"Can I give Imodium to my dog for diarrhea?" You are likely to ask this question if your dog has mild diarrhea and you can find over-the-counter Imodium in your medicine cabinet.
People use Imodium to treat digestive problems, but can you give it to your dog?
What is Imodium?
We’ve all been there. Whether from a stomach bug or an exotic morsel we sampled in Morocco, we’ve all had diarrhea. And we’ve all wanted to fix it. That’s where Imodium can help.
Imodium is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that’s used to relieve diarrhea or traveler’s diarrhea. The following information can help you decide if Imodium is a good choice to help you feel better.
Normally, the muscles in your intestines contract and release at a certain speed. This helps move food and fluids through your digestive system.
During this process, the intestines absorb water and nutrients from the food you eat.
But with diarrhea, the muscles contract too quickly.
This moves food through your system too fast. Your intestines don’t absorb the normal amounts of nutrients and fluids. This causes watery bowel movements that are larger and more frequent than normal.
It also increases the number of fluids and electrolytes that your body loses.
Electrolytes are salts the body needs to function well. Having very low levels of fluids and electrolytes can be dangerous. This condition is called dehydration.
The active ingredient in Imodium is the drug loperamide. It works by making the muscles in your intestines contract more slowly.
This in turn slows the movement of food and fluids through your digestive tract, which allows the bowel to absorb more fluids and nutrients.
The process makes your bowel movements smaller, more solid, and less frequent.
It also decreases the amount of fluids and electrolytes your body loses.
Forms And Dosage
Imodium is available as a caplet and a liquid. Both forms are taken by mouth. These forms should be used for no more than two days.
However, the caplet is also available in a prescription form that may be used long-term.
The prescription-strength form is used to treat diarrhea caused by digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.
The recommended dosage for Imodium is based on age or weight.
Can I Give Imodium to my Dog?
The short answer to that question is yes, you can give Imodium to your dog, but not without consulting your veterinarian, first.
That’s because some dogs have trouble breaking down the medication, and there are many circumstances where it might actually be harmful to your dog.
Ask your vet and follow their instructions closely for administering it to your pooch.
Here’s what you should know about using Imodium to treat diarrhea in dogs.
Will Imodium Treat my Dog`s Diarrhea?
Imodium is actually a brand name for a drug called loperamide, a synthetic opioid.
It works by slowing down movement in the intestines, allowing the intestines' walls to absorb more electrolytes and water, and stops food from being pushed through the intestines too quickly.
Slowing down intestinal movement helps your dog’s body digest properly and prevents diarrhea.
You should ask your veterinarian before giving your dog Imodium for diarrhea, though, as there are many situations where it can be harmful.
Is Imodium Bad For Dogs?
While it may seem like stopping your dog’s diarrhea would be a good thing, it’s important to remember that diarrhea can be a helpful bodily function. If your dog ingests a toxic substance or has an infection, diarrhea is the body’s way of removing that toxin, bacteria, or another irritant. You don’t want to interfere with that process.
Always ask your vet before treating your dog’s medical condition with drugs.
Here are some situations where Imodium can be harmful to dogs:
- Genetics. Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, and other herding breeds can carry a gene that prevents them from breaking down Imodium. This can cause severe, harmful side effects.
- Medical conditions. Liver disease, kidney disease, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, and other conditions can be worsened by this medication.
- Pregnant or nursing. These dogs should seldom be given medication without strict veterinary supervision.
- Allergies. Almost all medications can cause allergic reactions in some dogs.
- Other medications. Imodium can interact poorly with other medications, even over-the-counter drugs.
- Side effects. Even with a proper dose, some dogs may experience side effects, including vomiting, digestion problems, and soft or bloody stools. If you see any concerning side effects, call your veterinarian right away.
How Much Imodium Should I Give My Dog?
The proper dosage of Imodium for dogs depends on a lot of factors, which is why it is so important to talk to your veterinarian before you give it to your dog.
The specific formula of the drug is one of these factors. Imodium comes in many formulas, and some generic brands provide the same active ingredients.
Therefore, only your vet can tell you if it’s safe for your dog and what a proper dose will be.
The usual dosage of the liquid form of Imodium A-D for dogs is 0.3 to 0.6 mL per pound of weight two to three times per day.
Pet parents generally administer it by pouring it over their dogs’ food.
For Imodium A-D caplets or EZ Chews, dogs are usually given one 2 mg caplet or chew forever 25 to 50 pounds of body weight two or three times per day.
Imodium Multi-Symptom Relief has 2 mg of loperamide, but it also contains simethicone.
This drug is usually safe for dogs, and they should get one pill for every 25 to 50 pounds of weight.
Dogs can overdose on Imodium, and dogs under 20 pounds are especially at risk.
Very young or old dogs are at higher risk, also.
Stick to your veterinarian’s guidelines. While side effects in dogs are generally mild, you should call your vet immediately if you see symptoms that concern you.
Are there Alternatives To Imodium For Treating Dogs Diarrhea?
If your dog suffers from extreme diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, or diarrhea that does not improve after 24 hours, then you should contact your veterinarian right away and not even bother with over-the-counter drugs or antacids.
However, for mild digestive issues like diarrhea, vets often suggest fasting until your dog’s digestive system runs its course, then reintroducing food in smaller portions or switching to a more easily digestible diet.
When vets suggest using medication to treat mild digestion problems, they may prescribe Imodium or other medications, such as Pepcid or Corrective Suspension — a Pepto Bismol equivalent formulated specifically for dogs.
Never give your dog any medications, even over-the-counter drugs, without asking your vet.
Certain foods, like pureed pumpkin, help firm your dog’s stools and improve digestion. Some vets also suggest probiotics or other supplements.
On the other hand, if your dog has frequent diarrhea, you may need to adjust their diet, or it may be a symptom of a bigger medical issue. Talk to your veterinarian if symptoms concern you.