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Is it Safe to Use Pepto Bismol for Dogs?

Getting Rid of Your Dog's Tummy Problems

By Lauren Leonardi . December 08, 2013 | See Comments

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A Yellow Labrador Laying On The Floor With A Sad Face

Does your dog have an upset stomach? Are you at a loss as to what you can do to relieve their symptoms? Pepto Bismol always seems to do the trick for pet parents, so why not for dogs as well? Learn here how this pink over-the-counter medicine can make your dog's upset stomach a thing of the past.

People use Pepto Bismol for relief from upset stomach and diarrhea. Did you know it’s also safe for our canine companions?

QUICK FACTS ABOUT PEPTO BISMOL FOR DOGS

  • Pepto Bismol is the leading brand of bismuth subsalicylate.
  • Some brands have a different formulation, so do not treat the brands interchangeably.
  • Pepto Bismol is both an oral anti-inflammatory and an antacid.
  • Pepto Bismol is safe for both humans and dogs (not cats!), when used properly.
  • Pepto Bismol is sold without a prescription, but consult a vet before giving it to your dog because some dogs should not take the drug.

WILL PEPTO BISMOL MAKE MY DOG FEEL BETTER?

Just like us, dogs can get diarrhea, indigestion, or an upset stomach. And, just like us, dogs can get relief by taking bismuth subsalicylate. Corrective Suspension is a brand formulated specifically for dogs, but dogs can also take the same off-the-shelf Pepto Bismol that we do. Just be careful to adjust the dose properly for your dog’s weight.

WHEN DOGS SHOULD NOT TAKE PEPTO BISMOL

Just because dogs in general can take Pepto Bismol, doesn’t mean your dog should. Reasons for avoiding Pepto include:

  • If your dog is allergic to one or more of the active ingredients
  • Pregnant or nursing dogs should not take Pepto
  • The dog has any of several canine bleeding disorders
  • The dog is taking any drug that could interact with Pepto Bismol (these include some antibiotics and Aspirin, but to be safe, talk to a vet).

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Pepto Bismol is great for helping your dog feel better in the moment, but sometimes feeling better doesn’t really help in the long run. If some deeper problem is causing your dog’s symptoms, you don’t want to hide the problem with Pepto. If symptoms continue, or if your dog shows signs of serious illness, go visit the vet. Remember to tell your vet if your dog has had Pepto recently, since Pepto Bismol can cause inaccuracies in abdominal x-rays and urinalysis.

A dog with diarrhea for more than a day, or any dog with diarrhea plus any of the following symptoms needs to go to the vet:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Straining during or after defecation
  • Vomiting
  • Very dark to black stools
  • Stools mixed with blood or mucus

Additionally since puppies dehydrate easily, any puppy with diarrhea gets a trip to the vet right away.

HOW TO GIVE PEPTO BISMOL TO YOUR DOG

 

Pepto Bismol usually comes in a pink chalky liquid that dogs (and, incidentally, people) hate. If this is what you have, use a plastic feeding syringe (with no needle) to squirt it into your dog’s mouth. Aim to the side, not straight down the throat, and don’t give too much in one squirt.

Another option is to use the chewable tablets, since dogs may be duped into thinking these are biscuits. They can also be hidden inside treats.

The recommended dose depends on the dog’s weight. The best bet is to ring your veterinarian and ask. Pepto Bismol comes in several different strengths, so make sure your vet knows which kind you have when you ask.

SIDE EFFECTS OF TREATING A DOG’S UPSET STOMACH WITH PEPTO BISMOL

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.

More on Upset Stomach

Signs Your Pet Needs New Food
Caring for a Sick Dog: The Dos (And the Don'ts)
What to Feed a Sick Dog So They'll Feel Better

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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Pepto Bismol at a glance

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  • 1Pepto Bismol is safe for most dogs for quick and temporary relief from an upset stomach and/or diarrhea.
  • 2Some dogs should not be given Pepto, if they have certain allergies or blood disorders, among other issues.
  • 3Not all brands of bismuth subsalicylate are the same. Do not use brands interchangeably.
  • 4Side effects are usually mild, if they occur at all.