Can Dogs Have Tums?

If your dog is struggling with an upset stomach, you may wonder, “can I give my dog tums?” Tums can bring us instant relief when we are experiencing heartburn and indigestion, leading us to wonder if it offers the same benefit to our furry friends. So does it target the same issues in dogs as it does in humans?

In this article we will discuss the details of giving Tums to dogs, and if this supplement can truly help your canine companion.

Before getting started, it is important to remember that Tums should always be approved by your veterinarian before use. Tums can worsen some medical conditions in dogs, and can interfere with some prescription medications as well. We always suggest speaking with your veterinarian before offering any over the counter medications to your dog.

What Are Tums?

Can Dogs Have Tums

Before we discuss giving your dog Tums, it is best to understand what Tums are and how they work. Tums are labeled as an antacid that is used in relieving symptoms of heartburn, acid indigestion, upset stomachs, and more. Tums help to neutralize the acid in a person’s esophagus or stomach, relieving the pain that comes along with it.

The main ingredient in tums is calcium carbonate, which works in an impressive way to neutralize acid on the spot. The calcium carbonate binds to the hydrogen in the stomach acid, which instantly eliminates the free floating acid in the area. Not only does it eliminate the presence of acid, but it also frees up the remaining calcium ions and helps them absorb into the body. This is why Tums may also be used in conditions involving calcium deficiency as well.

Are Tums Effective For Dogs With Upset Stomachs?

The simple answer to this question is yes, Tums CAN be effective for dogs with an upset stomach. Because Tums reduce the presence of excessive stomach acid, they can help some dogs with the presence of indigestion and stomach discomfort. However, our canine friends digest medications at a different rate then we do, meaning the relief from Tums would be extremely short acting. While it can offer some comfort in certain situations, it is not the most effective option for dogs.

If a dog is struggling with gastrointestinal upset or indigestion, there are other over the counter medications that your veterinarian might suggest over Tums. The most common OTC antacids that work well in dogs are omeprazole and famotidine. While these medications are safe for use in dogs, you should always get a recommended dose from your veterinarian.

Can Your Dog Have Tums
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Why Would You Give A Dog Tums?

Though Tums may not be the most effective option for stomach pain relief in dogs, it does not mean that Tums are not useful in some canine health situations. This simple antacid can be used to combat a couple scary situations in our furry friends, both of which may surprise you. 

Eclampsia (hypocalcemia)

Some veterinarians use Tums to combat eclampsia in lactating mothers. Eclampsia, or hypocalcemia, is a deadly drop in calcium in nursing canine mothers. The sudden drop of calcium in the blood is a true medical emergency, as it will often result in death if it is not addressed as soon as possible. The low levels of calcium will cause a dog to tremor and seize, eventually leading to death if their seizures continue without intervention. 

Eclampsia in dogs will often be treated with anti-seizure medication, as well as the use of IV calcium supplementation. Many veterinarians will also send dogs home with a suggested dose of Tums, as the main ingredient in Tums is calcium carbonate. This supplementation can be enough to restore eclampsia mothers to their normal state, and hopefully prevent further complications.

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure in dogs can lead to high levels of phosphorus within the body in some cases. When this occurs, a dog will often be prescribed phosphorus binders to help eliminate some of the problem. Though there are trusted medications that vets typically prescribe, Tums can be used in cases involving financial constraint. The calcium carbonate in Tums will bind to the phosphorus in the food a dog eats, removing the phosphorus through the bowel when they pass stool. This can in turn help to prevent extra phosphorus from being absorbed into the body.  

However, Tums can be a bit risky in these situations. Tums are not as reliable as other prescription medications, and require a much larger amount to be effective. You also run into another major risk in offering calcium to dogs with kidney disease, as this can cause hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood). Because of these possible complications, Tums are often the last line of defense in dogs with elevated phosphorus levels.

Can Tums Be Bad For Dogs?

While we tend to think of Tums as a safe antacid option, they can be dangerous to our furry friends in certain situations. To help you better understand the use of Tums in dogs, let’s discuss some of the potential dangers below.

  1. Tums can be dangerous if they contain an artificial sweetener like xylitol. Xylitol can lead to a life threatening drop in a dog’s blood sugar, causing a true medical emergency that needs immediate veterinary attention. Many antacids have a sweet coating to make them more tasty for human use, making it so important to search the label for any toxic ingredients for dogs. 
  2. Tums can cause serious complications if they are used on a regular basis in our pups. Repeated use of tums can lead to excessive calcium in the bloodstream, which can exacerbate conditions like kidney disease and other urinary complications. If your dog has chronic indigestion or GI, you should never rely on the long term use of Tums. 
  3. Some dogs can have allergies to the artificial dye in Tums. Tums are vibrant in color to make them more appealing for use in humans, which can cause allergic reaction in sensitive dogs. 
  4. Tums should never be used without veterinary approval if your dog struggles with other medical conditions. Not only can Tums worsen certain issues in dogs, but they can interact with certain medications. 
  5. You should always seek veterinary approval for the use of Tums in puppies or nursing mothers. Extra calcium can impact bone and cartilage development in young dogs, making this important to avoid in lactating mothers and puppies.

Even if you have a healthy dog without any medical conditions, we always recommend getting veterinary approval before giving your dog any Tums.

Are There Alternatives To Tums For Dogs?

Tums are wonderful in controlling heartburn in humans, but there are more effective options for our canine companions. Dogs digest things at a different rate than you and I, meaning Tums would not offer long relief to a dog that is struggling. Some of the most effective antacid options for dogs include:

  • Prilosec (omeprazole)
  • Pepcid (famotidine)
  • Protonix (pantoprazole)

If you think your dog can benefit from the use of any of the above antacids, you should contact your veterinarian for a recommended dose.

What Is A Safe Dosage Of Tums For My Dog?

The proper dose of Tums for your pet will be decided based on their weight and the reason the medication is needed. While we recommend veterinary guidance when finding your dog’s dose, this is a general guideline for canine dosing.

  • Small dogs: 250 mg by mouth per day
  • Medium dogs: 2-4 by mouth grams per day
  • Large dogs: 4-6 by mouth grams per day
  • Giant dogs: 6-10 by mouth grams per day

Final Thoughts

Tums may be a wonderful relief to us, but are not as effective in helping our beloved pups. If you think your dog can benefit from the use of Tums, we recommend speaking with your veterinarian first. 

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