Using Imodium for Dog Upset Stomach, is it Really the Right Thing to Do?
Imodium for dog upset stomach under the form of diarrhea may come handy, but despite being tempting to use as it's readily available, it's important to keep many considerations in mind before giving this medication. Also, known as loperamide, Imodium works for dog diarrhea by slowing down the motility of food through your dog's digestive tract.
When a dog or person has diarrhea, food transits very rapidly through the intestinal tract, a condition known as "hypermotility." When this happens, the rapid transit times prevent dogs from absorbing nutrients and water. For a good reason, dogs suffering from malabsorption are often prescribed this drug. Since it slows down motility, malnourished dogs have better chances for retaining important nutrients and recovering.
While all these perks may seem quite promising, as with all drugs there are certain cases where the use of Imodium for dog upset stomach and diarrhea may not prove beneficial as thought. It must be remembered that at times, dog diarrhea is there for a reason: getting something perceived as harmful immediately out of your dog's system! Call it nature's way of de-toxifying itself.
So if your dog ate something toxic or has bacteria or viruses in his body, your dog may need a specific treatment and Imodium should not be part of it. This is why you should always consult with your dog's vet before giving an over-the-counter medication like Imodium, you really don't know what's behind those liquid squirts and by slowing down your dog's intestinal motility, you may be promoting more absorption of something harmful with the end result of doing more harm than good.
On top of this, certain breeds can be quite sensitive to this drug and its use may put these dogs in danger. Affected breeds are those with the MDR1 gene mutation which causes them to be susceptible to certain drugs such as heartworm pills, anti-parasitic drugs containing ivermectin or milbemycin, certain anticancer drugs and Imodium. Breeds known for having the MDR1 mutation include collie-type dogs, Australian shepherds, sheepdogs and more. If you're not sure if your dog is affected, consult with your vet and have him tested for this gene mutation.
[adinserter block="4"]Last but not least, Imodium should be used with caution in dogs suffering from underlying medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, Addisons' disease, liver disease and kidney disease to name a few. Same goes with older dogs or dogs affected by debilitating conditions, another good reason why you should see your vet since you may not know for sure if your dog has any of these conditions.
Even in healthy dogs, Imodium may cause side effects. Your dog may end up with the opposite problem (constipation), bloating and depression of the central nervous system and certain medication such as antihistamines, barbiturates and MAOIs may interfere with Imodium.
Which Dogs Benefit from Imodium?
Dogs with diarrhea who may benefit from Imodium are those who were seen by a vet and the vet determined its use would be appropriate. The safest way to therefore give your dog Imodium is under your vet's guidance after determining the underlying cause. According to veterinarian Dawn Ruben, the dosage is one capsule (which contains 2mg) for 50 pound dogs. Do not give capsules to dogs under 20 pounds warns Dr Ruben, for the simple fact that dogs of this size can be easily overdosed. A more accurate method is giving small dogs the liquid form which can be dosed more carefully.
Does your dog have diarrhea? If you're certain it's stemming from a recent change in your dog's diet, your dog will likely not need Imodium but simply some supportive care to help the tummy recover. While it's always ideal to see the vet for any digestive problem, you can try a bland diet by following these dog diarrhea home remedies. Also, learn how to avoid future episodes of diarrhea associated with recent dietary changes, by following these easy tips: guide to switching dog foods.