Chewing a tablet or two of Tums sure provides fast relief whenever we have heartburn, an upset stomach, or acid reflux.
And since tummy problems are common among dogs (given their nasty habit of eating anything and everything), dog owners wonder – can dogs eat Tums? Will Tums hurt my dog, or are Tums safe for dogs?
Tums may be the number one physician-recommended antacid product in the US, but it doesn’t work for all types of species. If you want to know if giving your furry friend Tums is worth it, read on.
Dog Food Guide is here to give you everything you need to know about Tums and its effects on your dog’s health (good and bad), and more.
Tums: What Is It & What Is It Used For?
Tums is an over-the-counter medication for heartburn that has been around since 1930. It is chewed and swallowed to help neutralize stomach acid. It’s gluten-free, Kosher certified, and vegan. Some variations are also sugar-free.
Its active ingredient is calcium carbonate. This chemical compound, which is commonly found in rocks (like limestone), reduces excessive stomach acid and is used to provide fast relief for upset stomach and other stomach issues like:
Acid reflux. Also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), this digestive system disorder happens when stomach acids and other digestive liquids rise from the stomach and passes through the esophageal sphincter. This can be caused by the excessive production of stomach acid, weakness in the sphincter, and abnormal blood-calcium levels.
Its symptoms include stomach pain, disinterest in food, weight loss, and regurgitation. Most of the time, a bitter or sour taste accompanies the pain. This condition is commonly caused by the following:
- consuming foods with too much fat
- chronic vomiting
- hiatal hernia
Heartburn. Unlike acid reflux, heartburn is not a disease. It’s a symptom often associated with acid reflux. It is usually accompanied by coughing foamy, bile-like yellow fluid, signs of discomfort, and a burning sensation in the throat or chest.
Indigestion. This refers to the bloated feeling you get in the upper gut during or right after eating. This type of GI distress is often brought about by stomach acid buildup caused by overeating, ingesting strange food, or food sensitivities.
Can Dogs Eat Tums? Are Tums Safe For Dogs?
Wondering if you can give your dog Tums? The short answer is IT DEPENDS.
Giving your canine companion Tums when it’s having a mild stomach upset might offer temporary relief, making this antacid safe for dogs. But just like other over-the-counter medications, it’s best to give this after getting veterinary approval.
At the end of the day, this chalky tablet is specially formulated for humans. Yes, this is the best antacid product in the human realm. Unfortunately, it’s not the most effective treatment for an upset stomach in the canine world.
What Is Tums Used For In Dogs?
Although formulated for humans, Tums, with its calcium carbonate content and acid-neutralizing properties, can still benefit dogs in some cases. In fact, Tums is, at times, used or prescribed by some vets to treat the following conditions:
Mild Stomach Ailments
Compared to humans, a dog’s stomach is smaller. This lets dogs digest things at a faster rate than humans. When it comes to Tums, you can expect this to pass through your dog’s system rapidly.
As such, Tums can be used to treat mild discomfort caused by upset stomachs. But given the rate dogs digest this medication, dogs experience temporary relief – much shorter than that of humans.
A life-threatening medical condition experienced by lactating dogs, eclampsia is caused by a drop in calcium levels in the dog’s blood. This often leads to restlessness, panting, muscle spasms, convulsions, and even death.
To combat this, vets may ask you to give your dog calcium supplements (think Tums). With calcium carbonate as its active ingredient, these chewable antacids include 40% elemental calcium – the highest amount found in all forms of calcium.
Besides using this chewable antacid product as a calcium supplement for dogs with low calcium levels, this oral calcium carbonate antacid can also act as a phosphate binder.
Since kidney failure may result in high phosphorus levels, vets might suggest giving your dog Tums to eliminate that excess phosphorus in your dog’s body. The calcium carbonate helps remove phosphorus by binding it to the food your dog eats. This is, later on, excreted through your dog’s stool.
Why Is Tums Bad For Dogs?
While giving Tums to dogs may have its benefits, this calcium salt is best given after seeking expert veterinary advice. This is because the risks often outweigh the pros. This is especially true if your dog suffers from any medical conditions.
And since any responsible dog owner will want to know all the side effects to avoid any unforeseen visits to the vet, here’s a quick rundown of all of the reasons why Tums can be bad for your dogs:
May Cause Stomach Issues
Yes, you’ve read it right. While Tums is known for providing relief for various tummy problems, giving your dog incorrect doses of Tums can do the exact opposite. Dogs may experience gas, constipation, and loose stools or diarrhea after taking Tums.
Can Trigger An Allergic Reaction
Since Tums tablets need to look enticing, most of them contain artificial coloring and flavors. This can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive dogs.
In addition, some Tums products contain dairy. You might want to keep this away from your dog if your dog is lactose intolerant.
Tums May Contain Toxic Ingredients
Potentially harmful ingredients like artificial sweeteners are usually part of Tums’ ingredients list. As such, carefully checking the labels is a must.
Artificial sweeteners like xylitol may be harmless to humans, but these man-made sweeteners are toxic to dogs. Xylitol poisoning is characterized by a sudden drop in the dog’s blood sugar levels. Its symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and seizures.
Regular Exposure Can Worsen Your Dogs’ Medical Conditions
If your dog suffers from chronic stomach issues, your dog is better off being looked at by a vet to address the real problem instead of taking Tums regularly.
Since Tums contain high amounts of calcium, frequent exposure to this medication can lead to excessive calcium in your dog’s blood. This often results in various health problems, including urinary stones and pancreatitis.
Dogs with kidney disease are also at risk. Despite being used to treat kidney failure in dogs, antacids may make kidney disease worse in certain situations. This is why Tums should only be given to dogs after getting veterinary approval.
May Interfere With Other Medications
Fur parents with dogs under prescription medications may want to think twice and seek veterinary guidance before giving their dogs antacid products. Antacids (Tums included) may interact poorly with other medications, including certain phosphate binders and antibiotics.
Can Cause Bone And Cartilage Development Problems
If you’re thinking of giving your puppies Tums, DON’T! Tums contain too much calcium, and sharing this with your puppies can adversely affect their bone and cartilage development.
Should you decide to administer this to your pup, a vet’s permission is necessary. The same goes for pregnant or nursing dogs. Even though this product is OB/GYN recommended, Tums may still have adverse effects on pregnant or nursing dogs and is not considered safe given all its potential dangers.
How Much Tums Can You Give Your Dog?
Like any other type of medication, the correct dosage should be given to your dogs to maximize the drug’s benefits and minimize the risks. Proper dosage will depend on various factors. This includes the strength of the formula and your dog’s body weight.
Below you’ll find the dosage PER DAY typically used for dogs. However, if you’re planning to give your dog Tums, you’d want to know the proper dosage or the exact amount to give your dog. To do this, seeking the help of an expert who can provide veterinary advice is highly recommended.
Small dogs: 1250 mg per day
Medium dogs: 2 to 4 grams per day
Large dogs: 4 to 6 grams per day
Extra-large dogs: 6-10 grams per day
My Dog Ate Tums! What To Do?
What should you do if your dog somehow manages to get its paws in your Tums stash?
A dog that eats quite a few tablets of Tums may still feel fine after. However, some may experience stomach pain or constipation.
So, if your dog eats a few tablets, you might want to wait it out a bit (say 12-24 hours). If your dog looks A-okay, then there’s no need to hit the panic button. On the one hand, you may want to contact your vet right away if your dog starts to exhibit any adverse reactions, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weakness.
Alternative Treatments For Stomach Discomfort In Dogs
Since Tums only provides short-term relief, dogs suffering from acid reflux and other tummy problems will do better with other treatments. Here are three alternative treatments you might want to try to help soothe your dog’s upset stomach:
Fasting. If your dog’s tummy is acting up because it wants to get rid of something your dog ate, letting it take a breather might help bring it back to normal. However, this isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Denying your dog its lunch or dinner can have repercussions since some dogs (think smaller breeds or those with medical conditions) can’t easily put up with this compared to others. So, before starving your dog, make sure to get your vet’s recommendation first.
Diet Change. Since tummy aches are often caused by something in your dog’s diet, altering it for a couple of days might help.
Switching to an easy-to-digest bland diet can help your dog’s messed-up stomach relax. Including foods like pureed pumpkin in your dog’s diet may also help improve your dog’s digestion and firm up their stools.
Besides changing your dog’s regular diet, it’s also important to keep them hydrated during the whole process. Dogs who cannot tolerate water can be given ice cubes or ice chips.
In addition, giving smaller portions is also recommended. Since your dog’s tummies need a break, giving them the usual amount of food won’t do any good. A few spoonfuls are often enough.
Other Medications. Besides Tums, other dog-friendly and vet-approved antacids exist. This includes Famotidine and Omeprazole. However, same with Tums, you’d still want to get your vet’s go signal and dosage recommendation before administering this to your dog.
Food For Thought
Dogs may experience the same medical problems we do, but this does not mean that the treatments that work for us will work the same way on our dear pets. Since dogs’ bodies are hardwired differently, what’s good for humans can, at times, be harmful (or even deadly) to our canine companions.
What about Tums? Can I give my dog Tums? Will Tums hurt my dog?
Many sites will tell you that Tums is safe for dogs, and they’re right. Giving your dog a few tablets will often leave your dog unharmed. However, it’s best to consult your local vet before taking matters into your own hands.
So, if you’re planning to give your dog a tablet of Tums to treat your dog’s heartburn, you might want to take extra caution. Despite its ability to offer relief, its effects are often short-lived and do not address the main problem. In some situations, giving your dogs Tums may even make matters worst.
We know that, as fur parents, you just want to keep your pets healthy. And seeing your pets in pain can be heartbreaking. However, Tums is not the most effective treatment for tummy troubles for dogs.
If your dog only has mild indigestion, you might want to consider waiting this out a bit. After all, most minor stomach problems are fixed within 24 hours without antacids or other drugs. On the other hand, if your dog regularly suffers from acid reflux and the like, your dog is better off getting checked by a vet.