Rolaids (or Tums) can be found in almost any home in America. They are antacids, which, as you can probably guess, reduce stomach acids, which, in turn, provide relief from everyday heartburn. Antacids are made for humans, not dogs.
What will happen if my dog gets ahold of my Rolaids and eats some? What should I do? Can eating Rolaids be lethal for my dog? Let’s look at the answers to these questions and others.
What happens if my dog eats Rolaids?
If your dog happens to eat some Rolaids, it probably isn’t a huge deal. Eating Rolaids can have healing effects for your dog, but it can also have reactions to other medications, as well as side effects depending on your dog and the circumstances.
Healing Effects of Rolaids in Dogs
Magnesium hydroxide and calcium carbonate compose the active ingredients in Rolaids. Together, they cause the pH level in the digestive tract to rise. Sometimes, simethicone is added to reduce gas, but none of these three ingredients is toxic to dogs.
If your dog is plagued by peptic ulcers, acid reflux, or heartburn, your veterinarian may prescribe Rolaids. They are also prescribed for lowering the phosphate level in dogs who are experiencing too much phosphate in their blood as a result of renal (kidney) failure.
Reactions and Side Effects of Rolaids in Dogs
While vets may prescribe Rolaids (or other antacids), you should never administer them to your dog on your own. Because the acid in the stomach is at least somewhat neutralized by Rolaids, you should only do so on the advice of a vet. Rolaids, when eaten by dogs, can react with other medications and have side effects.
Reactions to Other Medications
Giving Rolaids to your dog alongside captopril, chloroquine, chlordiazepoxide, cimetidine, iron salts, isoniazid, pancrelipase, nitrofurantion, phenytoin, indomethacin, penicillamine, phenothiazines, ketoconazole, ranitidine, quinidine, sodium polystyrene sulfonate, aspirin, or valproic acid, among other medications can cause reactions to the other medication.
Dogs taking tetracycline or corticosteroids with Rolaids may see they have problems absorbing their medications. For dog that takes digoxin for heart failure or digitalis for congestive heart failure, Rolaids should not be administered, as an abnormal heartbeat may be a reaction to the calcium in the antacid.
If a dog ingests Rolaids or other antacids, he may experience one or more side effects, such as diarrhea, constipation, and loss of appetite. Be careful with antacids that contain aluminum. They may cause weakness, thinning of the bone, and aluminum toxicity. In puppies, too much calcium can hinder bone and cartilage development.
Avoid long-term use of antacids in dogs, as they may cause an electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to weakness and an irregular heart rate. In large doses for an extended period, you may also see kidney stones, pancreatitis, decreased muscle flexibility, and other medical conditions.
What to do if my dog eats Rolaids?
If your dog ingests Rolaids, the truth is that it may not even help his heartburn, but sometimes, dog owners say that Rolaids helps with their dogs’ heartburn, upset stomach, diarrhea, and other stomach problems. However, say your dog eats Rolaids on his own, or say you have no idea how many he ate. What do you do? Read on.
Did my dog eat too many Rolaids?
First, if you intend to give your dog Rolaids, you need to know what a standard dosage for dogs is. Here is a helpful chart.
|Dosage of Rolaids as a Stomach Medicine for Dogs (Every 4 Hours)|
|Size of Dog||Milligrams of Rolaids||Grams of Rolaids|
Many dog health care professionals recommend against giving Rolaids (antacids) as calcium supplements, but if you are going to do so, you should know what a standard dosage is for this application. Here is a handy chart.
|Dosage of Rolaids as a Calcium Supplement for Dogs (Daily)|
|Size of Dog||Milligrams of Rolaids||Grams of Rolaids|
For hyperphosphatemia, which is a side effect of chronic kidney failure, the commonly recommended dosage is 41-68 milligram/pound/day total dose divided. In other words, for a 50-pound dog, you might give him (50 x 60) = 3,000 milligrams total dose in a day. You can give it every 4 hours, so divide 3,000 by 6, giving you 500 milligrams per dose. It is recommended that the dose be administered with food.
So, check the package(s) and figure out how many milligrams (grams) he ate. Too much of any substance in a dog’s system can be toxic.
What should I do if my dog eats a lot of Rolaids?
If your dog eats Rolaids, even a lot of them, he will probably be fine. The best thing to do is just watch him. You can always call the Pet Poison Helpline 24/7 at (855) 764-7661 to find out the sign to look for directly from the source, but here are some important signs that it’s time to get your dog to the veterinarian.
Diarrhea or Vomiting
Your dog may have eaten too many Rolaids or may even be having an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the Rolaids which can cause vomiting or diarrhea. The main reason that vomiting and diarrhea are so dangerous is that your dog can quickly become dehydrated when they are suffering from vomiting and diarrhea.
Coughing or Drooling
Coughing or drooling point to a chemical reaction, meaning your dog could be allergic to an ingredient in the Rolaids. He may have also eaten something else along with the Rolaids, so keep that in mind. Coughing could also mean there is something still lodged in his throat.
Scratching or Red Eyes
Scratching or red eyes also indicate an allergic reaction. Think about how you react if you come into contact with something that you are allergic to, whether it be pollen or a chemical. Your veterinarian is likely to prescribe Benedryl, but don’t give it to your dog without talking to a professional first.
Other signs to look for include lethargy, constipation, and seizures.
Can Rolaids kill my dog?
While, in the short-term, it is highly unlikely that Rolaids will kill your dog, giving your dog Rolaids long-term, especially in large doses, can have side effects that can eventually lead to death.
Dogs With Medical Conditions
While some veterinarians use Rolaids to treat kidney failure, the truth is that kidney disease can actually be made worse by ingesting Rolaids. If your dog is plagued with any medical issue, you should consult your vet before giving him any over-the-counter medication.
Dogs Who Are Pregnant or Nursing
As a dog owner, you must be careful with a dog who is pregnant or nursing. You should never give any type of medication to a pregnant or nursing dog except under the advice of her veterinarian, as you may not only hurt her but her unborn puppies, as well.
Puppies and Senior Dogs
Puppies and aging (or senior) dogs are both considered members of the at-risk population because their bodies are more susceptible to illness than normal, healthy adult dogs. You should take special care of which medications you give these populations. Don’t give them over-the-counter medications unless their vet says to.
Can antacids kill a dog?
Generally, the answer to the question “Can antacids kill a dog?” is – no. For most dogs, in most cases, antacids like Rolaids and Tums are not harmful to dogs unless ingested in huge amounts, and then, the effects are usually temporary. However, you never know what can happen when you introduce a drug of any kind into a person or dog’s system.
Each person and dog has a unique chemical makeup. You can give 10 people the same drug and get 7-8 different reactions. Your dog could always be allergic to antacids or become allergic to antacids, as you can become allergic to a substance at any time, no matter how long you have used it.
So, antacids are not likely at all to kill your dog, but introducing any drug into his system is taking a chance.
What happens if a dog eats antacid?
There are many brands of antacids: Rolaids, Tums, Mylanta, Maalox, Milk of Magnesia, Alka-Seltzer, Gaviscon, Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, Eno, Equate, Pepcid (Famotidine [most prescribed by veterinarians]), and more. They can be helpful to dogs in some cases, but many professionals discourage their use on a regular basis.
Do antacids work for my dog?
Substances pass through a dog’s stomach more rapidly than they do a human’s. Antacids may pass through a dog’s stomach too quickly to be effective as a treatment for heartburn, stomach upset, or diarrhea. They can work well to bind phosphates for those with kidney disease, but in some cases, they can exacerbate matters, thus should only be used per the advice of your vet.
Can my dog have adverse reactions to antacids?
Check the label of the antacid you choose for your dog, and ensure it does not contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs like the artificial sweetener, xylitol. Also, your dog can have adverse reactions to the dyes with which some antacids are made.
Are there safer alternatives than antacids?
For stomach issues that are ongoing or “chronic”, alternative treatments are best, and for calcium supplements, there are certainly safer alternatives.
Contact Your Vet
If you notice signs like extreme vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, drooling, scratching, red eyes, lethargy, constipation, or seizures, you should contact your vet immediately and skip the antacids. Your vet may prescribe an OTC (over-the-counter) medication like Pepcid or Pepto-Bismol, but unless he does, stay away from OTC medications.
For milder stomach upset, try having your dog fast until his digestive system straightens itself out. Then, when you reintroduce food, do it in tiny portions, increasing them a little at a time until he is eating normally again.
Change of Diet
Dogs with chronic digestion problems may need a healthier diet, or may be dealing with an undiagnosed medical health issue. If you are concerned that this is the case, schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are 5 foods that your dog will find especially pleasing and helpful if he is having stomach troubles. They are as follows.
Shredded chicken should be boneless, skinless, plain, unseasoned, and boiled, because this is how it will be easy to digest and mild on an upset digestive system. Chicken has lots of vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fats and amino acids, so it’s a great remedy for sick dogs.
Chicken and Rice
When a dog is sick, he needs a bland diet free of seasonings, butter, and oils. Plain chicken and rice fit this bill. Use boiled chicken, shredded or chopped small, and white rice. It’s not as high in nutrition as brown rice, but it’s blander, so it’s more suitable for this application.
Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are very healthy and are great for digestion. Cook and peel them. Do not salt or season them at all. These prized foods are full of vitamin A, B6, C, and E, copper, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, and thiamin.
Emergency vet hospitals feed some baby foods to their canine patients, as it is easy to swallow, easy to digest, and can aid in getting oral medications into dogs. Vets recommend Stage 2 meat-based, unseasoned baby foods for dogs with stomach issues.
Bone broth is mild and nutritious. You can add it to your dog’s dry food or just let him sip it.