Yes, dogs can be given Imodium to treat diarrhea. However, it can have some unpleasant side effects if the dog is given too high of a dose for their size and may not be the best option depending on the cause of the diarrhea.
Can Dogs Have Imodium: Yes, but…
Loperamide, known by the brand name Imodium, works to control diarrhea in dogs by slowing down the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This can help to resolve the diarrhea by giving the stool more time to firm up, but it doesn’t address the underlying cause of the diarrhea.
Imodium should not be used if your dog’s diarrhea was caused by a bacterial infection or eating something toxic, according to the Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook, Eighth Edition. Slowing the GI tract down in these instances could give the toxin or the infection more time to do damage to the dog’s system. Instead, your veterinarian will use other treatments to remove the toxin from your dog’s body or clear the infection and then address the diarrhea later if it continues, sometimes recommending foods like pumpkin for control.
Side Effects of Imodium in Dogs
Dogs with the MDR1 mutation should not be given Imodium, as they will struggle to metabolize it. Any dog could potentially have this mutation, but the most commonly affected breeds include Border Collies, Shelties, Silken Windhounds, and Australian Shepherds. If your dog only has one copy of the mutation, she should still either avoid Imodium or be given a lower dose.
Some potential side effects include:
- Sedation or lethargy
- Toxic megacolon
- Central nervous system effects
Can Dogs Have Imodium Pills?
Imodium pills may be appropriate for large dogs. Small and toy breed dogs usually require a liquid formula to get an accurate dose for their size. If considering a liquid product, always check the inactive ingredients for things that may be harmful for your dog such as the artificial sweetener xylitol.