Can I Give My Dog Anti-Gas Medicine?
If you are wondering whether you can give your dog anti-gas medicine, the answer is not as simple as yes or no.
A better question might be, “Does it make sense for me to medicate my pet with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs?”
Here we examine the pros and cons of giving dogs anti-gas medicine and discuss the advisability of self-prescribing any medications that are not formulated for canines. We include some valuable advice gained during a telephone interview with Dr. Camille DeClementi, board-certified veterinary toxicologist.
What Causes Gas?
According to the article "Flatulence" by Dr. Brooks, “flatulence comes from an excess of gases in the intestinal tract.”
That is why it is so important for owners to have the vet evaluate their dog. The vet’s familiarity with the dog’s medical history and any known health problems, combined with an understanding of what is causing the dog to have gas, helps him or her choose the correct treatment.
Gas Treatment Options
For instance, the vet may want to change the dog’s diet to see if that alleviates the problem before prescribing any medication.
Ingredients like milk, fruit and cheese can cause gas to build up in the gastrointestinal tract.
Other changes he or she might suggest are feeding the dog the same amount of food but spreading the meals out in several smaller meals throughout the day.
Another common method is to adjust the height of the dog’s feeding bowl—raising it several inches from floor level—as this forces the animal to eat slower and swallow less air.
Less air inhaled while eating translates to less gas formed in the gastrointestinal tract. An alternative method is to use a specially designed food dish. These bowls typically have either divided segments or objects implanted in the bowl that force the dog to eat more slowly.
These products are called slow-feed or slow-down pet food dishes (see images to the right) and can be purchased at Amazon or most pet product retailers. As a plus, if you have a large or giant breed dog that may be predisposed to bloat, these food dishes are also recommended for them to help reduce or eliminate the risk of bloat.
Gas can be painful, and the vet may decide that it is necessary to give the dog something to ease the pain. If he or she prescribes an anti-gas medication, owners should administer it in the correct dosage and at the proper time.
Potential Side Effects & Risks
According to Dr. DeClementi, she would “encourage pet owners to never medicate an animal with any over-the-counter drugs, unless advised to do so by their vet.” She explained that any drug used inappropriately presents the risk of adverse effects such as accidental poisoning.
Additionally, when owners use such medicines, while they may treat the symptoms, they have not determined the underlying causes of why the dog has gas. Knowing the cause is crucial to giving the animal the proper treatment.
Some possible adverse effects of giving anti-gas medicines to dogs are:
In addition, the medicine could exacerbate the problem and make the gas worse.
Safest Dog Health Choices
Remember, humans and dogs metabolize medicines in different ways. Owners should err on the side of caution and avoid giving their pets any medication not labeled for animal use.
Any OTC drugs, such as pain relief preparations for arthritis, should only be administered on the advice of their veterinarian. So, what is the answer to the question, “Can I give my dog anti-gas medicine?” is "Yes, but only if your vet advises you to do so."
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Veterinary Partner, Flatulence, Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP, accessed 10/04/2010
Telephone interview, Dr. Camille DeClementi, VMD, DABT, DABVT, Senior Director of Knowledge Management, Senior Toxicologist, ASPCA Animal Health Services, 10/04/2010