When you’re dog has an upset stomach or diarrhea, you might be tempted to reach for the reliable pink bottle of Pepto Bismol in the medicine cabinet. But is this something that dogs should be given, or will you only make the problem worse, or prolong their suffering?
Dogs have a habit of being curious, and usually lead with their noses. That means they can end up sticking their snout in all sorts of things that probably shouldn’t be ingested. The result is that they get more than their fair share of stomachaches, which can be hard for you as the owner to watch.
You can only safeguard your house and yard so much, dogs will sniff out things and eat them to see if they’re edible. Pepto Bismol will not really help the situation in most instances, because your dog will have either thrown up the offending item, or passed it out the other way before the pink stuff can have a chance to take effect.
Can I Give My Dog Pepto Bismol? Answer: Use Carefully
In general, you shouldn’t be giving your dog over the counter medications that are designed for humans, especially without contacting your vet first. This goes for Pepto Bismol as well. If your vet gave you the go ahead, they should let you know how much to give your dog, and in what intervals. There may be better alternatives to Pepto Bismol that you should investigate.
If you’re concerned that this is a serious problem and not just a tummy ache, you should be contacting your vet anyway. They can recommend what to do for your dog when you tell them the symptoms they’re exhibiting.
Upset Stomach in Dogs
When dogs get an upset stomach or diarrhea, which both can occur for a multitude of reasons, namely they aren’t too discerning of what goes down the hatch, it’s different than when we get an upset stomach. When humans have stomach trouble, it can go on for hours and hours, and instead of suffering through this we typically take something to help ease the process. If we’re backed up we’ll take something with a laxative effect. If it’s diarrhea cramps we’ll take something to stop the looseness, like Pepto-Bismol.
But for dogs their stomach problems typically don’t last a long time. They have a quick digestion and they have their own means of handling the problem. If they can’t digest what’s causing the trouble, they’ll usually vomit it back up. If they’re experiencing diarrhea, they just soldier through it, knowing it won’t last too long and isn’t something to be too concerned about.
Dogs don’t sit around wondering how their problem is going to effect their day, or freaking out about how long they’re going to be in pain for. Animals are always in the moment, and just deal with things as they occur. Once they’re feeling better again, they don’t reflect back on how bad their stomach ache was, they just get on with their life and are good as new again.
Please note: If you do administer Pepto Bismol to your dog do not give them more then 1.5ml per pound of their body weight over any 12 hour period.
OTC Medications and Dogs
The reason you don’t want to get into the habit of playing doctor and administering your own medication like Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate to your dog is that these weren’t created with dogs in mind. Dogs are a different species than us and their bodies have evolved differently than ours.
Even though they have the same basic functions like eating, digesting, and pooping, their internal make-up is not the same. You may think that it’s harmless to take a trial and error approach with them, but it is something that you don’t want to do as a responsible owner.
Should You Bother the Vet?
Your vet is there to help you with the important decisions regarding your dog’s health, but you don’t need to alert them to every little thing that’s wrong with them. Only contact them if you are seeing your dog behave in ways that aren’t normal.
You may have to contact your vet more often at the beginning of owning your dog, until you get better at deciphering the signs correctly. Vets know this and it’s part of their practice, in fact, you will probably deal with their assistant in most cases, and they will only pass on the information to the vet if it is serious, so you don’t have to worry about wasting anyone’s time.