Disturbed by bouts of indigestion and gastrointestinal disorders! A couple of tums would for sure come to your relief. Tums is one of the most common over-the-counter medications to treat digestive issues.
However, its discovery is even more interesting. James Howe, a pharmacist, invented it in 1928 to treat his wife’s heartburn. Bingo! It worked and was introduced to the public in 1930. That was about us.
Tums are like a life-saver for us during those annoying digestive disorder cycles. Now, the question is, how useful is it for your dog? What if your four-legged friend saw those round white tablets lying near the drawers and excitedly gulped a whole bottle of them?
And what if you gave your dog one or two tum tablets when you saw him feeling uneasy after a meal?
What are Tums Made of?
The main ingredient that goes into the making of tums is calcium carbonate. It is the same component found in several products like chalks, baking powder, marble, and even some toothpaste brands.
Acid reflux happens when the food isn’t digested due to the inappropriate closure of the lower esophageal sphincter. It is then that the stomach acid travels up through the esophagus to the throat and then your mouth resulting in a bitter sensation.
The outcome is heartburn, and here comes the role of calcium carbonate in neutralizing esophageal acid and giving relief.
Can You Give Your Dogs Tums? Know the Reasons Why You Can or Can’t
The answer is YES (if given once in a while, after consulting a vet), and a complete NO (if you are planning to make it a long-term goal).
Many owners give tums to pooches to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Now let’s get into a detailed explanation of whether you can give your dog tums or not.
Some sources mention that giving dogs limited doses of tum as a short-term goal wouldn’t do much harm. True, that it could relieve the symptoms for the time being. However, tums aren’t the best choice for long-term treatment. Know the reasons why:
1. Tums May Contain Xylitol
Some brands of tums contain xylitol, which is considered toxic for dogs. In fact, upon consumption, xylitol gets absorbed into the dog’s bloodstream quickly. The consequence would be the release of insulin, causing the blood sugar to decrease at a rapid rate.
The outcome would be severe hypoglycemia, which could even prove fatal. Xylitol is even responsible for causing liver damage and liver disease. Some symptoms of xylitol poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, lack of coordinated body movements, collapse, seizures, liver function disorder, and kidney failure.
2. Elevates Calcium Levels in the Blood
Dr. Fotios Bris, a Brooklyn’s Small Door Veterinary vet, stated that even if you give your dog xylitol-free tums, they will still do the necessary damage in the long run. Because of its calcium carbonate content, tums may raise the calcium levels in the blood.
This would prove hazardous for dogs with chronic kidney disease. So regular usage isn’t advisable at all.
3. Tums Could Interfere with Other Medications
Suppose your dog is on iron supplements, antibiotics, or other medications. In that case, chances are high that tums could interact negatively with the other medicines, making things troublesome for your pet.
If you plan to give your dog tums to relieve your pet of digestive disorders, it is wise enough to talk to the vet.
A word of caution: Never give your dog tums containing xylitol. Giving your pet xylitol-free tums one or two at a time would be fine, but occasionally. Do not develop it into a habit. The thumb rule is you should never give any medication to your dog without consulting the veterinarian.
You would not know what effect a medication may have on your dog’s body. You could end up hurting your dog to do good.
What Alternatives Can You Give Your Dog for an Upset Stomach (Instead of Tums)?
Home remedies are always way better than over-the-counter medicines. This not just holds good for dogs but humans as well.
True that natural remedies won’t function as fast as the OTCs. Yes, the effect is stronger and long-lasting. Let’s look at the home remedies to relieve your dog from digestive disorders caused by an upset stomach.
1. A Rice and Chicken Diet
A diet of rice and boneless chicken is a comfort food given to dogs to soothe an upset stomach. If rice isn’t available at the moment, you could give only shredded and boiled chicken. Avoid adding seasonings.
2. Make Pumpkins a Part of his Food
Pumpkins are rich in fiber. Besides, they have other utilities due to their high Vitamin A, C, and E content, alongside minerals such as iron and potassium. Ensure the pumpkin is peeled and cooked well without salt and seasoning.
3. Give Him Broth
A bone broth would be another ideal option for digestive disorders. You could add it as a topper to your dog’s kibble. Broth helps add flavor and moisture to the dry kibble, making meals much more interesting. Make sure it is low in salt and does not contain additional seasoning.
4. Keep Him Without Food for a While
Your dog wouldn’t be comfortable going without food for long. But, to treat recurrent or severe digestive disorders, this could be one way. A short-term fast should last 12-24 hours, where nothing but water is permitted.
Through fasting, your dog’s intestinal lining and gastrointestinal tract get time to repair. However, consult your vet once before making your dog fast.
What to Do if your Dog Ate Too Many Tums?
You need to consult the vet at once, on a more urgent basis, if you see a drastic change in his actions or behavior.
If you’ve not given your dog tums, but he has consumed a full bottle or quite a many of them in a go in pursuit of play, the matter could get serious. A tum overdose could negatively harm your pet’s health if it goes unchecked.
It would help if you did these when your dog has eaten more tum tablets than he should.
1. Keep Calm
If you sense something wrong with your dog, don’t panic. Try taking one thing at a time. If you find the tum bottle empty or the tablets scattered on the floor, you will understand the matter instantly.
First, you need to identify how many tums your dog has taken. Also, check if your pet has eaten anything else along with tums; it isn’t supposed to other than tum. Also, please comprehend how long it has been since he has gulped those tablets. That will help give the right information to the vet.
2. Observe Your Dog’s Behavior
Observing your pet’s behavior is of utmost importance. Then, you will get your answer to all the questions mentioned above.
For example, if he is active and not dizzy, it could mean he hasn’t eaten too many tablets. However, suppose your pet shows moderate to severe symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, etc. In that case, it could be a medical emergency.
3. Clean Away the Area Immediately
You certainly don’t want your dog to continue licking the tums or whatever else is there along with the tablets.
So, the moment you notice that the damage is done, clear the place immediately. Wipe the floors and put the bottles inside the cabinets so your dog can’t eat the tablets anymore.
4. Try Keeping Your Dog Hydrated
If a tum overdose has led your pet to vomit or pass stool, the chances of dehydration could be high. So giving him small amounts of water if he is in a condition to drink may help prevent the symptoms from worsening.
5. Don’t Delay in Calling the Vet
Even if your dog has exceeded the dosage of tums, he should have had and is still okay; it is always safe to get validation from a vet.
Note: Activated charcoal is known for absorbing toxins and decreasing their flow into the bloodstream. However, if your dog is a victim of tum toxicity (particularly if he has consumed xylitol-based ones), don’t try it on your own. Instead, consult the vet; he will fix the dosage if he feels the need, and then you have to do as directed.
How Much Tum is Too Much for Your Dog?
How much danger your dog is in depends on the amount of tum he consumes. The dog’s size determines whether the number of tums he has eaten would cause harm. Check the preferred dosage of tums for your dogs per size.
- Small dogs (weighing 30 pounds or <) – 0.04 ounce (1250 mg)
- Medium dogs (>30 pounds <60 pounds) – 0.07 – 0.14 ounce (2 -4 grams)
- Big dogs (> 60 pounds < 99 pounds) – 0.14 – 0.21 ounce (4-6 grams)
- Giant dogs (> 100 pounds) – 0.21 – 0.35 ounce (6-10 grams)
So, the amount of tum that could pose a danger for your Yorkie might not cause harm to your Great Dane.
Precautions When Giving Tums to Dogs
Always remember that tums aren’t the ultimate solution to treat gastrointestinal disorders in your dogs. However, when given in small amounts, once in a while, in the recommended dosage, it wouldn’t pose harm. Please don’t make it a regular habit. If the gastric problem is recurrent, don’t delay consulting a vet.
1. Read the Composition on the Bottle
Sugar-free tums could contain xylitol which is considered toxic to dogs. Even a small amount of xylitol-based tums may cause a lot of harm. So, check the contents thoroughly before you give them to your dog.
2. Check for Allergies
Not all tums contain artificial colorings and dyes. But some do, and your dog could likely be allergic to them. So, read the bottle’s content well, and if you see food dyes on the list of ingredients, avoid giving them to your dog.
3. Don’t Make it a Regular Habit
As mentioned, tums cannot be a permanent solution to treat gastric issues. Regular intake of tums could lead to a mineral imbalance in your dog, alongside other complications. Give your dog tums, not for more than two days in a row. However, if your dog takes other medications like antibiotics, don’t give him tums before consulting a vet.
4. Avoid Giving Tums to Puppies
A dog is officially a puppy till his first birthday. However, growth-wise, they would take between 6 and 24 months to develop their bones fully. So, avoid giving tums to puppies since its calcium carbonate content could interfere with the pup’s calcium levels, affecting its growth. If you own a big dog like a Great Dane or a Saint Bernard, give it tums when it is two years of age.
5. Consult a Vet
Self-treatment isn’t a good thing to do when it comes to your dogs. So, discuss the slightest problem you notice in your dog with the vet. It would be better if you take his approval before giving tums to your dog.
Symptoms to Watch out For a Tum Overdose
How would you know if your dog has eaten too many tums if you haven’t seen him doing the same? If you keep a close watch on your dog, you will immediately notice any change in his gesture. Anything abnormal or unusual needs a doctor’s intervention.
1. Excessive Vomiting
Vomiting is one of the first symptoms of indigestion. It indicates that the body cannot digest what has been consumed. It is not always the tum that would lead to vomiting. Maybe your dog has consumed other medications too with tum, the combined reaction of which is making him throw up the contents of his stomach. Excessive vomiting could lead to dehydration.
2. Increased Drooling
Drooling followed by coughing indicates that whatever your dog ate got stuck in his throat. When your dog salivates a lot, especially after consuming too many tums, it is one of the red flags indicating that your dog has a chemical reaction against something he has eaten.
3. Chronic Diarrhea
Like other antacids, tum also has a significant amount of magnesium. An overdose of magnesium often results in diarrhea. So, if your dog has eaten a lot of tums, passing loose stool may be one of the commonest symptoms.
4. Allergic Reaction
One of the commonest symptoms of your dog eating something that does not suit its body will be an allergic reaction. Red eyes, excessive itching, or scratching are the symptoms of an allergic reaction due to ingesting any foreign substance.
When your dog has had an overdose of tum, and if he isn’t active after that, it could be a cause for concern. Lethargy could indicate organ damage as a result of ingesting the unwanted substance. Moreover, if it is combined with other symptoms like pale or blue eyes, your dog could be in danger.
If your dog already has seizures, an overdose of tum could trigger it further. However, suppose your dog has consumed xylitol-based tum or other substances along with tum. In that case, it could also result in a seizure. If you notice uncoordinated and unstable movements in your dog combined with defecation, urination, and drooling, don’t delay to contact a vet.
Can Tums Kill Your Dog?
No, there aren’t chances of tums killing your dog unless he has consumed it with other toxic substances. However, if it is xylitol-based tums, having even a small amount of it could lead to severe symptoms, posing a threat to your dog’s health.
How long would dogs react after eating a bottle of tum?
Digestion in dogs occurs quickly. So, the symptoms could start showing in an hour. Yet, it is essential to watch your dog’s behavior for a couple of hours if he has had an overdose of tum.
Can dogs eat tums as a calcium supplement?
No, it is not recommended. Tum has calcium carbonate that is hard for dogs to digest.
Can you give tums to pregnant dogs?
No, you should not. It could elevate the calcium levels in the pregnant dogs, which would, in turn, get into the puppy’s system affecting the latter’s bone health.
So, a small dose of tum wouldn’t harm your dog. But, it wouldn’t help either other than elevating the symptoms for a while. Hence, consider tum the last thing you could give your dog to ease its digestive distress.
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.