Kaopectate is a drug sometimes given to dogs for treating diarrhea but it’s not without some controversy. It was formulated for humans and is similar to the more popularly known Pepto-Bismol. Kaopectate has gone though some changes over the years which adds to the confusion.
Since diarrhea is a common symptom in canines, many dog owners are inquiring about the use of Kaopectate and similar products for treating a four-legged best friend.
Kaopectate contains bismuth subsalicylate or attapulgite (if you’re in Canada). The drug is taken orally, either liquid or capsule form, and treats mild diarrhea possibly indigestion, stomach ulcers and nausea. Again, this drug was intended for humans so what’s the story with giving it to pets?
Can I Give My Dog Kaopectate? Answer: Yes, with caution
Keep in mind there are limitations to diagnosing your dog’s underlying condition. If you observe a typical case of diarrhea you can give your dog some Kaopectate using a proper dose which will be covered later.
Other symptoms may be more difficult to diagnose. Since your dog obviously can’t tell you what’s wrong many people just visit the vet if they can afford it. Otherwise, use caution and practice moderation when self treating your dog, especially with human drugs.
Kaopectate should never be given to cats which further underscores how different drugs interact with different living things.
Kaopectate vs. Pepto
In 2003 the FDA found the original Kaopectate formula to be ineffective so an overhaul of the drug done. Since then, it compares closely with Pepto. People become attached to brands for different reasons, often marketing effectiveness. Some go for the least expensive option. It’s really up to you when choosing between these two products. Because Pepto is probably more well known, I think more dog owners use it.
Side Effects of Kaopectate
As with all drugs there are potential side effects your dog may experience, the most common being constipation. Usually this is a result of giving your dog too high of a dose. Another symptom could be different color stools, it may be darker or even black. Your dog may want to drink more water. Dizziness or a decrease in energy may also occur which is why the correct dosage is so important. Not to scare you but these are actually the less serious side effects.
If you see your dog vomiting, bumping into walls because of vision problems, or if you notice involuntary spasms occurring please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. These are more serious symptoms. Some people report a fever after use. Your dog may even cry out because their stomach might not agree with Kaopectate.
Close observation is important when you give a dog drugs formulated for humans or any drug for that matter.
The first thing you should know about Kaopectate treatment is it should only be for 1 or 2 days maximum. After that, if the problem isn’t improving stop giving it to your dog. Use of this drug is not meant to be an ongoing thing. Also, make sure your dog has plenty of water available. Many vets recommend re-hydration using Pedialyte.
The FDA has not approved the use of Kaopectate in dogs. We depend on other experts regarding correct dosage for dogs. The consensus seems to be 1ml (milliliters) per pound every 6 hours. Don’t exceed 2 teaspoons per pound of your dog’s body weight in a 24-hour period to be on the safe side.
If Kaopectate Fails
When you give a dog drugs there could be a negative reaction. Since your vet routinely deals with diarrhea symptoms there is definitely peace of mind in a visit. Unfortunately, many folks cannot afford to do so. Your best course of action may be to administer Kaopectate or Pepto and wait 48 hours while closely watching over your dog. If the symptoms don’t improve or worsen then definitely visit your vet. Preventative care including the use of supplements is recommended in order to avoid cases of dog diarrhea in the first place.
Conclusion on Kaopectate
Yes you can give your dog Kaopectate but you should consult with a vet beforehand. Complications could result and there are several symptoms to watch out for. Remember that Kaopectate won’t cure an ongoing medical problem that your dog may be suffering with.