Is it Safe to Use Pepto Bismol for Dogs? Getting Rid of Your Dog's Tummy Problems

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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?


  • Pepto Bismol is the leading brand of bismuth subsalicylate.

  • Some brands have different formulations, 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.


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.


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).


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, 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. Vets may recommend the Fast Balance G.I. tube for immediate stress relief.

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:

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


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 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 are rare and usually mild. The most common side effects are constipation, oddly colored stools (grey, black, or green), or a darkened tongue.

How safe is Pepto-Bismol for Dogs?

By now, your dog is probably seen as a part of your family. So when he’s unwell, it really disturbs your spirit. Even if it’s something as small as an upset stomach. When your dog has diarrhea, he doesn’t always act like himself. This is understandable because he’s always uncomfortable and all he wants to do is alleviate his condition in some way. To help, we turn to the one solution that always works for us when we have an upset stomach – Pepto-Bismol. Although Pepto-Bismol is famously known for curing stomach upsets in humans, never administer this to your dog without your vet’s permission. 

Pepto-Bismol is an easily accessible drug that you can get in any pharmacy. Its accessibility shouldn’t mean that you should use it to treat your doggo too. Even when your vet gives you the green light to go ahead and use the Pepto-Bismol, follow his directions to the letter and only give him the prescribed dosage. While Pepto-Bismol is your go-to medicine for upset stomachs, it may do more harm than good when it comes to the health and well-being of your pooch.

What are some of the side effects of giving your dog Pepto-Bismol?

There are certain things that could go wrong when you administer this drug to your dog. That’s why it’s so important to wait for that green light from your vet. The drug could turn the color of your dog’s stool to a dark green, which makes it harder to discern whether he’s actually experiencing a serious medical condition or some kind of melena. 

Your dog experiences melena when there’s blood present in his stool. If there’s blood when your dog throws up, you’re obviously immediately concerned. You should also be concerned if there’s blood in his stool. It could be from an internal injury that you don’t know about. Administering Pepto-Bismol makes this more difficult to identify.

What other treatments can you administer besides Pepto-Bismol?

First things first, if your dog is vomiting, contact your veterinarian immediately. If they're vomiting blood or mucus, they may have a blockage or another more serious issue at hand. If they have severe diarrhea (more than six times in 24 hours), this could also be indicative of something more serious than just food poisoning or bad water that caused the problem in the first place.

If your dog experiences diarrhea out of the blue, it usually resolves itself quickly, and you won’t need to bother him or yourself with other alternative medications. Just stick to a bland diet through the duration of his illness and switch back once the diarrhea has gone. 

bland diet could mean plain white rice and some boiled chicken. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something to keep him going until he’s back to his full health. Rub his tummy. This soothes and relaxes him. Just the knowledge of your presence can make him feel significantly better. Similar to how humans like company when they’re feeling under the weather, your dog also wants to know that somebody’s there, caring and looking after him.

If your dog seems generally healthy except for vomiting or diarrhea, the next step is to see if there's anything else going on with him or her. If there are other symptoms present, such as fever, lethargy (or increased energy), and loss of appetite, then these suggest that there may be something more serious going on than just an upset stomach or diarrhea.

Instead of relying on PEPTO BISMOL alternatives for dogs, try these natural remedies instead:

  1. Pumpkin or Peanut Butter. You can mix pumpkin or peanut butter with water to form a thick paste and give it to your dog to eat. The pectin in the pumpkin will help absorb moisture in the digestive system, while the fat in the peanut butter will coat the stomach and slow down its movement.

  2. Rice expands in your dog's stomach as it digests it, which helps calm diarrhea symptoms by absorbing excess water from the system. You can mix 1 tablespoon of rice with 2 tablespoons of apple sauce or yogurt, then feed it to your dog once per day until her symptoms subside.

  3. Bananas contain vitamin B6, which helps reduce inflammation in your pet's intestines and calm their guts down after diarrhea. To make a banana smoothie for your pet, peel a ripe banana and add it to a blender with some yogurt or milk.

  4. Peppermint tea can help soothe an upset stomach. To make it, boil water and steep two teaspoons of peppermint tea leaves in two cups of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain the tea and give it to your dog in small amounts at a time.

  5. If your dog is nauseous or has diarrhea, ginger can help curb it. Mix a teaspoon of grated ginger with one cup of boiling water, let it steep for 15 minutes, strain, and give it to your pet in small doses two or three times per day until symptoms subside.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much Pepto Bismol is safe for dogs?

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC,  says that Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) is technically safe for dogs, but there are some potential risks. Salicylates could cause gastric bleeding, and bismuth can turn stool black, potentially masking gastric bleeding. If necessary, only give one or two doses after consulting with a veterinarian. Dr. Klein recommends a dose of 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of the dog's body weight administered every six to eight hours. If diarrhea persists after a few doses, stop the medication and consult a veterinarian. Also, always check with a veterinarian first if the dog has never taken Pepto-Bismol before. Dogs with bleeding disorders, pregnant or nursing dogs, and dogs taking NSAIDs (e.g., Rimadyl, Deramaxx) should not take bismuth subsalicylate. Use an empty plastic syringe (without a needle) to administer the medication. Open the dog’s mouth, place the syringe toward the back of the tongue, and push the plunger. Hold the muzzle for a second to ensure the dog swallows the medication.

What can I give a dog for an upset stomach?

According to an article reviewed by Dr. Tabitha Henson, DVM, you can give your dog baby food as it is designed to be easy to swallow and digest. Stage II meat-based baby foods that contain chicken, lamb, or turkey are recommended by veterinarians but check for toxic ingredients like garlic or onion powder. Bone broth made by boiling beef marrow bones, turkey, or chicken legs in water is good for dogs refusing food and water as it is gentle on sensitive stomachs and hydrating. Canned pumpkin and sweet potato are high in fiber and can help with minor stomach upsets and constipation. Use plain canned pumpkin without additives or pumpkin powder as an alternative. Chicken with rice is bland, nutritious, and easy to prepare by boiling and shredding chicken mixed with rice. Boiled, plain shredded chicken is easy to digest and encourages eating and can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months. To avoid overloading the stomach, offer small amounts of water or ice cubes frequently. Over-the-counter medications can help with diarrhea and constipation but must be used with caution. Consult a veterinarian to ensure the safety and appropriate dosage of medications. Withholding food for 12-24 hours can also help settle the stomach, but it’s not suitable for small breeds, puppies, or dogs with existing health conditions. Consult a veterinarian for recommendations and post-fasting diet options. Probiotics help restore gut balance after stomach issues. You can use probiotics that are designed for dogs or plain, unsweetened probiotic yogurt. They also help in preventing future gastrointestinal issues. Slippery Elm bark is considered a natural remedy for gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and is available in various forms. It contains mucilage, which lubricates the stomach and intestines, and antioxidants for inflammation. However, consult a veterinarian to avoid interactions with other medications.

What over-the-counter medicine can you give a dog for an upset stomach?

It is best to consult with a veterinarian before giving any over-the-counter medicine to your dog, as some medications can be harmful to dogs or interact with other treatments they may be receiving. In some cases, over-the-counter medications intended for humans can be toxic to dogs. That being said, there are some over-the-counter medicines that a veterinarian may recommend for a dog with an upset stomach. According to Dr. Debra Primovic, DVM, veterinarians often recommend these medicines for dogs with stomach issues. Famotidine, known by the brand name Pepcid, is a histamine H2 receptor antagonist that decreases stomach acid. It is used to treat ulcerations and nausea or vomiting in pets. Ranitidine, also known as Zantac, is another histamine H2 receptor antagonist used to decrease stomach acid and treat ulcerations. Cimetidine, known as Tagamet, is the oldest histamine H2 receptor antagonist. It is less commonly used today because newer drugs like Famotidine and Ranitidine offer better effectiveness and fewer drug interactions. Omeprazole, branded as Prilosec, is a proton pump inhibitor used to treat and prevent gastric and intestinal ulcers in dogs and cats. Loperamide, marketed as Imodium, treats diarrhea in dogs by slowing intestinal movement and decreasing secretions. It should only be used under veterinary guidance, especially if the dog shows symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, or weakness. Psyllium, sold as Metamucil, is used to treat chronic large-bowel diarrhea and constipation but should only be administered under veterinary direction. Bismuth subsalicylate, found in Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate, treats diarrhea and minor stomach issues in humans. It should only be used in dogs under veterinary guidance, especially since dogs are sensitive to salicylate, which can interact with other medications like steroids and NSAIDs. It should never be used in cats.

Do scrambled eggs stop diarrhea in dogs?

Scrambled eggs can be a temporary solution to help firm up a dog's stools during a bout of diarrhea. Eggs are a good source of protein and contain essential amino acids that can help soothe an upset digestive system. However, it's important to only feed scrambled eggs in moderation, as too much can cause digestive upset or lead to an imbalance of other nutrients in the dog's diet.

Can bananas help a dog with diarrhea?

Bananas can be a safe and nutritious snack for dogs in small amounts. They contain potassium, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals that can benefit your dog's health. In some cases, bananas can also help firm up stools and relieve symptoms of mild diarrhea. However, it's important to only feed bananas in moderation, as too much can lead to digestive upset or an imbalance of other nutrients in your dog's diet. In addition, some dogs may be intolerant to bananas and may experience digestive upset after eating them.

How PetPlus Can Help

If your dog is suffering from a chronic upset stomach and Pepto just isn't cutting it, prescription medications like metoclopramide or Famotidine (Pepcid) can be very helpful. And when it comes to getting these kinds of medication for your pet, PetPlus is the best way to get them. Offering sizable discounts compared to other retailers, PetPlus can end us by saving you a large sum of money. Metoclopramide alone is over 50% cheaper on PetPlus than it is elsewhere.

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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