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Can I Give My Cat Pepto Bismol ? Our Advice

Cats tend to be fussy eaters. They will usually not eat something that does not appeal to them, and even if they make a mistake their bodies are often quite efficient at rejecting foreign substances that don’t sit right with them. Giving them medication when they are ill then becomes a bit of an issue. 

Human medication, when given to them by their owners without prior recommendation of a vet can also be dangerous. It is easy to look at your cat’s illnesses as being very similar to your own. Indeed, the nomenclatures are unfortunately close enough to cause confusion – cat flu, feline influenza, among others. However, this does not mean that they need the same treatment.

can I give my cat pepto bismol

One major issue that affects cats as much as people is issues with their digestive tracts.

Many owners wonder in these latter cases whether they can give their cat Pepto-Bismol when they exhibit diarrhea, a stomach upset, or vomiting. It can be a tempting route – available easily and relatively cheap.

However, it is important to recognize that a cat’s biology is not only delicate, but is different from our own. In this article, we will be looking at the various ailments a cat may face. Most often, these are due to bouts of diarrhea, stomach upsets, and indigestion. Then we will be asking – “can I give my cat Pepto Bismol in any of those circumstances?

What Is Pepto Bismol and How Is It Taken?

Pepto-Bismol, otherwise known as Bismuth Subsalicylate, is a commonly-available medicine that many people take regularly. It is commonly used as a treatment for nausea or an upset stomach, and symptoms regularly associated with hangovers. In some cases it is used to treat diarrhea. In human beings, Pepto-Bismol can be taken on a regular basis with no ill-effects.

However, it does have a strict dosage limit which will vary from person to person and situation to situation. It is orally administered, and can be self-administered or directed by a doctor.

The product contains active ingredients which may make certain illnesses (such as ulcers or stomach lining damage) worse or cause serious damage. This can also happen if too much is taken. So it is fair to say that one must be careful when taking it. When wondering “can I give my cat Pepto-Bismol?”, therefore, you should be extra cautious.

can i give my cat ibuprofen

Can I Give My Cat Pepto Bismol?

Traditional wisdom, which can often be confusing, notes that dogs can be given Pepto-Bismol with few worries. However, cats are very different animals indeed, and can have very different reactions. Pepto-Bismol contains Aspirin, which can be incredibly harmful to cats if given for a prolonged period of time (or in great quantities).

As stated before, dosage depends very much on the weight of the person/animal taking it. The Franklin Animal Clinic has these (note: rough estimate) guides, which specify that cats should not be taking Pepto Bismol for any longer than two days to three days.

It seems that while it can be given, it should be done so sparingly and as a last resort. Dr Marie of askavetquestion, says that while it is not harmful in small quantities, there is no foolproof application for Pepto-Bismol,

“I don’t recommend giving pepto bismol to a cat. Pepto contains salicylic acid which is aspirin which is toxic to cats. With that being said, a single small dose is not likely to have caused harm.”

In truth, once you have managed to mitigate the various pitfalls associated with giving a cat a product such as Pepto-Bismol which contains aspirin, you might find a bigger problem that still remains: actually getting them to take it. Cats won’t find either the chewable tablets or the liquid very appealing. So your biggest hurdle might be getting them to ingest either!

my cat ate ibuprofen

Stomach Issues in Cats

The fact is, if your have detected that your cat is suffering from a stomach upset, or have noticed an increase in their diarrhea or vomiting, it may be too late to use Pepto-Bismol.

There are many reasons why a cat may experience these symptoms. In many cases it can be better to seek out other forms of treatment, including those that are cat-specific.

Diarrhea, stomach upsets, and vomiting in cats may be due to any of the following:

A Change in Diet

Cats have sensitive digestive systems (another reason to avoid Pepto-Bismol). Their stomach upsets might be due to a change in diet. They may have eaten something that they shouldn’t have. This is common in stray cats or adventurous outdoors cats. Or may have tried something too rich or toxic for them. What human foods can cats eat?

Cow’s milk can also have the same negative effect on their GI (gastrointestinal) tract. Cats cannot digest lactose. For most cats, it sits in their intestines and ferments to potentially a fatal effect. In this case, a dose of Pepto-Bismol will hinder, rather than aid their issues. Instead of adding more foreign substances, a detox will better serve them (bland food and water, as well as veterinary advice).

Stress and Environmental Changes

Cats need not have a problem in their diet to experience stomach upsets. Stress, or the addition of another pet can cause all kinds of issues, including hair loss and indigestion. Keep an eye out for what may have caused your cat needless anxiety and what you can do to help them. (i.e. – getting another scratching post or reducing loud noises).


Vomiting may be indicative that your cat is trying to pass a hairball. Before you seek medical advice, keep an eye on how often your cat goes to vomit, and what comes out when they do. If a cylindrical plug of hair comes out there is no need to worry.

Natural Passing Gas or Diarrhea

 You can be at risk of over-diagnosing a problem, too. Sometimes it might just be a bad tummy. We all get those from time to time. In this case, your cat’s bad stomach might just mean its digestive system is working out an issue on its own. 

Owners never like to see their cats in discomfort. But, whether they have stomach upsets, diarrhea, vomiting, or other issues, one should always think before asking “Can I Give My Cat Pepto Bismol?” as there are many factors to explore beforehand.

You should seek veterinary advice before ever turning to human medication.

This recommendation from seems very sensible regarding the use of Pepto-Bismol:

“Use with extreme caution, and only under veterinary supervision. Aspirin may be fatal to cats. Used to treat vomiting and diarrhea caused by dietary indiscretion as it soothes the stomach and intestinal lining. If the vomiting and/or diarrhea persists for more than 48 hours; the pet has a fever, is depressed or shows abdominal pain; or the pet does not continue to be active and alert, contact your veterinarian. Further treatment may be needed. It comes in different strength formulations; follow dosage recommendations below.”

Melissa Yuen

Monday 16th of August 2021

Hi my cat I believe is depressed, his little brother just passed away and now she won’t eat and she is throwing up what should I do

The Fluffy Kitty

Tuesday 17th of August 2021

Hi Melissa, cats can feel sadness and depression from loss, just as humans do. Extra love, cuddles, treats, and dedicated playtime (enrichment) during this time can help. Keeping toys, or a cat bed, of her little brother with the scent nearby could help (instead of removing it completely), so she can adjust. Sending love, x

pamela sirois

Saturday 30th of January 2021

My 16 year old cat has been sick to her belly for 2 days , I rub water to her mouth but she won't eat or drink an is throwing up , she is moving her bowels an pee . What can I give her to make her better . Seems no fever . She walks and goes out side , like I said used her box . She's an indoor cat .

The Fluffy Kitty

Wednesday 24th of March 2021

Hi Pamela, sorry to hear about your kitty! I hope she is doing better now? If cats refuse to eat and drink it's best to take them to the vet for a check up. All the best, x

Pat Harrison

Sunday 16th of July 2017

My 17 yr female throws up if she eats anything but dry food, am feeding AUTHORITY MATURE, but she begs anytime there's food around. I am still feeding my 16 yr male some can food and they both could stand to gain a little weight. Is there Med I could give her so they can both eat some moist food. I have tried many brands of canned food.


Wednesday 20th of December 2017

Hi Pat! I have raised persian cats. I was also a vet tech. Take a small dish of dry food and add water just above the food. Let it sit until all the water is absorbed (on the counter is fine) Fluff it up with a fork ! Most cats that like their regular dry food will also like this.


Monday 17th of July 2017

Hi Pat, thanks for sending us your message. Authority Mature is a credible brand with wholesome first ingredients. Your 17 yr old female you said can only digest dry food, but you would like to give both moist food for weight gain, right? Have you tried using the same brand but in a wet paté to see if she can keep it down? If you cook unseasoned chicken with rice and give her small portions mixed in with her dry food, that might help. Sometimes when Yoda hasn't had wet food for a few days and we give him a chunk of moist (chickn or tuna for example) then he sometimes throws it up a few hours later. Try mixing a little wet food (either paté, cooked chicken, rice, unsalted tuna etc.) with her dry food and then slowly increase the percentage of moist > dry over the next few days to see if that works. You can also check out our article on human foods cats can eat, to try and see if she takes to any of the other items listed. Best of luck and keep us updated.