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Home > Dogs > Can I Give My Dog Pepto-Bismol for an Upset Stomach? Facts & FAQ

Can I Give My Dog Pepto-Bismol for an Upset Stomach? Facts & FAQ

Pepto Bishop

Unfortunately, our furry four-legged friends can’t communicate their feelings in the same ways that we can as humans. So, if your dog has an upset stomach, it may take a bit of detective work to track it down as the culprit.

Some breeds have sensitive stomachs, some dogs have diet restrictions, and often puppies won’t be able to eat certain foods. So to say, it’s not uncommon for a dog to get an upset stomach and it’s important to know what to do when it happens. So, what about Pepto-Bismol? Can you give it to your dog to aid with stomach issues?


Can You Give Dogs Pepto-Bismol?

Yes, you can give your dog Pepto-Bismol for an upset stomach. Pepto-Bismol or “Pepto” as we often refer to it, is known for its bright pink color and contains the active ingredient bismuth subsalicylate. It was originally created to treat babies suffering from diarrhea.

It’s even sometimes prescribed by vets for dogs suffering from acid reflux, diarrhea, or a Helicobacter infection. Many dog experts agree that Pepto can help soothe upset stomachs, relieve diarrhea, and significantly reduce gas in pets. Pepto has also been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), unlike many common over-the-counter drugs.

It helps to follow up with your vet after administering Pepto to your dog (or before if your dog has digestive issues) to get a recommendation on future doses. However, many vets recommend administering 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of the dog’s weight. So for example, if your dog weighs 5 pounds, you’ll only want to give them 1/2 teaspoon of the solution.

dog owner talking to vet
Image by; SeventyFour, Shutterstock

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What Causes Stomach Upset in Canines?

Some several everyday foods and plants can cause stomach upset in canines, many of which may even seem harmless, but they’re not. The below foods and factors can quickly leave your dog feeling nauseous, vomiting, gassy, or with a stomach upset so be sure to keep your pup away from these food items.


Though tasty to humans and dogs, grapes and raisins are actually harmful to the digestive and urinary systems in dogs. Some dogs respond differently to raisins than they do grapes. But dogs can develop kidney disease from raisins, grapes, and sultanas.

Raisins specifically can even cause fatalities in canines, so be sure to keep them away from your pup. Within 24 hours of eating grape or raisin-based products, signs can include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and loss of appetite.

Poisonous Plants

Dogs are naturally curious, and some plants will attract their attention because they simply smell tasty or appear to be food. But there are many plants that can cause poisoning in dogs, and many will also cause issues with cats and other pets. Many of these plans are common houseplants. So, before you plan your indoor garden or room decor, be sure to note which ones may be hazardous to your dog.

Here are some of the most dangerous plants to note:

  • Cyclamen
  • Mistletoe
  • Giant Dracaena
  • Thorn Apple
  • Dumbcane
  • Oleander
  • English Ivy
  • Peace Lily
  • Lily of the Valley
Peace lily closeup
Image by: ignartonosbg, Pixabay

Abrupt Food Changes

You can also cause an upset stomach if you introduce a new diet to your dog too fast. If your dog is already sensitive to food (or is a puppy), switching their diet cold turkey could cause stomach upset, diarrhea, or vomiting. If this occurs, switch back to the old food until they’re feeling better.

And it helps to check with your vet to rule out possible sensitivities. Then, you can slowly transition your dog’s food again once they’re feeling better. Slow transitions allow your pup time to adjust to the new food and produce the right stomach enzymes.

Coffee and Chocolate

Chocolate and coffee both contain caffeine, something that doesn’t necessarily pair well with a canine’s system. The high levels of caffeine in coffee beverages and beans can send a dog’s nervous and cardiovascular system (especially their heart) into overdrive, which can be fatal. Also, chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both compounds that are toxic to pets.

These compounds can alter cellular processes and stimulate the central nervous system as well as the heart muscles. Common signs of chocolate or coffee poisoning include restlessness, urinary incontinence, excessive thirst, and vomiting. These signs will often appear within just 2 to 4 hours of ingestion, so it’s best to take your dog to the nearest vet clinic as soon as possible.

chocolate bars piled up
Image by: Enotovyj, Pixabay


Sometimes dogs will take a sip of your wine or margarita when you leave the room or aren’t looking. Alcoholic drinks and unexpected sources (such as mouthwash) can cause alcohol poisoning. Dogs can become poisoned by alcohol if they ingest rotten apples, perfume, paint, hand sanitizer, and uncooked bread.

Yes, even uncooked bread has enough alcohol to significantly harm a dog if they ingest it. Ethanol (aka “ethyl alcohol” or “grain alcohol”) is absorbed very quickly from a dog’s intestines and reaches the brain just like it does in humans. As a result, the dog will quickly show slowness in movement control, lethargy, and elevated body temperatures within an hour. Your dog can even go into a coma or have a very slow breathing rate.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia may seem harmless. But even small amounts of them can make your canine really sick. Though fatality is rare, even as little as 2 grams can cause dogs to exhibit signs of poisoning in a matter of hours. Common signs include shakiness, weakness, stiffness, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Although macadamia nut poisoning is not a common condition, it has been reported in more than 80 cases in certain parts of Australia in the past 5 years, where macadamia nut cultivation has grown in recent years.

macadamia nuts
Image by: sunnysun0804, Pixabay

Xylitol (Artificial Sweetener)

Products sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as xylitol are toxic for pets. Because of its antibacterial properties, xylitol can also be found in dental products for pets and people.

Signs of xylitol-related poisoning can occur within 25-60 minutes after ingestion. These signs include hypoglycemia, seizures, vomiting, inability to control body movements, and lethargy.

Onions, Garlic, and Chives

Dogs can become sick from garlic, onions, chives, and other allium vegetables. The reason for this is that these particular vegetables contain organosulfides, which are compounds found in common ingredients. Organosulfides can be converted to complex mixtures of sulfur compounds when dogs chew them.

This can lead to issues with the dog’s cardiovascular system. Even a small amount of onion can cause blood problems in both cats and dogs. Even after being dried or cooked, onions and other allium plants still contain the toxic compounds that can cause them.

onions and garlics
Image by: Shutterbug75, Pixabay

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When to Take Your Dog to a Veterinarian?

Your dog may have diarrhea if they’re vomiting, have stopped eating, or are lethargic. Diarrhea can become serious and potentially life-threatening if water or electrolytes aren’t replenished fast enough. A bout of diarrhea in a small canine should be reported to the vet immediately if your dog weighs less than 20 pounds, as smaller dogs can easily become dehydrated.

Also, if the dog doesn’t seem to be getting any better after you administer Pepto-Bismol, it’s best to take a trip to the doctor. They can take a look at your pup and recommend the best treatment and follow-up plan.

close up of french bulldog dog being held by veterinarian doctor at vet clinic
Image by: Hryshchyshen Serhii, Shutterstock

divider-dog pawBest Home Remedies for Upset Stomach in Dogs

Let’s take a look at a few other ways to help relieve your dog’s upset stomach.

Bone Broth

Sometimes your dog may not have an appetite at all, but they should still have some fluids, especially if they’re vomiting or have diarrhea. Plain chicken bone broth is a great way to keep your dog hydrated and is known to help ease a sore stomach.

Although it may be time-consuming and laborious to make, it’s well worth it. You can also buy regular bone broth from the grocery store. The broth will prevent the pup from becoming dehydrated due to diarrhea or vomiting.

broth in a pot
Image Credit: ZAHRA22, Shutterstock

Slippery Elm Bark

Slippery elm bark is the inner bark of red elm trees. It’s rich in tannins, which help to reduce inflammation. It’s also high in mucilage, which can soothe a dog’s irritated digestive system. This slimy and thin substance, when mixed with water, coats the pup’s stomach and intestines, providing relief from many gastrointestinal conditions.

Soft Bland Food

A temporary soft food diet that includes boiled chicken and plain white rice may also help keep your dog’s tummy from becoming upset. You can give your dog super-lean hamburgers, ground chicken, or a small serving of sweet potatoes to soothe her digestive system until it returns to normal appetite and bowel movements. If your dog is suffering from an upset stomach but still has an appetite, try easily digestible food for about 2-4 days to see if it helps.

cooked sweet potato
Image Credit: Silentpilot, Pixabay


Wrapping Things Up

Dogs can have Pepto-Bismol for stomach upset. It can help with nausea, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. However, you should only use the recommended amount, or any amount stated by your vet. Afterward, be sure to closely monitor your dog for signs of improvement or a worsening condition. If your dog doesn’t seem to be getting better, a vet visit is recommended.


Featured Image Credit: Pepto Bishop – ajay_suresh, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic

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