Pepto Bismol for Dogs

Written by Krishna Maxwell
Updated: September 28, 2022
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Key Points

  • Pepto can be given to dogs healthy, adult dogs but it is not the best choice.
  • Pepto should not be given to pregnant dogs or combined with other medication.
  • If you end up at the vet anyway, make sure to tell them if your dog has been given Pepto as it can cause inaccurate lab tests.

If you have stomach problems on a semi-regular basis, there’s a solid chance that there’s a bottle of Pepto Bismol in your medicine cabinet. This bright pink bottle of medicine is used to handle everything from diarrhea and indigestion to nausea and heartburn in humans, and its ubiquity is thanks to its relatively mild nature. A common over-the-counter drug, Pepto Bismol is a mild anti-inflammatory that can also increase hydration to the intestines. It’s an effective cure that can be taken on an empty stomach, but just because it’s safe for humans doesn’t mean it’s going to work for your pet. If your dog is dealing with stomach problems and you aren’t sure if you can give them Pepto Bismol, here’s everything you need to know.

Is Pepto Bismol Safe For Dogs?

The digestive systems of humans and dogs are generally similar enough that Pepto Bismol should have the same effect on both. But while humans rarely need to worry about the side effects of taking Pepto Bismol, it’s important to exercise more caution when providing it to dogs. The inclusion of aspirins in Pepto Bismol can be lethal to cats, but dogs need to be more concerned about the medicine masking deeper symptoms of dogs with colitis, Parvo, or other serious gastrointestinal problems. Generally, you should consider Pepto Bismol a temporary solution to a problem rather than a recurring remedy.

While aspirin is not toxic to dogs, it is also not a great choice for them. It often causes GI issues so it may compound your dog’s tummy trouble. Since Pepto is made for humans and has aspirin in it, it is not the best choice for a dog with an upset stomach.

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When to Use Pepto Bismol For Dogs

Pepto Bismol is usually given to dogs with colitis — a form of diarrhea with larger bowel movements, but it can have situational usage when dealing with a number of related gastrointestinal problems. While you may be able to get this diarrhea medicine over the counter, that doesn’t mean that you should treat it as a harmless medication when trying to treat a dog with colitis. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog Pepto Bismol, as it could pose specific and serious risks to dogs of certain breeds or with some existing conditions or medications.

Pepto Bismol shouldn’t be used as a cure for dogs, but as a temporary relief until one is able to get to the vet.


How to Properly Dose Pepto Bismol For Dogs

Moderation is important when using Pepto Bismol as a diarrhea medicine for dogs. The general dosage recommendation for the liquid version of Pepto Bismol is one teaspoon per 10 pounds administered every eight to 10 hours. Liquid can be placed in an empty syringe and squirted onto the back of your dog’s tongue. Be sure to hold their muzzle shut long enough for them to swallow the liquid. The dosage for chewable tablets should be one 8.5 mg tablet per pound. It’s advised that you speak with your doctor if you have any questions about dosage with tablets or liquid. If the issue isn’t resolved after a couple of doses in either tablets or liquid format, consult with your veterinarian as it may suggest a more serious issue like a dog with Parvo.

Health Concerns When Giving Pepto Bismol to Dogs

Pepto Bismol includes salicylates, which are known to cause internal bleeding in dogs at a large dosage. Just as concerning is the presence of bismuth in this diarrhea medicine, which can further mask that bleeding by making their stool appear dark black. For that reason, dogs that are pregnant, nursing, or have conditions that make them bleed shouldn’t take Pepto Bismol. The same holds true of dogs that are also on anti-inflammatories, as the anti-inflammatories already in Pepto Bismol can react negatively.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that Pepto Bismol offers a brief alleviation of symptoms rather than a means of treatment. That’s true whether you have a dog with mild food poisoning or one with Parvo. The latter can be fatal, so it’s important to be communicative with your veterinarian so you can evaluate the root problem together.

Alternatives to Pepto Bismol for Dogs

Before you dig the bottle of Pepto Bismol out of your medicine cabinet, there are a number of alternatives to help a dog with an upset stomach. In many instances, you don’t need to run the risk of feeding them medication at all. Simply taking away food and letting your dog fast for 12 to 24 hours may help the bacteria run its course through the GI tract, but mild foods like boiled plain chicken, rice, and pumpkin can help settle an upset stomach and harden stool as well. Since drinking water can upset a dog’s stomach, feeding them ice cubes can offer a more peaceful way to stay hydrated.

The most effective alternative to Pepto Bismol is Corrective Suspension. That’s because CS is a bismuth subsalicylate that has been specifically formulated for domesticated dogs. In situations where your dog has developed ulcers or has an abundance of stomach acid, Pepcid may be recommended by a veterinarian. They’re available as tablets and are available over-the-counter. Imodium offers one last over-the-counter solution. As with all the other OTC medications, be sure to consult with your veterinarian before offering it to your dog.

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About the Author

Krishna is a lifelong animal owner and advocate. She owns and operates a small farm in upstate New York which she shares with three dogs, four donkeys, one mule, and a cat. She holds a Bachelors in Agricultural Technology and has extensive experience in animal health and welfare. When not working with her own animals and tending her farm, Krishna is helping other animal owners with behavior or management issues and teaching neighboring farmers about Regenerative Agriculture practices.

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