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Pepto Bismol for Dogs: Safety, Can They Take It & More

Is Pepto Bismol Safe For Dogs? | BetterVet

Pepto Bismol for Dogs: Yes or No?

Pepto Bismol is a common remedy kept in home medicine cabinets to solve mild bouts of stomach aches, diarrhea, or heartburn. As it is such an effective and safe medication for people, it’s natural to wonder if the same healing properties it has in humans, transfer to our canine friends. 

Pepto Bismol is safe for dogs if given under the direction of a veterinarian for treatment of a specific medical issue, but must not be used long term. This is due to the side effects of the liquid. 

How Does Pepto Bismol Work in Dogs? 

Pepto Bismol has an active ingredient called Bismuth Subsalicylate. Bismuth is a type of metal particle that can bind easily to other molecules in or on the gut, aiding its gastroprotectant qualities. Subsalicylate is part of the aspirin family and is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Uses of Pepto Bismol for Dogs 

Pepto Bismol for dogs has been trialed for a number of different conditions. Its main use is as a gastroprotectant. Pepto Bismol is a liquid that sticks to the surface of the intestines and protects it from the absorption of toxins or bacteria that may cause harm during episodes of diarrhea. By coating the stomach and intestines, it creates an environment that promotes healing and has been used in the treatment of stomach ulcers in dogs. Pepto Bismol is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties in people, so may have the same properties in dogs, although this remains unproven. 


Side Effects 

Studies have shown Pepto Bismol is very safe for people. When researching the use of Pepto Bismol for dogs, the evidence is limited and there are few papers available to show its effectiveness or safety in dogs. Side effects can occur with any medication. In dogs there are a few side effects to be aware of: 


Pepto Bismol can cause constipation in humans and it’s thought that it may also have the same effect in dogs, especially if given in large doses or over a long period of time. 


Large volumes of Pepto Bismol or repeated administration of Pepto Bismol is toxic to dogs. Signs of toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea, and neurological symptoms. Blood tests may also show kidney or liver damage. If your dog accidentally drinks or consumes a large volume GTFof Pepto Bismol, contact a veterinarian for advice. If reported within a time window of one to four hours, your veterinarian may be able to make your dog vomit and reverse the potential damage this liquid can cause.  

Stool Color Changes 

Bismuth, a component in Pepto Bismol, makes the stool color darker than normal, usually a black or grey color. This can be concerning to pet parents as black stool (melena) can be linked to internal bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Without testing it can be difficult to work out if the black stool is a medication side effect or a sign of something more serious. 

Are There Any Alternatives to Pepto Bismol for Dogs? 

The main reason we think of using Pepto Bismol for dogs is to try and alleviate vomiting or diarrhea at home. The good news is that most episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, or both are self-limiting and usually respond well to supportive at-home care. 

Mild episodes of vomiting and diarrhea usually only last for 24-48 hours. Avoid taking your dog for walks, reduce the amount of free play they are allowed, and provide plenty of access to fresh water. Let them have lots of rest and if you have children, explain that your dog needs some alone time. If your dog has an ‘accident’ indoors, do not scold or shout at them as it is not their fault.

Try to feed small portions of bland food such as boiled chicken, boiled rice, pumpkin, or cottage cheese which is easily digested and helps the stomach to settle. If they manage to keep this food down and doesn’t vomit again for 24 hours, you can start to reintroduce their normal diet. 

There are some conditions when a vet visit is needed, and it’s important to know when to seek medical attention. Vomiting blood or any foreign material are signs that would need an urgent vet visit. If your pet does need to be examined by a veterinarian, they will be able to prescribe medications such as anti-nausea tablets, gastroprotectants, and anti-diarrhoeal suspensions. This is a much safer option as these medications are made specifically for dogs, with lots of scientific evidence proving they are safe and work well in dogs. 




What is the dose of Pepto Bismol for dogs? 

The dose usually prescribed by veterinarians is 5mls of Pepto Bismol per 10 pounds in weight of your dog.  

Can I give Pepto Bismol to my pregnant or nursing female? 

Pepto Bismol is not advised for use in pregnant or lactating bitches, or dogs with known clotting or bleeding disorders. 

Can I give Pepto Bismol to my cat? 

No, Pepto Bismol is toxic to cats as it contains a compound similar to aspirin. If your cat has accidentally drunk this liquid, contact a veterinarian right away. 

Is Pepto Bismol safe for dogs? 

Pepto Bismol can be used in dogs for short-term treatment under the direction of a veterinarian, e.g. for the treatment of helicobacter. It is toxic if given in large volumes or over a long period of time. 


Things to remember

While Pepto Bismol is very safe and useful in people for mild conditions such as heartburn or indigestion, sadly it is not the same wonder drug for dogs. The use of Pepto Bismol has been tried in many conditions, but there are many other alternative medications available for dogs to better help with mild tummy troubles that are much safer and more effective. Rather than try and treat your dog at home, always reach out and talk to a veterinarian if you are concerned. Remember, most mild cases of tummy upset do resolve within one to two days, so watch them carefully and book a vet appointment if the symptoms do not resolve.

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