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10 Facts You Should Know About Pepto Bismol for Dogs test

Jan 28, 2021
AUTHOR Dr. Ross Bernstein

Reviewed by Dr. Ross Bernstein

Dr. Ross Bernstein is a seasoned veterinarian who we’re fortunate to have as the head of our Board of Pet Experts. Dr. Ross earned his doctoral degree in veterinary medicine at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where he was trained under the guidance of some of the country's most renowned veterinary professionals.


  • Addison’s disease in dogs is a hormone disorder where important hormones in the body are not being produced at adequate levels.

  • Addison’s in dogs is also known as hypoadrenocorticism.

  • The most common symptoms of Addison’s disease in dogs include lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.

  • Addison’s disease is diagnosed by running a blood test called the ACTH stimulation test.

  • The treatment for Addison’s disease includes hormone replacement therapies through injections and oral medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

Did you know that you can use Pepto Bismol to treat your dog’s upset stomach? In much the same way we use Pepto Bismol to help our tummies feel better when they’re upset, we can use it for our dogs as well.

1. What Is Pepto Bismol?

Pepto Bismol is the brand name for bismuth subsalicylate. This compound is an antacid medication used to treat discomfort in the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. Pepto Bismol is a well-known pink substance that is available over-the-counter.

2. Where Does Pepto Bismol Come From?

Bismuth salts were used in Europe beginning in the 1700s, but bismuth subsalicylate was not used until the early 1900s in the United States. Originally, the compound served as a treatment for life-threatening diarrhea in infants suffering from cholera.

Pepto Bismol was first sold by a doctor in New York sometime around the turn of the 20th century. The product got the name Pepto Bismol in 1919. First sold by Norwich Pharmacal Company, Procter and Gamble bought out the corporation in 1982. Procter and Gamble still produce Pepto Bismol.

3. How Does Pepto Bismol Work?

Pepto Bismol can treat the symptoms of a variety of digestive issues. But how does it work? While the exact mechanism for how this medicine operates isn’t completely mapped out, we do have some idea of how it works.

  • Pepto Bismol stimulates the intestinal wall to absorb fluids and electrolytes.
  • The salicylate nature of the compound reduces inflammation and irritation of the stomach and intestinal lining.
  • It also reduces the hypermotility of the stomach.
  • Salicylic acid, a sub-component, can kill harmful bacteria.
  • Pepto Bismol can bind toxins produced by E. coli, a common cause of diarrhea.

4. Can You Give Your Dog Pepto Bismol?

While you shouldn’t consider it a permanent or long-term solution, you can use Pepto Bismol to treat symptoms of digestive upset in your dog.

Note: Never attempt to diagnose or treat your dog without consulting a licensed veterinarian.

5. In What Forms Is Pepto Bismol Available?

You can find Pepto Bismol in chewable tablets and capsules you can swallow; however, it’s best known for its original formula: a thick pink liquid flavored with teaberry.

6. What Is Corrective Suspension?

Corrective Suspension is a compound similar to Pepto Bismol that has been specifically engineered for use in dogs. While you may use regular Pepto Bismol to treat your dog’s symptoms with no ill effects, Corrective Suspension is actually made for dogs.

7. What Are the Side Effects of Pepto Bismol?

There are a few concerns and risks associated with giving your dog Pepto Bismol. This is a prime reason why it is vital to consult your veterinarian regarding your dog’s needs. Pepto Bismol can turn a dog’s stool a green-black color. This change in coloration could mask melena, or blood in the stool, making it difficult to verify if your dog is having a serious medical issue. Melena presents as black, tar-like stools and can indicate a very serious medical problem.

Pepto Bismol tablets appear opaque on X-rays. Why is this a problem? If your veterinarian performs a radiograph of your dog’s abdomen, they may see the tablets in your dog’s intestines. Unfortunately, these tablets appear as foreign bodies of metal in your dog’s body. This could lead to unnecessary – and expensive – surgery to remove the “metal” from your dog’s body.

8. What Dogs Should Avoid Pepto Bismol?

While Pepto Bismol may prove helpful or even beneficial to some dogs, others should not be given the antacid. Dogs allergic to one or more of the active ingredients in Pepto Bismol should not take it, and neither should pregnant or nursing dogs.

A dog with any kind of bleeding disorder should also probably not take Pepto Bismol. Pepto Bismol can also interact with some other medications, like aspirin and some antibiotics; for this reason, consult your veterinarian before medicating your dog with over-the-counter purchases.

9. How Do You Give Your Dog Pepto Bismol?

Some off-brand versions of bismuth subsalicylate contain slightly different ingredients. It’s important to note the ingredients to make sure there isn’t anything toxic to dogs listed on the label.

To give liquid Pepto Bismol to your dog, use a plastic feeding syringe. Fill the syringe to the veterinarian-recommended dosage amount. Then squirt the liquid into your dog’s mouth. Aim the syringe towards the side of your dog’s mouth, not directly down the throat.

Break the dosage up into multiple squirts if your dog has trouble swallowing the medicine. If you have the chewable tablets, you may be able to hide your dog’s dose in a treat.

10. Alternative Solutions For Your Dog’s Stomach Pain Relief

Oftentimes, if your dog experiences diarrhea, they may not need any medication at all. Some veterinarians recommend feeding a very bland diet to quiet your dog’s digestive tract. Plain, boiled chicken and white rice offer a great home remedy for a dog with diarrhea.

Your dog may also feel comforted by your mere presence. If they aren’t feeling themselves, try a few tummy rubs while your dog relaxes next to you. If your dog doesn’t feel better soon, their symptoms get worse, or they develop new symptoms, take them to the veterinarian.

Please note that though Pepto Bismol may be used in canines, it should never be given to a cat.

Dr. Ross Bernstein

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Ross Bernstein is a seasoned veterinarian who we’re fortunate to have as the head of our Board of Pet Experts. Dr. Ross completed his undergraduate studies at Duke University, earning his B.S. in Neuroscience with a minor in Economics and Psychology. He then went on to pursue his doctoral degree in veterinary medicine at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where he was trained under the guidance of some of the country's most renowned veterinary professionals.

After UC Davis, Dr. Ross completed a one-year rotating internship in Medicine & Surgery at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, and recently completed an additional year of further training in small animal surgery at the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center, where he gained extensive experience in complex soft tissue, orthopedic and neurological procedures.

Dr. Ross shares his home with a Golden Retriever named Duma. We’re lucky to have someone as experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate as Dr. Ross in our pack – not only as our trusted advisor, but also as our good friend. Thank you, Dr. Ross!

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