Can You Give a Dog an Antacid Tablet Safely?

Can You Give a Dog an Antacid

Just like humans, dogs can get heartburn and indigestion. Acid reflux and indigestion in dogs is very common due tp the way in which they eat; as quickly as possible in most cases! If your dog effectively inhales food like mine does, it is a recipe for indigestion, so you might have wondered whether it’s safe to give a dog antacid to help alleviate their discomfort.

Can you give a dog an antacid? Whilst you can give a dog an antacid it’s not really recommended given that there are canine-specific antacid medicines that vets can prescribe. There are more effective ways of helping to relieve indigestion in a dog safely without using human antacids.

From what I’ve found online, there are some toxic compounds in certain antacids, so you need to take professional advice before giving your dog this medicine.

Can you give a dog an antacid tablet?

The gagging, choking, retching, bad breath and bile vomit – all symptoms of indigestion in dogs that are extremely unpleasant on all counts. When this happens, you may be tempted to grab the nearest antacid tablets, crush them up and give them to your dog to soothe their woes.

But just how safe is this?

The truth is, you won’t kill or poison your dog by giving them antacid tablets. In fact, they could get some temporary relief from it.

Can You Give a Dog an Antacid tablet
Many vets and owners say it’s ok to give a dog an antacid tablet.

But, with any medicine intended for human consumption, however, you need to be responsible when giving antacid to your dog. Dosage, method, and desired effects are everything.

Above all, there are far more effective ways of soothing upset stomach in dogs. So, let’s dive into the bile and face it head-on.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian. It is vital that you verify all information with your trusted veterinarian before taking action.

How to use antacid safely with your dog

I have seen some vets saying that they will treat dogs with antacid. You can assume from that that you can use antacid form your bathroom cabinet to help your dog with heartburn, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Admittedly, it’s not something I would do, but will just share that information I found with you here today.

You can give dogs antacid tablets, as it’s said to offer a temporary relief and can be mildly effective. Here is what you need to know from what I’ve researched online.

What antacid is safe for dogs?

You must consult your veterinarian if you are planning to give your dog human indigestion tablets. There are some toxic compounds that may be included that you need to be aware of.

The most common ingredient in human indigestion medicines is calcium carbonate. This is what effectively neutralizes the acid in your digestive tract to soothe heartburn.

Calcium carbonate is safe for dogs to consume but in the correct doses. We will discuss this more in detail next.

Back to those toxic compounds. Why would we include toxic chemicals in our heartburn medicines?

Well, to make them taste better! A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down as they say. But artificial sweeteners can be dangerous. The oh-so-common Xylitol can actually be fatal to dogs, it is so toxic.

Read the label thoroughly and consult with your vet as to what is safe for your dog to consume.

As for brands, I have heard that Tums can be ok, as it is so common but Pepto Bismol and Imodium can also be safe to give your dog depending on the situation. These two aren’t calcium carbonate-based and are mainly used to solve diarrhea rather than acid reflux.

I have also read reports of people giving their dog Rolaids.

Again, always consult your vet first.

How much antacid should you let your dog have?

Dosage is everything when medically caring for your pet. Calcium carbonate is not particularly strong but it is still important you follow the guidelines given to you by your vet.

Dr. Debra Primovich, DVM, from Pet Place has the following guidelines:

  • Small dogs can receive up to 500 mg,
  • Medium-sized dogs can receive 750 to 1000 mg
  • Larger dogs can receive up to 2,000 mg.
  • The dose is given orally every 4 hours as needed.
  • It is advisable to give calcium carbonate with food

Disclaimer: It is important to note that these figures are not to replace the sound advice given by your personal, professional veterinarian who knows your dog’s unique circumstances.

What happens when you give a dog an antacid?

Beyond the nasty toxic chemicals that could harm or kill your dog, there are other side effects and warnings you should be aware of. Here’s what could happen to your dog in extreme circumstances.

Constipation

Calcium carbonate is a binding agent and can cause constipation in your dog. As can anti-diarrhea medications like Pepto-Bismol and Imodium if used in too high a dosage or in the wrong situation.

Over calcification

What happens to us humans when we have too much calcium in our system?

Yep, you guessed it – kidney stones, pancreatitis, and kidney disease. This can all happen in your dog too if regularly given calcium carbonate-based medications.

Allergic reactions

If the medication you give has some kind of dye in it, your dog could be allergic without you knowing. Allergic reactions can be mild or severe.

There can be itching, wheezing, swelling, sneezing, vomiting, and even diarrhea.

Mixing with other medications

It is never advisable to give your dog more medications if they are already on other medicines. You don’t know how these medicines may interact.

Your vet will know best.

Safer alternatives to giving your dog an antacid

Though, yes, antacid is technically safe to give your dog, I hope the long list of potential complications is enough to steer you away from doing this without proper consultation.

There are some home remedies that vets do recommend that don’t have too many ill-effects. Here are two I can personally attest to treating mild cases of indigestion.

1. Hydrating food

Dry kibble may be better for your dog’s teeth but it can cause indigestion if your dog ingests it too quickly.

As I mentioned, my retriever literally breathes in her kibble and it’s gone! This causes so much heartburn and whining.

So hydrating food can help the food be digested a little easier. “Hydrating food” sounds very clinical but here are a few ways to do this (in order of least appealing to most appealing):

  1. Mixing water in with the dry kibble to create a “cereal”.
  2. Mixing onion and garlic free gravy with the dry kibble.
  3. Mixing onion and garlic free broth with the dry kibble.
  4. Swapping the dry kibble with more moist foods like plain chicken, broccoli, and rice for one meal.

In my experience, this has been effective in solving my dog’s upset stomach.

2. Fasting

Fasting for 12-24hours is a very common course of action advised by vets. It gives your dog’s digestive system a chance to rest and reset essentially.

You have to be careful with fasting puppies because they need to eat frequently in often. Always consult your vet to be doubly sure it is safe for your dog or puppy to fast.

3. Massage

This is purely anecdotal, and I really must stress this! Some dog owners swear by it and some think it is complete nonsense.

For me and my dog though, a gentle tummy tub has always helped soothe the symptoms of acid reflux, calming my dog’s stomach and easing her pain.

The key term here is gentle. Your dog will love this soothing massage as they digest their food. I find that as my dog gets older, indigestion has become more common for her, so we have just gotten into the practice of having an evening massage to soothe both of us.

What to do if your dog is seriously ill?

If your dog is extremely distressed, or the medication or home remedies are not working, contact your veterinarian for a more thorough check-up.

Acid reflux is uncomfortable, and your vet may have stronger medicines to solve it.

The symptoms of acid reflux are also found in other more serious ailments, so it is always best to be safe than sorry if the severity of your dog’s symptoms is increasing.

Conclusion

Have you hung out with a dog with acid-reflux before? Not fun I can tell you!

Whilst most owners will be able to give their dog antacid tablets, I personally don’t think it’s worth the risk as there could always be a complication.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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