Can I Give My Dog Pepto Bismol? (Advice for Taming the Tummy) | Herepup
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Can I Give My Dog Pepto Bismol? (Advice for Taming the Tummy)

It’s no fun dealing with a dog with an upset stomach, diarrhea, or indigestion. One of the ways you may think to help your pooch through this rough patch is to provide him Pepto Bismol since it does wonders for your digestive tract. But should you?

The Short Answer: You Got the Green Light

The good news is unlike other over-the-counter medications that work for humans like Ibuprofen, Pepto Bismol is totally safe to give to your pooch provided when properly administered. The medication rarely produces side effects, and when they do manifest, they tend to be mild and non-threatening to a dog’s overall health.

With that being said, giving your dog Pepto Bismol isn’t necessarily as easy as pouring a shot of the pink stuff into the bottle’s accompanying cup and having your pooch knock it back. There are a few metrics you must keep in mind before administration.

The Don’ts Regarding Pepto Bismol for Dogs

There are a few scenarios that exist in which giving your pooch Pepto is strictly verboten. For instance, if your pooch is pregnant or nursing, you should refrain from administering any dosage. You should also hold off if your dog has an allergy to one of the substance’s active ingredients, has a bleeding disorder, or is taking other drugs.

If you're not totally sure if taking Pepto will cause a disruption in your dog's health, eliminate the guesswork and consult with your veterinarian. In fact, it may be a good idea to speak with your vet before administering Pepto in the first place, so you can be prepared to properly administer dosage if and when the time to do so arises.

So, What Exactly is Pepto Bismol, Anyway?

Pepto Bismol is an over-the-counter medicine that’s scientifically known as bismuth subsalicylate. This substance contains active ingredients that act as both an anti-inflammatory medication and an antacid treatment. In other words, it helps to keep the enzymes and bodily processes responsible for creating havoc in the digestive tract at bay.

It should be noted that Pepto Bismol does not have the market cornered on bismuth subsalicylate. Indeed, there are other medications out there that can perform the same kind of digestion-easing voodoo. It’s just that Pepto is so ubiquitous, it’s become synonymous with the treatment.

With that being said, just because there are other forms of bismuth subsalicylate on the market, this doesn’t mean they’re clones. Some brands possess a slightly different formulation from other brands, and this variation makes bouncing from one brand to another in the throes of treatment a bad idea. In other words, pick a brand and stick to it.

If you’re a bit nervous about giving Pepto to your pooch, don’t fret. There are brands of bismuth subsalicylate specifically formulated for the canine set. If you wish to go that route for your four-legged friend, consult your vet first to make sure it’s the right choice.

How to Give Your Dog Pepto Bismol

Can I Give My Dog Pepto Bismol 2

The first step you need to take before you even provide Pepto to your pooch is to calculate how much of a dosage you should administer. There are two primary factors that you need to keep in mind when you determine the dose. Specifically, the weight of the dog and the strength of the medication.

In terms of weight, the formula is simple: The bigger the dog, the bigger the dosage. Common sense alone should prevent you from giving, say, a full cup of pink stuff to your little Yorkshire Terrier. While you may be able to figure this out by looking at the dosage recommendations on the bottle, your best bet is to consult your vet about dose size.

When you’re talking to your vet, you’ll also need to inform him or her about the strength of the substance. Pepto and other forms of bismuth subsalicylate can come in various forms of power, particularly since some have variances on their formulation. These variances may create fluctuations in the weight/dosage scale.

After you have determined how much Pepto your dog needs, you must then figure out how to actually give him the substance. The most obvious form of the substance manifests itself in a pink, chalky liquid that your dog is bound to dislike. You can’t blame him for this; after all, how much do you enjoy gulping down the substance?

The good news here is that Pepto does come in the form of chewable tablets, which could end up being much more palatable for dogs. What’s more, you may be able to readily sneak the tablets into a doggie treat, which may eliminate the need to convince your pooch to eat them. If you use tablets, talk to your vet to make sure you’re giving your dog the right size.

I Gave My Dog Pepto Bismol, and He’s Still Sick. What Do I Do?

Pepto Bismol excels at providing short-term relief for upset stomachs and other digestive issues. However, giving this substance to your dog doesn’t guarantee long-term health. If your dog falls back into the cycle of ill digestive health after the Pepto wears off, chances are great that there’s something more nefarious afoot.

If your dog continues to have issues like lethargy, black and tarry stools, blood or mucus in the stool, vomiting, or loss of appetite for more than a day after giving him Pepto, do not provide another dose of Pepto. Bring him to the vet to rule out deeper issues.

When you go to the vet, it’s important that you let him or her know that you’ve given him a recent dose of Pepto. The medication could cause inaccuracies in any urinalysis or abdominal x-rays, which could lead to a misdiagnosis if the vet is not made aware.

Take Care of Your Dog Carefully!

When your dog shows signs of digestive tract issues, make sure you’re taking all the steps you need to take to make sure giving him Pepto is a good idea. As with anything that you do with your pooch, treating him carefully and respectfully will go a long way into helping him amble on the road to recovery. It’s the right thing to do as a dog owner.


Laura Harris

Dr. Laura Harris is our resident dog health expert. She started to fact-check dog health-related information for HerePup during her internship and contributes since then. Her expertise is in dog nutrition, senior dog care, especially critical care medicine and internal medicine.

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