Kaopectate for Dogs: Safety, Dosage, and Alternatives

kaopectate for dogs

Kaopectate for dogs can cure mild diarrhea. It contains kaolin and pectin as its active ingredients. Some newer versions of Kaopectate no longer have kaolin or pectin. Instead, attapulgite is used. Despite the change, the brand name remains the same. 

You might have used it or seen it around, since it’s commonly used by us humans to relieve indigestion and diarrhea. It has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antacid properties. And, guess what? Vets recommend it for our dogs too when they’ve got similar symptoms.

Even though you can just pop into a store and get Kaopectate without any prescription, if it’s for your dog, I’d totally tell you – always, and I mean, always – consult your vet. Especially if your pup is on some other meds, you don’t want to mess things up.

Let’s look at all the nitty-gritty details of Kaopectate for dogs … like how it’s used, the right amount for dogs, and if there are any side effects. 

Ingredients In Kaopectate

The active ingredient in it is bismuth subsalicylate – which coats your dog’s intestines to reduce irritation. It also helps in reducing inflammation and it’s essential for preventing fluid loss from your dog’s body. Bismuth has antibacterial properties that help in suppressing the bacteria in your dog’s digestive tract. It’s the same active ingredient used in Pepto-Bismol (keep reading for a comparison of the two medicines).

Kaopectate also has some other ingredients. Some are inactive ingredients, but they still play a role. Let me list them for you:

  • Bismuth subsalicylate (see above).
  • Heavy kaolin – an absorbent clay.
  • Pectin – a solid fiber (also used in jams and jellies) that forms a gel in the digestive tract.
  • Attapulgite (instead of kaolin and pectin in some versions of Kaopectate) –  binds bacteria and toxins and reduces the loss of water.
  • Methyl para-hydroxybenzoate (E218) – a chemical preservative that’s an endocrine disruptor, so avoid it with breeding or pregnant females.
  • Sorbic acid (E200) – a natural preservative but it can cause allergic reactions.
  • Excipient QS – used as a bulking agent or filler in medicines.

RELATED: Inactive ingredients to avoid … 

Kaopectate Dosage For Dogs

Vets usually suggest giving liquid Kaopectate in a dose of 0.5 to 1.5 ml for every pound of your dog’s weight. Or, if you’re use the tablet, it’s half of a 262 mg tablet for every 7.5 pounds of body weight. You can give this to your dog 1-3 times  a day, with or without food.  But don’t give it for more than 48 hours and contact your vet if diarrhea hasn’t stopped by then.

How To Give Kaopectate

  • Give the bottle a good shake.
  • Grab an oral syringe and measure the right dose for your dog’s weight.
  • Place the syringe between the gum and inner cheek, near those big molars at the back.
  • Then slowly – and I mean slowly – squeeze the syringe until you’ve given all of the medication. 
  • If your dog is a big one or a bit rowdy, maybe get someone to help you out!

Potential Drug Interactions with Kaopectate

If you’re thinking of giving Kaopectate to your pup, there are some important cautions.

Timing With Other Drugs

Wait at least 2 hours after any other meds before giving Kaopectate – especially if he’s on antibiotics or blood pressure meds. That’s because the bismuth in Kaopectate coats the stomach and interferes with digestion of the other drugs.

Specific Drug Interactions

Don’t use Kaopectate If your dog is on diuretics. Reactions to combining these drugs include irregular heartbeat,  overheating, or even worse, neurotoxicity and even death. So, if your dog is on diuretics, don’t give Kaopectate or any medicine with salicylate – hat’s a dangerous cocktail.

Avoid Kaopectate with NSAIDs – drugs like carprofen or meloxicam. Other drugs that may not interact well are ACE inhibitors, digoxin, chloroquine, lincomycin, valproic acid, sulfonylureas, metformin and meglitinides. 

Beware Drug Allergies

Big red flag here: if your dog’s allergic to drugs like Pepto Bismol, meloxicam, carprofen, or other NSAIDs, then Kaopectate is a big no-no. And if your dog is allergic to aspirin, or he’s already taking aspirin, NSAIDs, or steroids, you should steer clear of any drug with bismuth salicylate in it. If you notice a reaction … like your dog is unresponsive, or there’s swelling in his tongue or throat, or even hives, let your vet know straight away.

RELATED: The problem with NSAIDs for dogs … 

Is Kaopectate Safe For dogs?

Kaopectate is generally safe for dogs – but only when you follow the directions right. Always ask your vet first, especially if you’ve got a little pupper under 6 months. 

The active ingredients – bismuth subsalicylate and attapulgite – are antidiarrheal agents that cut down on any nasty diarrhea-causing toxins in the intestines.

Kaopectate can have side effects, including upset stomach and constipation. Additionally, dogs with known or suspected bleeding disorders should not take this medication because of the aspirin in Kaopectate.

Always read labels carefully and follow the instructions provided. Never give Kaopectate to dogs with a known allergy to bismuth subsalicylate, aspirin, or attapulgite

Before giving Kaopectate to your dog, contact your holistic vet for more guidance. There are many natural ways to clear up diarrhea (read on for some suggestions), so you may be able to avoid giving a suppressive “anti-diarrheal” drug like Kaopectate for dogs.

RELATED: Why aspirin isn’t safe for dogs … 

Possible Side Effects from Kaopectate

As well as upset stomach or constipation, some dogs may experience more serious side effects from Kaopectate …:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark or tarry stools
  • Extreme thirst
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness

Talk to your vet right away if you see any of these signs of a reaction to Kaopectate. 

Last piece of advice – if you see any signs of an allergic reaction … like swelling, hives, or trouble breathing, stop the Kaopectate and get to your vet ASAP.

Pepto Bismol vs. Kaopectate: Which is Better for Dogs?

Most vets recommend using Pepto Bismol instead of Kaopectate for your dog. Both have the same active ingredients but Pepto Bismol is seen as a bit safer for dogs. If you’re thinking about dosage – it’s about 5 ml of Pepto Bismol for every pound of body weight. 

Always get your vet in the loop before you give any new meds to your dog … especially if your dog has any health issues or if he’s on other meds.  Click on the link below for some cautions about Pepto Bismol specifically. 

RELATED: Is Pepto-Bismol safe for dogs?

Natural Remedies for Upset Stomach in Dogs

When it comes to dog stomach upsets, you can often manage them without turning to medication. It’s worth noting that Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol, or anything with bismuth salicylate might not be the best solution, because of the risks of side effects or other drug interactions as noted earlier.

First of all, mild or dietary indiscretions leading to canine diarrhea will often resolve on their own. 

The best approach is to stick to a bland diet and offer your pup small, frequent meals over several days. 

Feed A Bland Diet

 For bouts of tummy troubles, consider a bland diet for a couple of days:

  • Boiled boneless and skinless chicken or turkey breast
  • Add pureed pumpkin (plain, not pumpkin pie filler) or sweet potato 

RELATED: More detail on how to stop dog diarrhea …

Other Helpful Additions: 

Your dog’s food doesn’t have to be bland or boring. But here are a few tips when you’re feeding a dog with diarrhea …

  • Avoid butter and excessive seasonings.
  • Slippery elm can also help. It soothes the digestive tract and  will assist in binding the stool to relieve diarrhea. 
  • Oatmeal can help calm the digestive tract and provide nutrition. Cook it very thoroughly – and always buy organic oatmeal if you can, because oats are a crop that’s known for high pesticide residues. 
  • If you’re looking to mix things up a bit, remember that bone broth is a tasty and nutritious treat that many dogs love! It’s easy to make and easy on the digestive tract too!
  • Pre and probiotics and gut soothing herbs can also help relieve digestive issues and promote your dog’s gut health.

RELATED: How slippery elm can help your dog … 

Wrapping Up: Kaopectate for Dogs

When it comes to the health and wellbeing of our beloved canine companions, nothing should be left to chance. While over-the-counter remedies like Kaopectate can offer relief for some problems, it’s imperative to consult with a veterinarian before giving any medication. 

Understanding the intricacies of these treatments – from their active ingredients to potential side effects –  is key to ensuring your dog’s safety. It’s heartening to know that nature too offers some gentle remedies for common upsets. By maintaining a balance of informed choices, we can ensure our dogs lead healthy, happy lives.

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