If your dog is having the runs, you may be wondering whether kaopectate for dog diarrhea can be useful. The answer is that yes, kaopectate can be used to treat mild diarrhea in dogs; however, as with any over-the-counter medication it’s important to consider several factors.
What is causing the diarrhea in the first place? This is one of the most important questions and the reason why consulting with a vet first before giving any over-the-counter medications is always recommended.
Diarrhea in dogs can sometimes be a sign the dog’s body is calling for help and this signal shouldn’t be ignored.
While mild cases of diarrhea such as diarrhea occurring as a result of an abrupt dietary change may benefit from a medication such as kaopectate, there are some forms of diarrhea that need immediate veterinary attention or that signal an underlying problem that needs addressed.
For instance, in a condition like parvo, an infectious disease mostly affecting puppies and young dogs and causing bloody diarrhea and vomiting, every second counts and affected dogs require quick, intensive treatment by a vet.
Older dogs may sometimes manifest diarrhea as a result of underlying metabolic disease and these too won’t get better on their own and require treatment of the underlying cause.
Some types of diarrhea may also temporarily resolve but will quickly recur because there’s an underlying problem that needs addressed. For instance, diarrhea as a result of intestinal parasites will not resolve until the dog is given a de-wormer.
If your dog has diarrhea that is persisting for more than 48 hours or if your dog is also vomiting, has abdominal pain, is acting lethargic, has a fever or blood in the stool, see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Kaopectate for Dog Diarrhea
If your dog has a mild case of diarrhea such as from a recent dietary change, kaopectate may help. Kaopectate is simply the combination of kaolin and pectin. This drug can be used to treat diarrhea or loose stools in dogs but also works well for treating a dog’s nausea and upset stomach.
How does this drug work? Kaopectate works by absorbing any toxins and providing a protective coating to the dog’s digestive tract. This coating also alleviates any cramping or discomfort associated with diarrhea, while slowing down the passage of feces.
Additionally, some formulations such as Pet Pectillin by Lambert Kay provide electrolytes meant to help dogs deal with dehydration which often takes place when dogs lose fluids through repeated bouts of diarrhea.
Side Effects of Kaopectate for Dogs
It’s important to look at the list of active and inactive ingredients in any products labeled as containing kaopectate. Certain formulations may contain bismuth salicylate which can be a problem in dogs with an allergy to aspirin or dogs that are taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Rimadyl, Metacam, or Deramaxx.
Using a product containing salicylates along with a NSAID, can lead to the formation of stomach ulcers, perforations and kidney problems. Products containing bismuth salicylate should not be given to cats. Also, avoid using products sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as xylitol which is highly toxic to dogs.
Other drugs that may interact with kaopectate include lincomycin, and digoxin. It’s always a good idea to consult with your vet if your dog is on any medication or supplement before giving any over-the-counter supplements or medications.
Overall, Kaopectate is quite a safe medication and the chances for side effects are low.
“Kaopectate is very safe and is often used in dogs with diarrhea with no problem.”~Dr. Kara, veterinarian
Kaopectate Dog Dosage Information
Kaopectate is typically given for one to two days. According to veterinarian Dr. Dawn Ruben, the typical kaopectate dose for dogs is 0.5 ml to 1.0 ml per pound every four to six hours. For example, a dog weighing 10 pounds would get approximately 1 teaspoon every four to six hours.
Kaopectate typically comes in liquid form. The bottle should be shaken well before administering. The solution can be squirted into the dog’s mouth or mixed within the food. Some formulations (like Pet Pectillin) are lightly sweetened so that dogs are collaborative in taking it.