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Can I Give My Dog Tums For An Upset Stomach?

Picture of a dog on a bed

TUMS can be a great remedy for a person’s heartburn, stomach upset, and even diarrhea. If your digestive tract is giving you a hard time, you might want to take one or two of these chalky tablets to get some relief. But can you give TUMS to your dog if he’s also experiencing digestive distress? Read the rest of the article to find out the answer to this question. 

What is TUMS?

You probably know what to use TUMS for, but did you know what goes in it? This antacid is made of calcium carbonate and sucrose, and it is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline in Missouri, United States. The pills are also available in a sugar-free variant.

Like many others, TUMS is an over-the-counter medication, which means that you can get it at drug stores, retail stores, and even the grocery store. It provides relief from indigestion and heartburn, and it’s not considered a pharmaceutical-grade drug as it doesn’t contain any h2 blockers or antagonists or any proton-pump inhibitors. 

If you don’t take more than the recommended amount, you are probably not going to experience any side effects from taking TUMS. But these do exist, and we wanted to note them here so that you know that your dog can be exposed to these risks just like humans. 

Is TUMS dangerous to dogs?

When dosed properly, TUMS is not dangerous for our canine companions. However, in some very rare cases, your dog can have an allergic reaction to it, especially if you have never given this medication to him before. You can’t really know whether the allergic reaction is going to happen or not as TUMS is not a veterinary medication, and so cats and dogs aren’t tested for this type of allergy. 

Most of the time, though, minor stomach issues can be resolved by themselves. You shouldn’t necessarily give your canine friend TUMS whenever you notice a mild digestive discomfort. Some dogs can have loose stools once in a while, others can nibble on something they’re not supposed to, especially if they live in your yard, and some can be chronically constipated without you being able to do anything about it. 

How to give your dog TUMS

It’s very important to note that some TUMS variations can contain xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs. Try to get an unflavored version if you’re resolute on using this medication on your pooch. 

TUMS dosing for dogs ranges from around 1,200 mg (1.2 g) up to 10 grams. Around 2 to 6 grams do their job when administered to a dog every 24 hours. Since dog breeds can vary a lot in terms of body weight, you should know that small dogs should receive under 2 grams, and giant dogs should receive between 6 and 10 grams. 

Giving your dog the right dose is a matter of body weight, but it also deals with the severity of the digestive distress. If you’ve noticed something really serious, such as your dog pooping or throwing up several times over the course of a day, you should take your Fido to the vet instead of giving him TUMS. 

Generally, giving TUMS to a dog that’s throwing up non-stop is useless as he’s likely to vomit it before the drug manages to do its job. 

How can TUMS help your dog?

Along with bland foods that you can feed your dog whenever he gets an upset stomach, TUMS can help your pooch feel better. Calcium carbonate raises the pH inside your dog’s digestive tract (which is typically acidic). Therefore, if your dog’s discomfort is caused by too much acid, the calcium carbonate in TUMS will effectively neutralize it. 

Most dogs get mildly constipated after receiving TUMS. Because of the taste, some dogs go on the hunt for a TUMS container. Fortunately, the constipation episode almost always goes away on its own, which is one of the reasons why this drug isn’t considered dangerous for dogs.   

What should you use instead?

If you know that your dog is likely to experience digestive discomfort once in a while, you might want to add a probiotic supplement to his diet. Have a talk with your veterinarian to find out what types of products they recommend. 

Some are palatable powders and they can easily be added to your dog’s canned food, for instance. This could be a good solution if your dog hates taking pills. 

Do not use TUMS as a supplement if you notice that your dog is having digestive issues. He might really need medical assistance, not just your care, in this case. 

Plus, TUMS contains calcium carbonate and giving your pooch too much calcium can lead to him developing pancreatitis. By the way, pancreatitis is very hard, if not impossible to treat in both animals and humans. It’s a good thing that the form of calcium in TUMS isn’t bioavailable, which means that it almost always passes through your dog’s digestive tract without being absorbed. 

Caution

Some types of antacid can treat kidney disease, but they can also make kidney disease worse. Talk to your vet about what types you should always avoid giving your pooch. Avoid using TUMS or any human medication on a dog that’s pregnant or lactating. Keep in mind that this type of drug can interact with others.

Some TUMS varieties can contain food dyes that are seriously unhealthy. Others can contain toxic ingredients such as xylitol. The standard version that doesn’t contain any add-ins or artificial colors is the best one if you do have to opt for one. 

How can you tell if your dog’s having heartburn?

Some of the most common clinical signs of heartburn in dogs are reduced appetite, repeated swallowing, bad breath, excessive salivation, gurgling sounds after a meal, and regurgitation. These symptoms can be caused by a variety of stomach issues, too, so having your dog diagnosed by a vet is always the best way of going about things. 

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