If that mouth-watering pepperoni pizza that you wolfed down for dinner gave you terrible heartburn, you can take a few antacids and be good to go. But what if your dog has an upset stomach? Can you give Tums tablets to your furry friend for quick relief? The answer to that is no, you shouldn’t give Tums (or any other type of antacid) to your dog without a veterinarian’s recommendation.
That said, an occasional tablet is unlikely to cause harmful effects in healthy dogs. However, since dogs’ digestive systems work faster than ours,1 the effect of antacids would be short-lived. So, there are more potential risks than actual benefits to giving your dog this over-the-counter medication.
Read on to find out all the reasons that Tums may not be safe for dogs and what you should do instead.
What Are the Ingredients in Tums?
Tums are antacids that produce a short-term neutralization of stomach acid,2 which is the main culprit for painful heartburns. The active ingredient is calcium carbonate. The other ingredients vary by formula,3 but most options contain cornstarch, colors, flavors, mineral oil, and sucrose.
Does Tums Contain Xylitol?
Xylitol is a sweetener found in many food and supplement products, including gummies, sleeping pills, and multivitamins. Unfortunately, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs.4 Even a small amount can cause serious health problems, such as liver failure, seizures, and hypoglycemia.
Tums products do not currently contain xylitol, not even the sugar-free version.5 They do have sorbitol, which is another sweetener, but it’s not as dangerous for dogs. That said, the ASPCA mentions that sorbitol can cause diarrhea in dogs if it’s consumed in large doses.6 There are other antacids that do contain xylitol so always check ingredient labels.
Are Tums Safe for Dogs?
Even though Tums does not contain xylitol, you should avoid giving it to your dog. For one thing, antacids can interfere with other medications that your pet is taking.
Also, Tums contain calcium carbonate, which in high doses, can dangerously increase blood calcium levels and lead to hypercalcemia.
Furthermore, according to a review in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, there is currently not enough evidence to recommend antacids for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in dogs and cats, GERD being a form of chronic and more serious acid reflux.
The bottom line is that there is simply no reason for you to give Tums to your dog.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Has an Upset Tummy?
First, you need to be able to recognize gastrointestinal issues in dogs. If your pup has an upset stomach or other digestive issues, they may show the following signs:
Just like humans, dogs can occasionally also suffer from acid reflux. The most common signs to look for are:
If you suspect that your dog has a digestive problem, don’t give them anything without talking to your veterinarian first. They will be able to prescribe effective and safe medication and treatment after examining your pet.
Tips for Dogs With Stomach Issues
Having a few mild episodes of stomach upset every once in a while is normal for most dogs. However, if the signs last longer or worsen, you should consult your veterinarian promptly.
In some cases, making changes to your pup’s diet can help reduce signs, if they’re not due to a more serious gastrointestinal problem or infection.
Unless it’s advised by a veterinarian, you should not give Tums to your dog. Given the potential side effects, it is not worth giving your dog antacids. Instead, monitor your dog’s behavior closely, and if signs of stomach upset persist or worsen, consult your vet.
Featured Image Credit: Brett Hondow, Shutterstock