Pet Medication 101: Pepto-Bismol

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Pet Medication 101: Pepto-Bismol

It’s important to understand a medication’s uses and side effects before giving it to your pet. This medication info sheet is meant to give you a good understanding of what Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) is used for, how it works, and potential side effects in cats and dogs. Always consult a veterinarian before giving your pet any medication.

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1. Drug Name:

Bismuth subsalicylate

2. Brand Names:

Pepto-Bismol, Bismatrol, Bismukote, Bismupaste, Corrective, Gastrocote, Kaopectate, Mismusol

3. How Dispensed:

Over the counter

4. Forms:

262mg tablets, 262mg oral chewables, and oral liquid (1050mg/10mL, 527mg/30mL, 525mg/30mL, 525mg/15mL, 262mg/15mL)

5. Drug Type/Class:


6. Uses in Dogs and Cats:

Diarrhea, upset stomach, maldigestion, and stomach infections caused by Helicobacter bacteria. Not safe for use in cats.

7. How it Works:

The exact mechanism of action is not fully understood. The bismuth interacts with acidic components in the stomach to form bismuth salts, which prevent bacteria from binding and growing on the mucosal cells of the stomach.

This reduces gastrointestinal inflammation and promotes the healing of pre-existing stomach ulcers. The salicylate limits the formation of prostaglandin, which is a hormone-like substance that promotes inflammation and fluid secretion.

8. Side Effects and/or Signs of Overdose:

Common side effects include discolored stools (gray-black or green-black) and constipation. Signs of overdose may include weakness, depression, anxiety, problems with balance, confusion, or tremors.

9. Drug Interactions:

Aspirin, ACE inhibitors, loop diuretics, NSAIDs, and Tetracycline

10. Cautionary Statements:

  • Never give your pet Pepto-Bismol without the approval of your veterinarian.
  • This drug is not considered safe for use in cats.
  • Use cautiously in pets with bleeding disorders.
  • Use cautiously in pets who are pregnant or nursing.
  • Do not give this medication within 2 hours of other medications.
  • Although Pepto-Bismol side effects usually resolve after 24 hours, side effects may persist longer in patients with liver or kidney disease.
  • Do not use in pets that have stomach or intestinal ulcers.
  • Do not use in pets that are allergic to NSAIDs or aspirin.
  • Use in young or debilitated animals is not recommended as constipation and fecal impaction can occur.
  • May interact with laboratory tests such as urine glucose or ketones.
  • May interfere with radiographs (x-rays).

Read more:

Medication Info Sheet: Kaopectate

Vomiting and Diarrhea in Dogs

Vomiting and Diarrhea in Cats

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