Quick Answer: Imodium is safe only under a vet’s supervision.
Diarrhea is uncomfortable and messy, but beyond that it can actually result in malnutrition and dehydration. This is because food moves too quickly through the system, which prevents fluids and nutrients from being absorbed back into the body. Imodium works by slowing down the digestion process. This is true whether it’s taken by humans or dogs.
While at-home treating can help in some cases — it should ideally only be given to your dog after you’ve consulted with your veterinarian. Your vet can help you determine the cause of diarrhea, if it’s actually best to let your dog’s body run its course, and if your dog is even suitable for the medication.
The following dogs should not take Imodium:
- Small dogs that are under 20 pounds.
- Dogs that are very young or very old.
- Dogs that are pregnant or nursing.
- Dogs that are exhibiting signs of illness outside of diarrhea (vomiting, abdominal pain).
- Dogs that have a mutation in their multidrug resistance (MDR1) gene. It’s common for herding breeds to have this mutation. If you aren’t sure, don’t administer Imodium without first consulting your vet.
- Dogs that have existing medical conditions. These include “hypothyroidism, kidney disease, Addison’s disease, dogs with head injuries, lung disease.”
- Dogs that are currently on other medications. It’s possible the Imodium could interfere with the potency or cause secondary side-effects.
What is Imodium?
Imodium, generically referred to as loperamide, is an over-the-counter medication that helps stop diarrhea by slowing down movement in the gut. This allows the body to better absorb nutrients from food and prevents dehydration. The answer to whether dogs can take Imodium is yes, but there are several considerations to take before administering the medication to your pet. Reminder: ask your vet first and then use this article to help once you’ve gotten the go-ahead.
The recommended dosage of Imodium depends on your dog’s weight and the form of medication. According to veterinarian Dawn Ruben via Pet Helpful, “the dosage of Imodium is 1 Imodium capsule (2 mg) per 50 pound dogs.” You can cut the tablet in half for 25-pound dogs.
The liquid form of Imodium is better suited for dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds since it allows for smaller dosages. PetMD says that 0.1mg of Imodium per .2kg (2.2 pounds) given twice daily is the recommended amount.
Make sure to confirm this dosage amount with your veterinarian before administering. Also, your dog should not take Imodium for more than five days.
Potential Side Effects
As is true with any medications, your dog may experience some Imodium-related side effects. These include the following:
- Soft stools (a consistency between diarrhea and constipation)
- Weight loss
- Constipation (typically a sign of too much Imodium)
If your pet experiences these side effects after two days, consult your veterinarian. More serious side effects include bloody stool, intestinal paralysis, central nervous system depression, pancreatitis, and toxic megacolon. If your pet displays any of these serious symptoms, cease administration and consult your veterinarian immediately.
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