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Milk of Magnesia is a very useful laxative/antacid for quick relief of abdominal discomfort, indigestion and especially constipation.
But is this over-the-counter product safe enough for dogs?
Here’s the deal:
Magnesium hydroxide, the only active ingredient and a naturally-occurring mineral, is not harmful for animals when it is reasonably dosed.
And you’ll be happy to know that Milk of Magnesia is equally effective for dogs. But please keep reading to learn more!
Dogs Can Take Milk of Magnesia
In fact, there is a veterinary version of this antacid/laxative (made for horses and canines) that relieves indigestion, gastric reflux and mild constipation.
OTC Milk of Magnesia is actually one of the safer conventional medicines for dogs. It compares favorably to Maalox because the latter contains too many active ingredients.
Run It Past Your Vet
Magnesium Hydroxide in a suspension of water (ie. Milk of Magnesia) may not make sense for your dog’s particular situation.
Sometimes recurring bowel problems are indicative of undiagnosed medical conditions. It could be as simple as the dog having impacted stool, but even that requires a vet’s help.
The point is this:
There are many scenarios where giving Milk of Magnesia would be the wrong approach. Just because it may not be dangerous, doesn’t mean providing Magnesium Hydroxide makes sense.
Pro Tip: Using pumpkin to help your dog with constipation will always be preferred to any pharmaceutical.
Dosing Milk of Magnesia
Generally, a safe dose for dogs is 2ml to 5ml given every 4 to 6 hours (when used as an antacid).
And as a laxative, 7ml to 25ml given once a day is sufficient. The liquid suspension solution can be added to your dog’s drinking water.
The above amounts are only for reference. Consult with a vet first!
Both Antacid And Laxative
As an antacid, the magnesium contents of Milk of Magnesia will act as a neutralizer in your dog’s stomach.
A combination of acidic and hydroxide ions produces water to help neutralize acidity in the digestive tract. This reduction of stomach acid works to alleviate mild tummy pain.
By the same token, Milk of Magnesia also works as a laxative by stimulating the intestines (again to release water). This tends to result in normalized and regular bowel movements.
So Milk of Magnesia will not only reduce acid production in your dog’s stomach, but it can also stimulate defecation.
Reasons For Bowel Problems
A sudden diet change can cause your dog to become constipated or diarrhea. That’s why a quick diet change should be avoided. Instead, a gradual transition is highly recommended.
Stress can also make your dog constipated. And just like with humans, stress can result in hyperacidity.
When your dog gets nervous or feels threatened in some way, the stomach may release acid (leading to hyperacidic conditions or even ulcer).
Constipation and/or hyperacidity can be a sign of other serious problems (particularly in the digestive tract area).
Important: Take your dog for a check up if the symptoms are persistent and ongoing.
The Bottom Line
When appropriate and conservatively dosed, Milk of Magnesia can be given to your dog.
It is pretty safe. Still, you should run it past your vet before providing it for any reason.