If your dog is suffering from excessive gas, you may be wondering whether giving dogs Tums for gas is something worthy of considering.
While Tums are an effective over-the-counter product meant for human use, it’s important to consider that in dogs, there are medical conditions that can be very serious and require immediate veterinary attention. It’s therefore important to tread with caution and always consult with a vet before giving any over-the-counter medications such as Tums for dogs.
While there are effective over-the-counter medications for occasional gas in dogs, if your dog is repeatedly gassy, it’s important to get to the root of the problem. Chronic flatulence is not good news for both people and dogs as it can denote an underlying problem. However, even if your dog is occasionally gassy or this is the first time, it still should be investigated by a vet.
Why do dogs get gassy? There may be several reasons. One common cause of gas and potential abdominal pain in dogs is a condition known as colitis, the inflammation of the dog’s intestinal lining, explains veterinary surgeon Dr. Goodall.
The inflammation can be triggered by a variety of causes such as eating something out of the ordinary, dietary changes and even stress. In such a case, on top of being gassy, affected dogs may develop diarrhea with blood and mucus. To help a dog with colitis, a bland diet for dog diarrhea may help.
Other potential causes for a dog being gassy include taking in more air, as it happens when dogs are panting more or eating too fast, belonging to dog breeds classified as brachycephalic such as boxers, bulldogs and pugs, eating milk products, overeating, intestinal bacterial overgrowth and any potential metabolic disease affecting the dog’s organs causing accumulation of waste products which may negatively impact the dog’s ability to digest food, adds veterinarian Dr. Kara.
It’s very important differentiating a simple indigestion from bloat with the stomach flipping over. While indigestion is just an upset stomach (gastritis), bloat is the build-up of gas in the stomach causing a distended abdomen. Bloat per se’ is generally not life threatening.
Problems start when the stomach gets so distended and filled up with gas, it flips over, something that is most likely to happen in deep-chested dog breeds. When the stomach flips over this can cause a life threatening condition called gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), explains veterinarian Dr. Justin.
When this happens, the twisted stomach loses its blood supply and starts dying See your vet immediately if your dog develops a distended abdomen, panting, unproductive retching, red gums and appears to be in great discomfort and distress. If you’re not sure whether your dog has a simple indigestion or a case of bloat, see your vet immediately to play it safe.
“As long as she gets rid of the gas, by burping, she is probably fine. However, there is a condition, called bloat, that occurs in deep chested dogs, like poodles and Labradors, that can be very serious. The gas stays in the stomach, causing it to expand, and sometimes even to twist.”~Dr. Rebecca
Giving Dogs Tums for Gas
Tums mainly contain calcium carbonate which makes them effective in treating symptoms caused by excessive acid in the stomach, upset stomach, or indigestion. Tums works by neutralizing gastric acid. While given under guidance of a vet Tums are very unlikely to cause any harm to dogs in terms of toxicity, it’s ultimately not the ideal drug to reach out for in a dog with gas.
One problem with giving dogs Tums for excessive gas is the fact that it’s not very likely to be as effective as other better drugs. For a dog suffering from gas, a better option would therefore be GasX (simethicone), explains veterinarian Dr. Rebecca. Make sure though that that the chewable tablets are not sugar free containing xylitol which is very toxic to dogs.
Also, a problem with giving dogs Tums for gas is the fact that Tums contain calcium and you can make a dog sick if too much calcium is given which can most likely happen when giving Tums to a small dog. For this reason, in a small dog I might not give Tums at all, further points out Dr. Rebecca.
Helping Gassy Dogs
While medications can help reduce gas in dogs, it’s important to get to the root of the problem if excess gas happens frequently. There are several ways to help gassy dogs, but you need to consult with your vet.
Dietary changes can sometimes help. Avoid feeding your dog certain foods that can cause digestive problems such as certain vegetables, beans, potatoes, cheese, yeasts and milk products. Sometimes gradually switching to a lower fiber food that’s more readily digestible under your vet’s recommendation may help.
Another beneficial tip is to supplement with prebiotics and probiotics like Fortiflora. While probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria in the dog’s gut, prebiotics instead nourish the bacteria already in the gut so that they thrive and work on reducing the gas. There are several other solutions such as supplementation of Yucca schidigera, dry activated charcoal and as mentioned GasX, but you will need to consult with your vet before administering any of these supplements or medications.
Finally, dogs who ingest too much air from eating fast, may be helped by feeding them separately from other dogs or using a special bowl such as a”Brake-Fast bowl” to slow them down.