Imodium for Dogs: A Cure to Your Dog’s Diarrhea?

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By: Rita Cunha Updated: September 2, 2020

imodium for dogs

Have you ever wondered about Imodium for dogs? It’s normal for pet owners to not know what to do when their dog gets a bad case of stomach problems. Even more so when there’s dog diarrhea involved. Should they make a trip to the vet, or is it something treatable at home? A lot of people think that the over-the-counter medications they take themselves are also safe for dogs.

But do vets recommend Imodium for dogs? Can dogs and cats take it to stop diarrhea and other stomach problems?

What Is Loperamide, Imodium for Dogs?

An upset stomach is never fun for the pup or the owner. The biggest signs that something is wrong with your pet’s gastrointestinal tract is abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. You should be even more worried if you find bloody diarrhea or chronic diarrhea.

There are several reasons why your dog might have gotten diarrhea. They could be related to a dog’s diet change, eating non-food items, intolerance to some foods, Crohn’s disease, parasites, inflammatory bowel disease, among others.

Dogs with diarrhea can be treated at home if there’s nothing too wrong with their intestinal tract. But when the soft stool passing has persisted after a few weeks or when there’s blood on them, veterinary medicine is most recommended. Diarrhea could have to do with a more serious problem, such as irritable bowel syndrome or to a foreign object lodged in the digestive tract.

What Is Loperamide?

Loperamide is the generical-given name to the drug sold under the name Imodium in most of the world. It’s a synthetic opioid and, just like morphine and oxycodone, its main side effect is that it causes constipation.

It’s this otherwise unwanted side effect that makes Loperamide a great drug to treat diarrhea. It does this by stopping intestinal motility (and thus stopping the flow of diarrhea). However, it does not relieve pain and is used with other medication at the same time.

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Immodium or Imodium? How Does This Anti-Diarrhea Medicine Work?

There are two spellings that you’ll find when reading information online about this anti-diarrhea drug: Immodium and Imodium. To clear things up, Imodium is the brand-registered name of the medication and what you’ll see written on the package at any pharmacy.

While Imodium is a brand name, Loperamide is the scientific name for this drug. But semantics aside, Imodium is a powerful diarrhea stopper in humans. It comes in tablets that are taken orally and within a few hours, there’s a drastic change in the amount of liquid stools that come out.

But how does it work? Being an opioid (despite it not having euphoric side effects), it increases the muscle tone of the intestine. The extra tension in the intestine means that more nutrients and water are being reabsorbed into the body. This means fewer runny stools and the end of the diarrhea episode!

A side effect that can be desirable is that the muscles around the anus also contract. Those with too lose muscles going through incontinence problems might benefit from this medication.

diarrhea in dogs

Is This Anti-Diarrhea Drug Safe for Dogs?

Some breeds of dogs do perfectly fine taking a safe dosage of Imodium. Others, on the other hand, have problems. Some of the negative side effects of taking Imodium for dogs is constipation, severe sedation, bloating, and pancreatitis.

Australian Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and other herding breeds cannot take Imodium. These dogs have a mutation called MDR-1 that affects the production of P-glycoprotein. Imodium is one of the P-GP substrates, which means the body of a dog with this mutation can’t break down Loperamide.

Dogs with other health conditions can’t take Imodium either. Kidney disease, liver disease, Addison’s disease, labored breathing, hypothyroidism, head injuries, among others are made worse by Imodium.

Young puppies and old dogs are also not supposed to take Imodium.

Imodium Toxicity in Dogs

Like all medication, Imodium for dogs can be toxic if given in too large of a dose. The oral median lethal doses of Imodium in dogs is 40mg/kg.

Note that even doses close to 40mg/kg can prove fatal, especially for at-risk dogs. Always stick to the veterinarian’s recommendations!

Imodium Ad: When Can I Use the Medicine for Diarrhea on My Dog?

Imodium is good at ending a diarrhea problem in most dogs. If your pup isn’t from a herding breed, doesn’t have the MDR-1 mutation, and doesn’t suffer from a pre-existing health problem, Imodium is safe for them.

You can give your dog the recommended dose of Imodium if they’ve been having diarrhea lately. However, you should not give it to dogs who have bloody diarrhea.

One thing to consider is that diarrhea is a dog’s way of fighting an illness. If the diarrhea is being caused by an infection, the runny stools are a way of ridding the body from the toxins. You definitely don’t want to stop your pup’s body from cleansing itself.

When in doubt, call your veterinarian and ask for advice.

Imodium Dosage for Dogs!

If your dog can take Imodium safely, the next question you need to ask is: how much do I give them?

The most common dosage of Imodium for dogs is 0.1 mg/kg, given two times a day. This means that a ten-pound dog can safely take 0.4 mg of Imodium. A large 60-pound dog, on the other hand, can take 2.4 of the drug.

Because small ones can only take a small dose, there’s Imodium for dogs available in liquid form. It has a concentration of around 0.2 mg/mL, which makes giving it to them easier.

Keep in mind that cats and dogs have different systems altogether! Cats cannot under any circumstances take Imodium.

An Anti-Diarrheal with Lots of Side-Effects!

how to stop diarrhea in dogs

Even if your dog isn’t sick or from a herding breed, they may still experience side-effects. While not too common, bloating and severe constipation continue to be the most common side-effects.

Also, keep in mind that Imodium for dogs might interact negatively with other drugs. If your dog is taking other opioids, Imodium isn’t safe for them. The list below includes some other drugs that increase the chances of negative side-effects of Imodium:

  • Amiodarone
  • Carvedilol
  • Erythromycin
  • Ketoconazole, itraconazole
  • Quinidine
  • Verapamil
  • Propranolol
  • Imipramine
  • Cyclosporine

Diarrhea in Dogs: Here’s a Great Alternative!

Some owners are skeptical of giving their furry friends Imodium. They’ve found several alternatives to Loperamide: both natural and man-made.

The most popular treatment of diarrhea (in dogs and humans) is a bland diet. Giving your dog a very bland and basic diet will help his body rid of whatever’s making him sick faster.

Another popular alternative to veterinary medicine is a 24-hour rice fast. For 24 hours straight, only feed your pup boiled white rice with some rice water. You should see their health start to improve overnight.

Pepto Bismol for Dogs

Another drug that’s safe for the majority of dogs if Pepto Bismol. It mostly contains bismuth subsalicylate, a substance that helps with acid-base imbalances. It cures any inflammation and irritation of the gastrointestinal tract lining. Pepto Bismol is regularly used to treat an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Since it’s safe for dogs, you can give your dog the safe recommended dose. Stick to one teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight. If your dog weighs 50 pounds, give them five teaspoons. If they weigh 20 pounds, only two teaspoons — you get the gist.

You should get a syringe without a needle and feed your dog Pepto directly to their mouth. It’s normal to see blackened feces because of Pepto, so don’t freak out.

Diarrhea Medicine: Overdosing on Immodium for Dogs

diarrhea medicine for dogs

Overdosing on Imodium is easier than you might think — especially for young dogs. Since they can only take a small amount, it’s not hard to measure it incorrectly and give too much.

On the other hand, some people forget that there is a safe dosage for dogs. They give their pup the whole tablet that’s only fit for human consumption, which can have a lot of serious problems.

Disclaimer: This post may contain references to products from one or more of our partnered sites, Honest Paws and Vets Preferred. However, CertaPet content is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek veterinary advice for your own situation. For more on our terms of use, visit this page

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