Is Pepto Bismol safe for dogs?

Is Pepto Bismol Safe for Dogs? (Important Considerations)

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My dog is constantly trying to eat all kinds of things he shouldn’t. This is extremely stressful for pet parents. The most obvious reason is that you don’t want your dog to get sick, but you also have to think about whether the thing they’ve gotten into is even bad for the dog.

Do you really need to go to the vet?

For this post we asked our veterinary advisor Dr. Jamie Whittenburg to offer some general tips for what to do when your pet gets into something they shouldn’t (or that you’re not sure about) and will give you all the information you need about Pepto Bismol and your dog.

Is Pepto Bismol Safe for Dogs?

Pepto Bismol is safe for certain dogs, but can cause serious issues for some dogs and breeds. Generally you should not administer Pepto Bismol to your dog without consulting with your veterinarian.

Dogs experience stomach distress the same as humans. Pet owners may be tempted to relieve the misery caused by diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomachs, and parvo with Pepto Bismol. 

Before administering the medication, owners must understand the purpose and risks of treating a dog with Pepto Bismol. 

What is Pepto Bismol?

Pepto Bismol is an antacid and anti-diarrheal medication that can provide temporary relief from stomach discomfort, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea. It is available over-the-counter in both liquid and chewable tablet forms. Pepto Bismol should not be used for more than two days in a row as it may lead to constipation or other gastrointestinal problems.

Why Give a Dog Pepto Bismol?

Pepto Bismol can be safe for dogs with vomiting or diarrhea, but isn’t always. The pink liquid that soothes upset stomachs for humans can also help our pups feel better. 

Vets may prescribe the medicine as a treatment for helicobacter bacterial infections, which damages the stomach and intestine lining and needs to be handled swiftly and effectively.

Pepto Bismol is also sometimes administered to dogs with parvo. The medicine doesn’t treat the illness but could lessen your pup’s symptoms. 

How to Administer Pepto Bismol to a Dog

If your vet does recommend using Pepto Bismol, here’s how to administer it to a dog.

Your dog won’t simply drink the medicine from the little cup that comes with the bottle. Canines generally dislike the taste of Pepto Bismol and will try to spit it out to avoid swallowing it. 

Only offer your dog the liquid form of the medicine. The caplets are too powerful and will be dangerous to your pup. Additionally, avoid extra-strength formulas. Only the original version of Pepto Bismol is safe for dogs.

Dogs prefer the taste of the cooled liquid, so keep the bottle refrigerated. 

Administer the treatment by:

  1. Fill an empty syringe with the proper dosage. 
  2. Holding your dog by the muzzle, open its mouth.
  3. Place the syringe at the back of the dog’s mouth and depress the plunger.
  4. Keep the dog’s head steady to ensure it swallows the full dosage of the medicine. 

Be sure to adhere to dosage guidelines. Veterinarians recommend one teaspoon of Pepto Bismol for every ten pounds of dog. Space out doses between six and eight hours. 

If your dog’s diarrhea persists after taking the medicine a few times, stop administering the treatment and contact your vet. 

What are the Risks of Giving a Dog Pepto Bismol?

Pepto Bismol treats a dog’s symptoms but can have adverse side effects. The medicine can cause internal bleeding.

Accidental overdoses of Pepto Bismol can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Hyperthermia
  • Internal bleeding
  • Trouble breathing
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Closely monitor the medicine your dog ingests, and be sure to administer it carefully. 

Pepto Bismol & Xrays

Pepto Bismol tablets can look like metal objects on an Xray, which could cause confusion in diagnosing an issue with your dog.

Alternatives to Pepto Bismol

Pepto Bismol effectively relieves a pup’s upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea; however, the risks may not outweigh the benefits. Contact your vet if you’re considering using one of these alternatives:

  • Imodium: Provide one over-the-counter two-milligram capsule per 40 pounds of dog. It’s best to hide these pills in food since dogs dislike the taste.
  • Pepcid: Vets recommend 10 milligrams per 20 pounds of dog. Pepcid can’t be given with food, so you’ll have to massage the medicine down the dog’s throat.
  • Pumpkin
  • Rice
  • Probiotics 

Veterinarians should approve any medical treatment, whether it’s organic or pharmaceutical. 

This is a good video overview on how to think about Pepto Bismol and your dog by veterinarian Dr. Andy Roark:

Tips from Our Vets

It is normal to be concerned whenever your dog or cat gets into something they should not have. Dogs particularly tend to eat things with little to no regard for edibility. Because so many things can be toxic to pets, even some that are perfectly safe for humans, it can be hard to know what to do. Here are three key steps to take first:

  1. The first thing you must do if your dog or cat ate or were exposed to something that they should not have is to determine how much of the substance they actually ingested.
  2. Save labels or take pictures so that you are able to show the ingredients to your pet’s veterinarian.
  3. Your veterinarian should be the first point of contact in the case of such an event. Call the nearest emergency veterinary hospital if it is outside of normal business hours.

Please follow the advice of your veterinarian. If your dog has ingested something toxic, they must immediately be taken to a hospital or clinic for treatment. If your veterinarian does not recommend seeing your pet right away, you should observe them carefully for any signs of illness. Things to be on the lookout for include:

  1. Vomiting – Your dog may vomit from simple gastrointestinal distress after eating something other than their dog or cat food. However, intractable or repeated vomiting can signal a toxin ingestion or another serious issue like gastric dilation volvulus. These conditions are life threatening and require emergency treatment right away.
  2. Lethargy – If your dog is acting oddly, or “not themselves,” it is a clue that the ingestion might be serious. Veterinary care should be sought as soon as possible.
  3. Hypersalivation – Excessive drooling may signal a toxin exposure or an injury to the mouth. It can also be a sign of nausea. If your dog or cat is in hypersalivation, you should reach out to their veterinarian.
  4. Weakness – If your dog or cat appears to be weak, is stumbling, or has difficulty walking, the likelihood of a toxin ingestion is higher. This is a sign that your dog requires veterinary care.
  5. Seizures – Twitching, rapid leg or eye movements, and convulsions are all signs that something is wrong. These abnormal movements may be due to a toxin or another issue that the dog is experiencing.
  6. Dribbling urine – Leaking urine is often seen in cases of marijuana toxicity. Dogs or cats exhibiting this sign should be taken to the nearest veterinary clinic for treatment.

If you are unable to reach your veterinarian, a great resource for help is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. The APCC is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach them at (888) 426-4435. There is a one-time $75 fee for this service.

Final Thoughts: Is Pepto Bismol Safe for Dogs?

Pepto Bismol is safe for some dogs, but only in the correct dosage.

Side effects can include

  • discolored stool
  • internal bleeding
  • vomiting
  • depression
  • hyperthermia
  • difficulty breathing
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • coma

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give my dog Pepto-Bismol for upset stomach?

Ask your veterinarian as some dogs have adverse reactions to Pepto Bismol. If approved, you can give your dog Pepto-Bismol for an upset stomach. The recommended dosage is 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight.

What can you give dogs for upset stomach?

There are several things you can give dogs for an upset stomach (assuming your vet approves), including:

  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Kaopectate
  • Tums
  • Ginger root capsules
  • Pumpkin puree
What dog should not take Pepto-Bismol?

Dogs with certain health conditions should not take Pepto-Bismol, including those with:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatitis
What kind of Pepto Can I give my dog?

You can give your dog the regular strength Pepto-Bismol liquid or chewable tablets. Do not give your dog the maximum strength Pepto-Bismol or the Pepto-Bismol for kids.

Does Pepto stop diarrhea in dogs?

Yes, Pepto-Bismol can help stop diarrhea in dogs. The active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, bismuth subsalicylate, coats the stomach and helps to soothe an upset stomach.

What does Pepto Bismol do for dogs?

Pepto-Bismol can help relieve an upset stomach, diarrhea, and nausea in dogs. The active ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate, coats the stomach and helps to soothe an upset stomach. It can also cause major issues for the wrong dog, however.

Can dogs have Tums or Pepto Bismol?

Yes, dogs can take Tums or Pepto Bismol. The active ingredient in both Tums and Pepto Bismol, calcium carbonate, can help to neutralize stomach acid and provide relief from an upset stomach.

Is Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate better for dogs?

There is no definitive answer as to which medication is better for dogs. It is best to consult with your veterinarian to determine which medication is best for your dog.

Can dogs take Pepto-Bismol chewables?

Yes, dogs can take Pepto-Bismol chewables. The active ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate, coats the stomach and helps to soothe an upset stomach. Chewables are also easier for dogs to consume than liquid Pepto Bismol.

Additional Resources

Our writing staff and team of veterinarians have dedicated a ton of time and energy to bringing you the best information possible about household products and food to help make sure your pets are safe.

You can check out our giant guide to human foods dogs can and can not eat, and we’ve created guides on whether over 40 human foods are safe for dogs to eat.

We’ve also created a series of posts on what household products are and aren’t safe for your pet, including:

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.