Can You Use Pepto Bismol for Dogs with Diarrhea?

Pepto Bismol, available under the generic name Bismuth Subsalicylate, is a drug that's used to treat dogs with diarrhea. While it effectively controls diarrhea in dogs, the active ingredient present in the drug is toxic to cats. You should exert caution when administering the medication to your pet as an overdose can also lead to adverse reactions and side effects. It's best to only administer the drug according to the vet's recommendations.

Dogs with Diarrhea

Dogs suffer from diarrhea when they ingest certain foods or substances that can't be digested by the gastrointestinal tract, or when they suffer from bacterial infections in the digestive tract. Since it's a symptom of an underlying disease, it's important to find out the real cause of the diarrhea instead of merely administering over the counter drugs to control the symptoms.

Pets suffering from diarrhea lose a lot of water from the body and may suffer from dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. To prevent this from happening it's important to give your pet plenty of fluids throughout the day. You could also flavor the water if your pet refuses to drink sufficient fluids while he's sick.

Administering Pepto Bismol

Some formulations of Bismuth Subsalicylate are available as over the counter products, while others are available as prescription drugs. The medicines are also available as tablets, caplets and in oral suspension form. Research indicates that Pepto Bismol is more effective than other generic drugs used to treat diarrhea and vomiting. Since the medication can cause side effects if administered incorrectly, it's important to follow the dosage instructions given by the vet and also to read and follow instructions listed on the package.


As a general guideline, dogs suffering from diarrhea associated with dietary indiscretion should be given 0.5 ml of Pepto Bismol liquid per pound of body weight, every eight hours. If you choose to administer the tablets, you will have to administer a quarter of a tablet for every 20 pounds of body weight, every eight hours. If the pet doesn't respond favorably to the medication or if his condition worsens, it's best to seek prompt medical help.


  • The drug is not ideal for use in dogs that are pregnant or lactating.
  • It is also not ideal for use in dogs that are allergic to the active ingredients present in the drug.
  • Since the medicine is known to interact with antibiotics or drugs that consist of salicylate, it's important to inform the vet about other medicines that the pet is taking.   
  • Avoid administering the drug without prior vet approval.

Tips for Pet Owners

If you're administering Pepto Bismol to your dog, you need to monitor his condition carefully and seek immediate medical care if the pet's condition deteriorates. Avoid feeding your pet any milk and make sure you give him a lot of fluids to prevent electrolyte imbalance.

Since dogs suffer from dietary intolerance at some point or other, it's important to exert caution when changing the pet's diet. In addition, keep the dog's food and water bowls clean to reduce his risk of contracting bacterial infections.