5 safe over the counter medications for vomiting & diarrhea in dogs

When your fur baby has stomach problems like diarrhea or vomiting it can be worrisome. This is even more so if you know your dog has an issue like pancreatitis or irritable bowel disease.

Many times when our dog has vomiting or diarrhea we want to ‘fix’ the situation immediately, but in some cases it’s best to allow the body to do what it does best. In most cases diarrhea or vomiting is used as the bodies way of flushing out toxins and you will not want to use the medications listed in this article. 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 case give your vet or poison control a call and discuss the next best steps with them.

Although, the remedies discussed below are for the most part safe, you will want to 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 home remedies for vomiting and diarrhea in dogs

Petpo-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)

What does it work for? Diarrhea

Petpto-Bismol is fairly safe to use in dogs, 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 causes diarrhea and is a mild antacid.

If you do decide to use this in your dogs, make sure to give no more than one or two doses before taking your dog into the veterinarian.

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

Dosage for dogs

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

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

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

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

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.

Dosage for dogs

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 proper dose. 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

Dramamine (Dimenhuydrinate)

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

Dramamine is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body. This medication works by inhibiting stimulation of the vestibular system of the brain which is responsible for detecting motion.  It is almost like a milder form of Benadryl. Dimenhydrinate is not approved for use in animals by the FDA but can be prescribed legally by your veterinarian.

Dosage for Dogs

  • 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.


While this isn’t a drug that prevents vomiting or diarrhea, Pedialyte comes in handy when you are concerned about our pups hydration after a severe episode of stomach upset. They work by replacing liquid and electrolytes that may have been lost during episodes of excessive fluid loss from your dogs body.

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

Side Effects

Side effects are seen as electrolyte imbalances

Dosage for Dogs

The general rule of thumb is

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

The Bottom Line

There are several 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 underusing your pet.

Is there anything you would add to this list?


4 Replies to “5 safe over the counter medications for vomiting & diarrhea 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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