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Health & Wellness

Can I give my dog Imodium?

Not without consulting your vet first

As a pet parent, it’s hard seeing your dog experience diarrhea. Immediately questions start popping up in your head: Was it something they ate? Could there be a more serious issue going on? How can I help them feel better?

If only your dog could tell you (in words) what’s causing the problem — but we know that’s not stopping you from seeking solutions as soon as possible. 

Given that Imodium is a common over-the-counter drug that people can use to treat stomach issues, it’s only natural to wonder if you can give your dog Imodium, too. Here’s what you need to know before grabbing the Imodium bottle from the medicine cabinet. 

What is Imodium? 

Imodium is an over-the-counter drug for people that’s designed to calm a problematic stomach. It’s typically used to treat diarrhea — especially sudden bouts of diarrhea often associated with food poisoning or drinking contaminated water.

“Imodium is a synthetic opioid used to treat certain types of diarrhea by inducing constipation,” Dr. Antje Joslin, DVM, a veterinarian for Dogtopia, says. 

The important thing to remember is that this is a drug intended for humans, so giving it to other animals, like dogs, needs to be approached with care and with vet supervision. You can’t simply dose a dog the same way you’d dose yourself.

Is Imodium safe for dogs? 

“The best way to know if a drug is appropriate for your dog is to consult your veterinarian,” Dr. Joslin emphasizes. That said, he admits that Imodium is sometimes given to canine patients. “It’s occasionally used in dogs with certain types of diarrhea but can also have very serious side effects if given inappropriately.” 

And that’s the trick, right? Without being seen by your vet, it’s hard to know if your dog has one of the “certain types of diarrhea” where Imodium could be an appropriate treatment. This is exactly why talking to your vet is so important. Also, your vet has a strong understanding of your pup’s medical history and can pair that knowledge with general information about your dog’s breed, size, weight and age to determine what’s safe. What works for one dog may not be good for another.

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Are there other treatment options for dog diarrhea? 

If your dog has mild diarrhea, you may not need to make an immediate run to the vet’s office. “Mild, occasional diarrhea in an adult, otherwise healthy dog that resolves within a day or two can be monitored at home,” Dr. Joslin says. “Diarrhea along with vomiting, lethargy, bloody stool or pain, or mild diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, should be seen by a vet.” 

If you’ve just noticed your pet’s diarrhea symptom and you’re going to keep an eye on it, go ahead and call your vet to give them a head’s up and to ask about home-based treatments (which may, in fact, include Imodium … you just don’t want to make that decision on your own without a quick consult). “If your dog has diarrhea, you can try a bland diet or probiotics,” Dr. Joslin says. 

How much Imodium can I give my dog? 

How much Imodium, or what dosage of Imodium, is safe for your dog depends on a number of independent factors. For instance, Dr. Joslin says certain types of herding dogs have genes that make them particularly sensitive to certain medications — so assuming every dog can have the same dosage of Imodium based on kilograms or pounds is simply untrue.

Not to mention, the cause of your dog’s diarrhea may make Imodium use inadvisable. “There are many things that can cause intestinal issues in dogs. These include dietary indiscretion, foreign body ingestions, parasites, infections, diet changes, medications, illness, stress and food allergies or intolerances,” Dr. Joslin says. And just think about it — if your dog is experiencing diarrhea due to the ingestion of a foreign body, you probably don’t want to induce constipation, right? Offering Imodium to your dog without considering the cause of the problem could end up causing more harm than good. 

Likewise, very young puppies or dogs with medical conditions may not be able to take Imodium at all. When you’re trying to help your dog feel better, it’s always best to reach out to your vet for guidance. “Check with your veterinarian whenever you give your pet any medication, whether it’s over the counter or prescription,” Dr. Joslin says. “With new, online or televet services, help is usually close by if you can’t get a hold of your [regular] veterinarian.” 

FAQ

Can I give my dog Imodium pills?

While in some cases, Imodium might be prescribed to help a dog’s diarrhea, doing so without a veterinarian’s supervision and approval could cause more harm than good. Check with your vet. 

Can I give my dog Imodium for vomiting?

Imodium is an over-the-counter drug for people intended to treat certain types of diarrhea, not vomiting. It’s ill-advised to give your dog Imodium for vomiting. 

Does Imodium work for dogs? 

In some cases, with a vet’s go-ahead, Imodium can work for helping diarrhea in dogs. But unless you know the cause and the correct dosage of Imodium for your dog, it’s best not to self-treat your pet at home. 

Photo by Maria Klokow on Unsplash

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