Can I Give My Dog Kaopectate?

Can I Give My Dog Kaopectate?Kaopectate is a drug sometimes given to dogs for treating diarrhea but it’s not without 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 inquire 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

For typical cases of diarrhea, you can give your dog some Kaopectate using a proper dose which will be covered later.

Keep in mind there are limitations to diagnosing your dog’s underlying condition. Some symptoms may be 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 immediately.  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.

Proper Dosage

Kaopectate treatment 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 best buddy has plenty of water available. Many vets recommend re-hydration using Pedialyte.

The FDA hasn’t approved the use of Kaopectate in dogs. We depend on other experts regarding correct dosage for dogs but the consensus seems to be a maximum of 1ml (milliliters) per pound every 6 hours. You should not exceed this amount unless your vet approves.

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 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.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger March, 2016

My dog has bloody diarrhea but otherwise feels fine. She is drinking and eating. Should I give her Kaopectate?

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Marge March, 2016

My dog is currently on Pro-Pectalin for diarrhea which is associated with a necessary change in diet due to kidney problems. This medication controls the frequency but the stools are runny, like turning on a faucet! Can I safely add another anti-diarrhea medication like Imodium A-D or Kaopectate?

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Terence December, 2013

Dogs make their own vitamin C. Please do not feed any supplemental vitamin C (ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate or ascorbyl palmitate) because of the kidney and liver damage it can do.

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Lisa September, 2014

This is only partially correct. Dogs do make vitamin C, however, very small amounts within a 24 hour period. Thousands of dog owners have given supplemental vitamin C for the 30 plus years I have been involved with competitive training and during my time as a vet tech. (That includes high energy and stressed police canines).

There is much research showing C combating hip dysplasia to quieting the effects of panoesteitis and aiding in cancer treatments, even easier recovery times from surgeries. And veterinarians even suggest C to clients.

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