They may be our beloved, furry family members, but our dogs' propensity for eating a yucky assortment of non-food items can be bewildering and a little repulsive. Once consumed, these unpleasant "treats" may cause minor to major tummy aches accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. You may be worried sick about your pup with visions of exorbitant vet bills dancing in your head, but before you reach for that bottle of Pepto Bismol, consult your veterinarian.
An OTC (over-the-counter) medication; hot-pink, peppermint-or-cherry-flavored Pepto Bismol, fondly known as "the pink stuff," is a magic remedy-in-a-bottle for people with upset stomachs, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and heartburn caused by overindulgence in food and drink or exotic foods enjoyed while traveling.
Pepto Bismol can also relieve upset stomach, diarrhea, and gas in dogs. Conversely, it may be lethal to cats due to its aspirin content. Keep in mind that Pepto Bismol was specifically formulated for humans, so always consult with your veterinarian before administering it to dogs and follow the exact dosages he or she prescribes. A totally canine-friendly formula of bismuth subsalicylate, Corrective Suspension, is available through your vet and is the best choice to relieve your dog's gastrointestinal episodes.
This is how Pepto Bismol works.
Originally developed in around 1900 by a doctor in his New York home, the first formulation of what we now know as Pepto Bismol was a concoction of pepsin, zinc salts, salol, and oil of wintergreen, along with a colorant to make it pink. Dubbed "Mixture Cholera Infantum," it was instrumental in curbing life-threatening diarrhea in babies with cholera, an acute and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine that was widespread in America at the turn of the 20th century and is still endemic today in developing countries with a lack of clean drinking water.
RELATED: Anti-Vomiting Medications For Dogs
Modified in the early 1900s to become the Pepto Bismol or bismuth subsalicylate we know today, this winning formula has earned an honored place as a best friend and essential travel companion — much like our dogs. Available in chewable tablets, swallowable caplets, and a viscous liquid, Pepto-Bismol binds with mucoproteins in the stomach lining to create a coating that soothes irritation and provides fast relief of upset stomach and indigestion.
Why should Pepto Bismol only be used for dogs as directed by your veterinarian?
Never administer Pepto Bismal to a pregnant or nursing dog, or in combination with steroids or non-steroidal medications, which are known to cause fatal bleeding episodes in dogs. Also, avoid use for dogs with aspirin sensitivities, a history of gastrointestinal ulcers or any other bleeding disorder.
The American Kennel Club's chief veterinary office Jerry Klein cautions the salicylates in Pepto Bismal may cause gastric bleeding, which could go undetected since the bismuth in the product turns stool black masking any abnormalities. He recommends, "If it must be given, offer no more than one or two doses after consulting with your veterinarian."
A few alternatives to Pepto Bismol for tummy ache in dogs.
Healthy dogs may like to munch on the occasional grass salad, but when plagued by an upset tummy, dogs will often head for the nearest green space where they eat as much grass as they can consume, then vomit. But depending on how severe the gastrointestinal issue, dogs may need veterinary care, and it's always wise to be safe than sorry and get her checked out.
In the interim, fasting for 24 hours is usually advised for adult dogs followed by a day or two of a bland diet such as boiled skinless chicken breast and white rice. Check in with a homeopathic vet for other natural alternative herbs and medicines that will put the wag back into your dog's tail and spring back in her step.