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Is Pepto Bismol Safe for Dogs?

07/20/2018 by Colleen Williams
July 20th, 2018 by Colleen Williams

pepto bismol dogsPepto Bismol, or more generically known as bismuth subsalicylate, is an antacid and stomach soother popular among humans. But can it be used for dogs? The quick answer is yes, but with some reservations (and do not give to cats).

AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein says he rarely mentions Pepto to patients because the formula’s salicylates could cause gastric bleeding, and the bismuth in the medication can turn the stool black, which in turn may mask any gastric bleeding: “If it must be given, offer no more than one or two doses after consulting with your veterinarian.”

The following dogs should not take Pepto:

  • Those with allergies to any of the active ingredients
  • Pregnant pooches, or those who are nursing puppies
  • Those with special medical conditions, particularly those with one of several canine bleeding disorders
  • Drug interactions can persist, including some antibiotics and aspirin, so talk to your vet
  • Puppies are at risk for dehydration with diarrhea, so best to take them directly to the vet first

A safer choice is a bismuth subsalicylate product formulated specially for dogs called Corrective Suspension, which is only available via your vet.

How Does Pepto Bismol Work?

Dogs frequently have GI issues – in fact, stomach complaints top the list of reasons why pet parents bring their dogs into the vet. For minor conditions that include indigestion, mild diarrhea, and gas, Pepto can help alleviate discomfort and in some case, stop the symptom. Severe or prolonged conditions need to be treated by a vet, however, so don’t administer any OTC medications until you’ve consulted your pup’s doctor. Knowing what your pet has gotten into can help tremendously when visiting the vet, as diarrhea can come from a myriad of sources. Remember – if your dog has had diarrhea for more than a day, or is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, go to the vet:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy, wobbliness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Very dark to black stools
  • Stools mixed with blood or mucus

Dosage Information

Recommended dosage truly depends on the dog’s weight, so again, speaking with your vet may be best before administering Pepto. Using regular strength Pepto Bismol:

  • The recommended dosage is 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds. It can be offered to the dog every 6 to 8 hours. (Regular Strength Pepto Bismol Liquid)
  • When giving the chewable tablets to your dog, it’s recommended that the medicine is administered at a rate of 8.5 mg per 1 pound. (Regular Strength Pepto Bismol Chewable Tablets)

NOTE: If your dog still has diarrhea after a few doses, stop the medication and call your veterinarian.

Pepto is not a flavor beloved by dogs, so dosing them requires some tricks. Use an empty (no needle) plastic syringe to give your dog the medication. Open your pup’s mouth, place the empty syringe toward the back of the tongue and push the plunger, then gently hold his muzzle closed for a second to ensure he swallows it.

Side Effects

Side effects are rare and usually mild. The most common side effects are constipation, oddly colored stools (grey, black, or green), or a darkened tongue. If your dog exhibits shortness of breath or starts acting “off,” get to an emergency vet clinic immediately and let them know any prescription drugs he’s on, including the Pepto. They can check for gastric bleeding or other rare complications.

Common accidents and illnesses can add up, so signing up for pet insurance is essential when pets are young. Everything from soft tissue injuries to worm treatments can be covered up to 90%. Find out more by getting a free quote.