7 safe over-the-counter medications for acute diarrhea & vomiting in dogs

over the counter diarrhea medication for dogs

When your dog has stomach problems like diarrhea or vomiting it can be worrisome but knowing what over-the-counter diarrhea medications you can give your dog will help tremendously.

Many times when our dog has diarrhea or your dog vomits we want to ‘fix’ the situation immediately with over-the-counter diarrhea medications, but in some cases, it’s best to allow the body to do what it does best.

While antidiarrheals for dogs are one option, many times diarrhea or even vomiting is the body’s way of flushing out toxins. In many of these cases, you should refrain from giving your dog medicine for vomiting and diarrhea if it is not warranted.

This is especially true if you know that your dog may have eaten something that didn’t agree with him like old food from the garbage or poison.

In this instance give your vet or poison control a call and discuss the next best steps with them. To read about common reasons for diarrhea in dogs, click here.

Although the remedies discussed below are for the most part safe, you should still discuss giving them to your pet prior to doing so with your regular veterinarian.

This is especially true if symptoms persist after a couple of doses or you are using a food or medication mentioned below for the first time

Let’s look at some of the common and best over-the-counter or otc diarrhea remedies for dogs with diarrhea and vomiting remedies for dogs and the dosages for how much anti-diarrhea medication you should give your dog.

over the counter diarrhea medication for dogs

1. Petpo-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)

What does it work for? Diarrhea

Pepto-Bismol is a fairly safe over-the-counter medication to use in dogs to treat diarrhea, in fact, there is a veterinary suspension of bismuth subsalicylate that your vet would probably prefer to use.

It works by protecting your stomach and the lower part of your esophagus from stomach acid through a thick coating, it also kills some bacteria that cause diarrhea and is a mild antacid. In this article by the AKC, they discuss giving Pepto Bismol to dogs as well.

If you do decide to give Pepto Bismol to your dog as an anti-diarrhea medication, make sure to give no more than one or two doses before taking your dog to the veterinarian.

Dogs with bleeding disorders or dogs that are pregnant or nursing should not take this medication.

Dosage for dogs

How much Pepto Bismol should I give my dog? A general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds but always check with your veterinarian for an appropriate dose. It can be offered to the dog every 6-to-8 hours. Ideally, you don’t want to give more than a few doses at home. If your dog still has diarrhea after a few doses it may be time to visit your veterinarian.

Medication interactions

  • NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatory agents) like Rimadyl & Deramaxx

Side effects

  • gastric bleeding (because of the salicylates)
  • black stool (can mask any blood)

Is Pepto-Bismol okay for my cat? No, it is toxic to cats

2. Imodium (loperamide)

What does it work for? Diarrhea

Imodium is another over-the-counter medication that is fairly safe for dogs with a mild case of diarrhea. If the diarrhea is severe give no more than one dose before visiting your veterinarian as it can make the situation worse in the long run sometimes. It works by slowing down the movement of fluid through the gut

Dosage for dogs

How much Imodium should I give my dog?

A 2-milligram pill per 40 pounds of body weight is the general dosage for dogs. You can wrap the tablet in a treat pocket or a small amount of food. Ensure that you are only giving just enough to cover the pill as you don’t want to make the situation worse.

Who should not take it?

Certain breeds should never be given Imodium because it can result in extremely harmful side effects. These are Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, and other herding breeds can carry a gene that prevents them from breaking it down Also dogs with certain predisposing conditions and those taking certain medications,

Side Effects

It should be noted that even with a proper dose, some dogs may still experience side effects

  • vomiting
  • soft or bloody stools
  • sore stomach

Is Immodium okay for my cat? No, cats may have a reaction to this medication

3. Pepcid (famotidine)

What does it work for? Vomiting, specifically from gastric ulcers

Pepcid works by decreasing the amount of acid that the stomach makes. So it is extremely helpful in dealing with issues like stomach acid build-up, gastric ulcers, or other GI-related issues. This drug is not FDA-approved for use in pets, however, so contact your veterinarian before administering it.

Dosage for dogs

How much Pepcid should I give my dog?

For both dogs and cats, the dosage is one 10-milligram tablet for a 20-pound dog every 12-to-24 hours but always check with your vet for the proper dose since it goes by weight. It is best to give this medication one hour before meals to assist with stomach acid production. When purchasing Pepcid, make sure to buy Pepcid Original Strength to avoid additional ingredients that may not sit well with your pup.

Who should not take this

  • Pregnant or nursing dogs
  • Dogs on certain medications such as cefpodoxime, iron or certain antifungals that don’t absorb well
  • Dogs with predisposed conditions

Side Effects

  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness

4. Dramamine (Dimenhuydrinate)

What does it work for? vomiting (specifically for motion sickness)

Dramamine is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of the natural chemical histamine in the body (meaning It is almost like a milder form of Benadryl which is used to relieve allergy symptoms and allergic reactions).

This medication works by inhibiting stimulation of the vestibular system of the brain which is responsible for detecting motion and is used for motion sickness in both dogs and humans.

Dramamine is not approved for use in animals by the FDA but can be prescribed legally by your veterinarian as an anti-nausea medication.

Dosage for Dogs

How much Dramamine should I give my dog?

  • Medium to large dogs should be given 25 to 50 milligrams at least an hour before traveling in a car
  • cats and small dogs should get about 12.5 milligrams always check with your vet to obtain a proper dosage for your pet

Side Effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Urinary Retention
  • If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian

5. Pedialyte

What does it work for? Electrolyte replacement

While this isn’t a drug that prevents vomiting or diarrhea, Pedialyte comes in handy when you are concerned about our pup’s hydration after a severe episode of stomach upset. Pets lose a lot of liquids with diarrhea and vomiting, Pedialyte works by replacing liquid and electrolytes that may have been lost during episodes of excessive fluid loss from your dog’s body. It is a fairly safe over-the-counter option to give your dog with diarrhea or even vomiting if they are able to keep anything down.

The great thing about adding clear, unflavored Pedialyte to your dog’s water is that there are very few side effects or chances of overdosage, although it is possible so always speak with your vet prior to administering.

Side Effects

Side effects are seen as electrolyte imbalances

Dosage for Dogs

How much Pedialyte should I give my dog?

The general rule of thumb is

  • Small Dogs: 1/8 cup every hour
  • Large Dogs: 1/4 cup every hour

6. Metamucil

What does it work for? Diarrhea

Psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid or Metamucil can help with diarrhea. Supplementing your pup’s diet with fiber will help improve diarrhea as dietary fiber reduces free fecal water and helps prolong transit time.

How much Metamucil should I give my dog:
1/2- teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight is the general rule, but speak with your vet for a dose specific to your dog’s weight

7. Slippery Elm

What does it work for? Diarrhea

Slippery elm bark is a long-time home remedy for diarrhea in dogs. It is known to fight inflammation and form a protective coating on the stomach lining, which is said to help with faster recovery from episodes of diarrhea. If you do decide to give your dog slippery elm the best thing to do is to get one formulated for dogs and has a specific dosage for your dog’s weight like this one.

8. Probiotics

In some cases, probiotics may prove to be helpful in dogs with diarrhea. In cases of SIBO and intestinal bacterial overgrowth, some pet owners have found some relief.

The Bottom Line

While these medications may work well for some acute cases of diarrhea, if your dog has a chronic condition like colitis or inflammatory bowel disease you should speak with your vet about long-term medications and making changes in their diet. There are several over-the-counter diarrhea medications that we have in our drug cabinets that will help our dogs in times of need. Just make sure you speak with your trusted veterinarian prior to administering them to your dog to prevent over or underuse in your pet.


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Any information shared on this blog is for information purposes only, please speak with your vet prior to administering any medication

4 thoughts on “7 safe over-the-counter medications for acute diarrhea & vomiting in dogs

  1. After the fast is over, start your dog back on a bland diet of white rice cooked with extra water and mixed with small amounts of baby food for protein and flavor; for each cup of dry rice, use two to three cups of water. Continue to add probiotics to her food, using at least 2 to 10 billion viable bacterial organisms in each meal you serve; to determine the level of “viable organisms” or “colony forming units” (CFUs) present in a probiotic such as acidophilus, look on the label—a reputable manufacturer will list that number.

  2. None of these options should be used because the result is similar in humans and result in constipation and creates an improper balance and cycle of constipation and diarrea.

    Administering soaked chia seeds and adding a little ginger powder is a better option for many reasons. Vomiting and diarrea can result in dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Chia seeds addresses this issue when soaked. Ground ginger is an excellent option for all digestive upset. Loose to violent bowel movements snd vomiting. It calms and stops better, and quicker and are natural and gentle on the digestive system. For humans and fur babies alike.

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment! I do have an article about chia seeds as I love them and give them to my fur babies. However, the medications mentioned can also be used, I just wouldn’t use any of them long term or without speaking to a vet first. Thanks for reading 🙂

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