumption. But can dogs take Pepto Bismol? Usually they can, and some vets even prescribe it for some conditions.
Pepto Bismol has bismuth subsalicylate as the active ingredient. Compounds with this ingredient are also marketed as Kaopectate, Bismatrol, and Castro-Cote, among others.
Pepto Bismol must never be given to cats unless it’s prescribed by a vet. Cats are hypersensitive to any form of salicylate.
In the a body the bismuth and the subsalicylate separate and play a dual role in aiding a digestive upset.
The bismuth coats the lining of the stomach and intestines to create a buffer against acid. It also binds with the toxins which are responsible for the stomach issues. Binding these toxins helps to stop diarrhea.
Subsalicylate is a compound closely related to aspirin. The salicylate helps to slow down intestinal fluid secretions and the excessive movements of the bowel that cause the diarrhea.
The compound also has an anti-inflammatory and a mild antibiotic action.
Salicylate is however also known to irritate the lining of the stomach, which can cause ulcers. Furthermore, it also thins the blood which can cause bleeding. That is why Pepto Bismol must always be given according to the recommended doses and length of time.
Can you give a dog Pepto Bismol for indigestion?
Just like humans, dogs get mild tummy upsets from time to time. The cause could be something they ate that they shouldn’t have, overeating on some treat you gave them, or a tummy bug picked up from somewhere.
If your dog is experiencing a bout of what seems like indigestion – signs like not wanting his food, burping and gas – you can give him some Pepto Bismol.
Before reaching for the medicine though, it’s best to make sure that there isn’t another reason why your dog is turning up his nose at food. Your furry friend might be in pain – even pain not related to his digestive system.
Your dog may want to eat, but is unable to do so comfortably due to something like mouth ulcers mouth or even a loose tooth.
Furthermore, a dog may not eat if they don’t find their food appetizing.
This can happen when you suddenly change your dog’s diet and they don’t like the smell of it. On the same lines, if your dog’s sense of smell isn’t working properly, then he may not eat because he can’t smell his food.
To make a long story short, it’s best to first determine the reason for your dog’s anorexia before treating him for a stomach upset.
Diarrhea is of course a sure sign of an upset stomach.
Can you give a dog Pepto Bismol for diarrhea?
Dog vomiting and/or diarrhea? Pepto Bismol to the rescue?
You can treat your adult dog for a mild case of diarrhea or vomiting with Pepto Bismol. But if the diarrhea and/or vomiting are severe, or go on for longer than 24 hours, you should definitely consult your vet. Also if your dog appears ill with signs like listlessness, vomiting, fever and blood or mucus in his poop.
You should be aware that the bismuth in the compound causes a darkening of the dog’s stool. It can change to gray-black or greenish black. However, if poop has a “tarry” black color take your dog to the vet as this could indicate bleeding in the bowels.
Can dogs have Pepto Bismol in all circumstances? There are some instances where dogs should never be treated with this medication and we’ll discuss this later.
Always remember that diarrhea, when left untreated, can create a dangerous situation for your dog very quickly. It causes a loss of water and nutrients and so it’s important that the problem is fixed as quickly as possible
Otherwise, your dog could become dehydrated. This is especially true for puppies and that’s why you should always take a puppy with diarrhea to the vet right away.
If your vet advises that you to try Pepto Bismol for dogs, then you may want refer to the sections in this article about the appropriate dosage, how to give it, and the side-effects you should look out for.
Can dogs take Pepto Bismol in any form?
Pepto Bismol is available in chewable tablets, liquid, or swallowable caplets. Dogs can have the liquid or the tablets. There is also a bismuth subsalicylate formulation especially for dogs that you can get from your vet.
Pepto Bismol also available in varying strengths, including children’s formulations and extra strength formulations. This is where you need to be very careful and make sure that you give your dog the correct dosage.
Extra caution should be used if you’re giving your dog the “Max Strength” version of Pepto Bismol. Here the concentration of bismuth subsalicylate is doubled. This makes accidentally overdosing your dog a lot easier to do.
If you’re giving the medicine in its liquid form, filling a plastic syringe and squirting it carefully into your dog’s mouth will be the easiest way to give it.
If you’re giving the medicine in its chewable tablet form, then can disguise it in a piece of plain chicken or other bland food. However, if your dog isn’t eating you probably won’t get the pills down and the liquid form may be a better option.
How much Pepto Bismol for dogs is safe? Read on for more information about proper dosage.
Pepto Bismol dosage for dogs
How much Pepto Bismol to give is dependent on the dog’s weight.
When dosing by weight for diarrhea or a generalized stomach upset, it’s recommended that the standard liquid Pepto Bismol formula (17.5 mg of bismuth subsalicylate per milliliter) is administered at a rate of 0.5 ml per pound. Or 1 U.S. teaspoon for every 10 pounds of a dog’s body weight.
When giving the chewable tablets to your dog, it’s recommended that the medicine is administered at a rate of 8.5 mg per pound.
You can give your dog the recommended dosage every 6 – 8 hours. Unless your vet has advised a different dosage or frequency.
If the medicine is prescribed by your vet for treatment over a few days you should try and give it at the same times every day. If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you notice – unless it’s very close to the next dose anyway.
Never give a double dose to make up for missed medication! With any medicine this could cause an overdose and complications.
Can dogs have Pepto Bismol for as long as their symptoms persist?
For how long can you give a dog Pepto Bismol?
The American Kennel Club recommends that you get hold of your vet if your dog still has diarrhea after a few doses.
Generally dogs should not be treated with Pepto Bismol for longer than five days. This will increase their chances of experiencing side effects.
Furthermore, if your dog is still has a digestive upset or diarrhea after this amount of time with treatment, then chances are that something else is amiss.
Pepto Bismol for dogs should be fine to treat an otherwise healthy adult dog with minor stomach upsets. However there are a few circumstances in which dogs should not be given Pepto Bismol unless prescribed by your vet.
When should dogs not have Pepto Bismol?
Can you give a pregnant or nursing dog Pepto Bismol? The answer here is no. Studies have shown that salicylates during pregnancy could cause abnormalities in the unborn pups.
Never give a pregnant or nursing dog any medication without consulting a vet.
Obviously you shouldn’t give Pepto Bismol to dogs that are sensitive or allergic to either of the two compounds. You also need to be especially careful if your dog is currently on an aspirin-based medicine regime.
Pepto Bismol is sometimes prescribed by vets to treat the pain caused by gastric ulcers. However, the ulcers can also be aggravated by the salicylate. So get your veterinarian’s opinion on safe dosage and length of treatment before starting a Pepto Bismol regime.
Pepto Bismol for dogs can react with other drugs. These include protein bound drugs, tetracycline antibiotics, steroids, and anti-inflammatories. So if your dog is on any other medication, consult your vet before giving Pepto Bismol.
Is your dog is on other medications that also contain salicylates, such as aspirin? They could possibly that they experience salicylate poisoning (aspirin toxicity) if they’re also given Pepto Bismol for dogs.
Furthermore, salicylate is a blood thinner. If your dog is on medication to thin their blood, or has a bleeding problem, they shouldn’t be given a product containing bismuth salicylate.
Pepto Bismol for dogs – a summary
So can dogs have Pepto Bismol?
The answer is yes – usually, but not always. Pepto Bismol for dogs is safe for an otherwise healthy dog with mild acute diarrhea or another stomach upset.
However, only give it at the recommended dose and frequency. If you’re unsure rather contact your vet before you give it.
Consult your vet about Pepto Bismol for dogs if your pup isn’t better after a few doses. Also if your dog still a puppy, appears ill, is pregnant or nursing, or is on any other medication.
Can dogs continue taking Pepto Bismol after a course of treatment prescribed by a vet is completed? This is not advisable.
If your dog’s symptoms have not subsided after a recommended course of treatment then you should let your vet know. They can then decide on the next course of action. This is important for the health and welfare of your pet.
This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019.
- Donovan, L. 2016. Is Pepto-Bismol Safe for Dogs (Along with Other OTC Medications)?
- American Kennel Club.
- Leonardi, L. 2008. Is it safe to use Pepto Bismol for dogs? PetCareRx.
- Lifelearn Inc. Medications – Bismuth compounds. VCA Hospitals.
- Papich, M. 2015. Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol®, Kaopectate®) for Dogs and Cats. Petplace.
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