Kaopectate is a drug commonly given to dogs for treating diarrhea but it is not without some controversy. It was formulated for humans and is similar to the more popularly known Pepto-Bismol marketed by Procter & Gamble. Kaopectate has gone though some changes over the years which adds to the confusion for giving it to pets.
Since diarrhea is a common symptom in K9s, I’ve decided to address some concerns many dog owners are inquiring about regarding the use of Kaopectate for treating your best friend.
Only since 2004 has Kaopectate used active ingredients very similar to Pepto Bismol. Kaopectate now contains bismuth subsalicylate or attapulgite if you are 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. You want to avoid giving your dog the wrong medicine whenever possible. Since your K9 can’t tell you what’s wrong many people just visit the vet if they can afford it.
Always err on the side of caution and practice moderation when treating your dog, especially with human drugs. In fact, Kaopectate should never be given to cats which further underscores how different drugs interact with different living things. Knowledge is power. Read on to find out more about treating your dog using Kaopectate.
Kaopectate vs. Pepto
The FDA found the original Kaopectate formula to be ineffective in 2003 so an overhaul of the drug was enacted. The change became effective a short time later. Since then, there really isn’t much difference at all when comparing it to Pepto. Some people become attached to brands for different reasons, often marketing effectiveness, while others go for the least expensive option. It is really up to you when choosing between these two products. Because Pepto is probably more well known, I would 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. You may notice your K9 wanting to drink more water. Dizziness or a decrease in energy may also be observed which is why the correct dosage is so important. Not to scare you but these are actually the less serious negative effects.
If you see your dog vomiting, bumping into walls because of vision problems, or if you notice any type of involuntary spasms occurring please visit your veterinarian ASAP. These are more serious symptoms. Some people report a fever after use. Your dog may even cry out because of these negative effects or because his or her stomach may simply not agree with the Kaopectate. Close observation is in order any time you give a dog drugs formulated for humans or any drug for that matter.
The first thing you should know regarding 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. Actually, many vets recommend effective re-hydration using Pedialyte.
The FDA has not approved or disapproved of 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.
Please comment below if you know of a better dosage plan regarding Kaopectate usage in dogs. Also, many folks may have recommendations regarding what they feed their dogs while they are on this drug, or Pepto Bismol, and I encourage people to offer their opinions below.
Visit Your Vet If Kaopectate Fails
As we always remind dog owners, 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 simply cannot afford to do so. Your best course of action may be to administer Kaopectate or Pepto and wait 48 hours with close observation.
If symptoms do not improve or actually 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.