Urgent Care

Can I Give My Dog Pepto Bismol?

Can I give my dog Pepto

It has happened to many dog owners – you’ve come home from work and noticed that Bailey is a little quieter than normal. During your evening walk, you see that he has a large amount of loose stool on the grass. What is going on? Did he eat something bad? What can you do? Will a little Pepto help? In this blog post, I’m going to discuss the common human-grade drug Pepto Bismol and whether or not it is safe to give to your dog for diarrhea.

Can I Give My Dog Pepto Bismol?

Quite simply, yes. Pepto is an over-the-counter medication used by humans to soothe the stomach and aid in heartburn, indigestion, and diarrhea. In dogs, it should be used cautiously, and within the dose range, and not for the long term. 

Benefits and Uses Of Pepto In Dogs

The active ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate, is a bismuth salt of salicylic acid with strong antacid, anti-vomiting, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Pepto Bismol can be used in simple cases of diarrhea. 

If your pup has a few episodes of “normal” diarrhea, and by normal I mean it is brown and loose with NO blood, and he or she is still eating, drinking, active, and not vomiting, then you can try 1-2 doses of Pepto Bismol to see if that helps resolve the diarrhea.

Something else you can do (in addition to trying Pepto Bismol) is offer a bland diet for the next few days. For dogs, a bland diet would include boiled chicken or ground turkey, boiled white rice (no butter or seasonings), and toasted bread dipped in warmed chicken broth. You can offer small amounts every few hours while giving their gut a break from normal food. Bland diets are easier to digest and can help improve diarrhea.

In some instances, diarrhea may not respond to bismuth subsalicylate. But if you want to try something before heading straight to the vet and you have this product in your medicine cabinet, then give this popular product a try.

Pepto only helps manage diarrhea for about 24 hours and is not intended for prolonged use. Do not continue to give this medication beyond two doses.

Why?

Because if your dog is having diarrhea and you give Pepto beyond 1-2 days, then your pup may become dehydrated and need medical intervention. Stick to 1-2 doses. Trust me. You don’t want your doggy to have to stay in the hospital if he doesn’t have to!

If your pup’s diarrhea does not clear up after you have given it twice, it is time to take him or her to a Veterinarian to get checked out. Your vet may want to check a stool sample and send home an antibiotic, dewormer, or even probiotics.

I do not recommend using Pepto Bismol for vomiting. I mean – how will they keep the Pepto down if they are vomiting??

If your pet is vomiting (and also having diarrhea), skip the Pepto.  It is time to schedule an appointment for your furry friend with the doctor. Tests like lab work and x-rays may be warranted to look for the underlying cause of vomiting and diarrhea.

Can I give my dog pepto

 

Possible Risks and Side Effects of Pepto Bismol

Like with any drug, Pepto Bismol can cause side effects in some dogs, including:

  • Green, grey or black stool
  • Constipation (temporary)
  • Tongue discoloration

In rare cases, it can cause bleeding in the lining of the stomach. Also, Pepto Bismol will show up on an x-ray and can look like a round metallic object like a coin. Always make sure that you inform your veterinarian of any over-the-counter medications you have given.

It is also not recommended to be given to young puppies, pregnant or nursing bitches, or dogs taking other medication like anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, and dogs with an underlying bleeding disorder.

This medication is not advised for use in cats. 

Pepto Bismol Dosage for Dogs

Pepto Bismol comes in three different forms: chewable tablets, liquid, and caplets.

The liquid form comes in Regular and Ultra Strength. DO NOT use the Ultra Strength as it has twice the amount of active ingredient. Do not give the caplets also. 

Just stick to giving the liquid or chewable tablets.

Pepto Bismol Liquid (Regular Strength) –  1 teaspoon or 5 ml per 10 pounds of body weight every 6 to 8 hours but no more than two to three doses or for longer than 24 hours. 

There are two ways you can give Pepto liquid to your dog – through a syringe if you have one handy, or by getting him or her to lick it off of a spoon. If you happen to have a syringe, you can pull up the dose, and squirt the liquid into the corner of their mouth.

Pepto Bismol Tablets (262mg per tablet)The dose is 8.5mg per 1 pound of body weight. So a 10lb dog would need approximately 85mg, which is about a third of a tablet. Be careful when cutting tablets as it can be easy to give your dog a higher dose than they should get.

With the tablet, there are two ways you can give it – hiding the tablet in a treat or a pill pocket or allowing your dog to chew the medicine like it is a treat.

Fun Fact: I can always tell when an owner gives their dog Pepto because I will see the pink staining on the fur around the mouth or on their front paws. That usually means they did not take it well OR tried to spit it out and the pink stuff landed on their front feet. And that ultimately means that Pepto didn’t work for the poor dog and it was time for me to work my magic to help him feel better.

Some symptoms of a Pepto Bismol overdose include:

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea or soft stool with blood
  3. Panting
  4. Lethargy
  5. Unsteady gait

You should seek immediate veterinary attention if you believe a Pepto overdose has occurred with your dog.

Pepto Bismol is safe for dogs in appropriate quantities but only can be used in a limited timeframe. It is advisable to consult a veterinarian before giving your pet any medication. 

With any luck, one or two doses will be just what your pup needs to clear up his diarrhea and stay out of the vet’s office for the time being.

For the love of pets, 

Dr. Gina

Dr. Georgina Ushi is a veterinarian and freelance medical writer. She received her Doctorate from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. She currently works in the Tampa Bay area, providing compassionate care to dogs and cats. Alongside her clinical work, Dr. Ushi consults for pet well-being brands and writes health articles for her blog, Pet Health Love. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge to educate and inspire fellow pet owners. Dr. Ushi’s professional interests include emergency and critical care, wildlife medicine, nutrition, and hospice and palliative care.

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