Over-the-counter antacids like Tums are frequently used to alleviate stomach and bowel problems in people. A pharmacist named James Howe came up with the idea for them in 1928.
He came up with Tums to help his wife with her heartburn and it became a hit. Since their introduction in 1930, Tums have become a popular remedy for acid reflux around the world.
If your dog has an upset stomach, you may be wondering if Tums are safe for them to consume.
In this article, we’ll discuss the safety of Tums for dogs, whether or not indigestion can be treated with Tums, and more. Tums contain calcium carbonate.
Can I Give My Dog Tums?
In a nutshell, the answer is “yes,” meaning that tums are fine to give to your dog. But the more pressing issue is whether you should.
Dogs given therapeutic doses of calcium carbonate for a brief period of time typically experience few if any adverse effects.
However, excessive or prolonged administration of calcium carbonate to a dog can lead to elevated blood calcium levels and other mineral imbalances.
First and foremost, the calcium carbonate in Tums can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb (and benefit from) other medications.
If your dog is taking any other medications, including antibiotics, antacids, or iron supplements, you should talk to your vet before giving Tums.
Never give your dog a human over-the-counter medication without first consulting your vet.
What Are Tums?
Calcium carbonate, the main component of Tums, is a common mineral that can be mined in almost any country. Chalk, marble, and limestone are all excellent sources of calcium carbonate. Baking powder and certain types of toothpaste also contain calcium carbonate.
Calcium carbonate is most commonly used to treat occasional cases of heartburn, acid reflux, and upset stomach in humans. It is true that calcium carbonate is most commonly used as an antacid, but this does not negate its potential use in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in humans.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus. When stomach acid comes in contact with the esophageal lining, the result is heartburn.
Chewing and swallowing calcium carbonate quickly neutralizes esophageal acid, alleviating heartburn symptoms.
Can Tums Help Dogs?
Calcium carbonate is recommended for dogs with a variety of health issues, including:
Weak in calcium. Fetal and lactating dogs, as well as dogs with underactive parathyroid glands, are at increased risk for developing hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium levels.
Ailments of the kidneys. Too much phosphate in the blood can be a symptom of kidney disease in dogs. Calcium carbonate reduces blood phosphorus levels by binding to phosphate in the digestive tract and blocking its absorption.
Can Tums Be Toxic to Dogs?
Dogs may ingest too many Tums if they find a bottle of them because of their pleasant flavor. If your dog accidentally ingests too many Tums, you should seek immediate medical attention by contacting your vet, an emergency pet hospital, or the Pet Poison Hotline.
Overdosing on Tums probably won’t kill you, but it can make you sick to your stomach, lose electrolytes, have diarrhea, or make you constipated.
Drooling, tremors, difficulty breathing, acting drunk or uncoordinated, and collapse are all possible side effects of Tums toxicity in dogs.
How Is Tums Bad For Dogs?
When given on a regular basis, dogs may experience mild side effects from Tums, but these effects are usually milder when given less frequently.
Although you may be hoping for a bowel movement improvement, the drug’s ingredients may actually bring about the opposite effect—loose stools or constipation. You should talk to your vet before giving it to your dog for this and other reasons.
Some other potential danger zones for dogs and Tums are listed below.
- Chemicals that are poisonous. Before giving any medicine to your dog, always check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain any ingredients that could be harmful. Dogs should not ingest artificial sweeteners such as xylitol.
- Allergies. It’s possible that the ingredients or the artificial dyes used to color Tums could cause an allergic reaction in some dogs.
- Constant use. Repeated exposure can cause a variety of health problems in dogs, including kidney disease, urinary stones, and pancreatitis. Chronic stomach problems require alternative treatment, and if your dog needs calcium supplements, there are safer alternatives.
- Puppies. Excessive calcium intake has been linked to issues in bone and cartilage formation. You must get your vet’s okay before giving this medication to your puppy.
- Mother dogs and nursing pups. Medications for these dogs should almost never be given without first consulting a vet.
- Alternative pharmaceuticals. Tums, like nearly all medications, can have negative interactions with other medications your dog is taking.
- Illnesses and injuries that require medical attention. In some cases, such as with kidney disease, tums can make the problem even worse. To find out what over-the-counter drugs are appropriate for your dog’s condition, consult your veterinarian.
Do not hesitate to contact your vet if you discover that your dog has consumed an unusually large quantity of Tums while you were out of the room. Even if your dog ingests a large number of tablets, they probably won’t overdose or become extremely ill; at most, they’ll experience some constipation and stomach distress.
Precautions When Giving Tums to Dogs
When given for short periods of time, Tums can help a dog with an upset stomach or with the aforementioned medical conditions. However, they should not be given on a regular basis without veterinary supervision. However, there are some safety considerations to keep in mind before administering Tums to your dog:
Learn to decipher the packaging. Tums were developed for people, not canines. Xylitol, which is found in some sugar-free calcium carbonate products, is highly toxic to dogs. Tums uses dextrose, a safe sugar substitute, but xylitol, which can cause stomach irritation, is not in the product.
Take allergy symptoms seriously. There is a possibility that some canines will have an adverse reaction to the food dyes used to color the Tums. If you see the letters ‘FD&C’ on the ingredient list, that means the product contains food dyes and you shouldn’t feed them to your dog. Dogs should only be given white Tums.
Puppies should not be given Tums. Tums should not be given to growing puppies or young dogs. This can take up to two years in large and giant breeds.
Tums, which contains calcium carbonate, may have an adverse effect on a growing dog’s skeleton by lowering blood calcium levels.
Take Tums as needed, but not for long periods of time. Long-term use of Tums in dogs is not recommended because it can cause a mineral imbalance in the dog’s body.
Tums should only be given to a dog for a maximum of two days if the dog is otherwise healthy and not taking any other medications.
Consult a vet. Before giving your dog Tums, you should always check with your vet.
Giving a dog Tums is not a replacement for taking it to the vet, but it may help alleviate some of its discomfort until you can make an appointment.
Giving a dog Tums won’t fix their stomach issues permanently, and it could hide signs of something more serious that needs a vet’s attention.
How Much Tums Can I Give My Dog?
Another reason why you should consult your vet before giving your dog Tums is that the correct dosage varies greatly depending on the drug’s strength, the formula, and your dog’s weight.
This is just a general recommendation for administering the drug to dogs and shouldn’t be used in place of your vet’s specific instructions.
The following are the typical dosages:
- One thousand two hundred fifty milligrams, spread out over a period of 24
- Two to four milligrams per day for medium-sized dogs.
- For the big dogs: 4 to 6 grams per 24 hours
- For large breed dogs, the daily dosage is 6-10 grams.
Tums Alternatives: How to Treat Dog Digestive Problems
Vomiting, diarrhea, low energy, weight loss, and constipation are all symptoms of a problem with your dog’s digestive system.
If your dog suffers from acid reflux or an upset stomach, you should look for alternatives to giving him or her Tums because of the drug’s lackluster effectiveness.
The following are some alternatives to giving your dog Tums that may help ease his discomfort:
Including a snack before bed is a good idea. Waiting too long between meals can give your dog a sour stomach, which may manifest as morning vomiting. As a last resort, you can try tucking them into bed with a high-protein snack.
Reduce your intake and see if that helps. Avoid feeding your dog for 6-8 hours (except in toy breeds, puppies, or diabetic dogs) if they suddenly become ill with mild vomiting and/or diarrhea after eating.
Then, for several days in a row, feed them small, bland meals every few hours on the hour. This includes boiled white chicken, lean ground meat, low-fat cottage cheese, rice, and potatoes. Many canines will get better without any problems.
You should contact your vet if your dog continues to vomit for more than a day, if it refuses to eat after being offered food for more than a day, if the quality of its stools does not improve, or if it is otherwise acting sick.
If you want to try something different, consult your vet. You can ask your vet about proton pump inhibitors or H2-blockers like cimetidine to help with acidity.
Talk to your vet if your dog is experiencing tummy troubles. They will be able to diagnose your dog’s issue and provide you with treatment options that are both safe and effective.
What Safer Alternatives Can I Give My Dog, Instead?
Never give your dog antacids or Tums if he or she is experiencing severe diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach pain before consulting a vet.
However, veterinarians often recommend a fasting period for dogs with mild stomach issues, allowing the digestive system to work normally again. If that doesn’t work, they might recommend trying a diet that’s easier to digest or introducing foods one at a time in smaller portions.
When veterinarians do recommend medication for mild gastrointestinal issues, they typically recommend something other than Tums. They might suggest taking an antacid like Pepto or Imodium instead. Please consult your vet before giving your dog any medication, including those found in pet stores.
There are foods that can aid in digestion and help your dog have more solid stools. If your dog is experiencing mild stomach upset, try giving them some pureed pumpkin.
It’s possible that your dog’s digestive problems are related to their diet, or they could be a sign of a more serious health problem. Concerning symptoms should be discussed with your veterinarian.