Yes, dogs can take Imodium. Imodium is the trade name for the drug Loperamide that is meant to treat diarrhea. It works by reducing motility within the gut.
For the most part, it is safe and effective for use in dogs that have diarrhea. However, there are a few exceptions where Imodium might be harmful when given to dogs. Here are some of these exceptions where Imodium should be avoided in dogs.
Dogs With Mutant Gene MDR1
The MDR in the MDR1 gene means multi-drug resistance. It refers to a genetic mutation in some dog breeds that results in their inability to metabolize certain drugs, including Imodium. This is far more common in herding dog breeds such as Australian Shepherds and German Shepherds.
There is also a general rule of thumb where Imodium has been avoided in all shepherd dog breeds as well as dog breeds with white feet.
This may not be the most accurate way to tell which dogs can safely use Imodium, but it comes in handy in cases where MDR1 genetic testing may not be a feasible option.
Diarrhea From Infection
If your dog is suffering from a gastrointestinal infection, the last thing you want to do is to have the causative organisms stuck in the gut. In these cases, diarrhea helps flush out the pathogens and should be allowed to continue within safe limits.
Diarrhea From Poisoning
As with diarrhea from infection, Imodium should be avoided in cases where the dog’s diarrhea was triggered by the ingestion of a toxic substance. Imodium would stall gut motility and worsen the effects of the toxin that the dog ingested.
Dogs With Head Injury
The active component in Imodium is an opioid. If your dog is suffering from a head injury in addition to their diarrhea, the opioid components of Imodium could worsen symptoms like altered levels of consciousness.
In very severe cases, it could cause crucial systems like your respiratory control centers to shut down, which could be life-threatening for the dog. However, this would take very high doses of Imodium in the injured dog.
Dogs With Liver Failure
Imodium is metabolized and excreted from the dog mainly through the liver. If the liver is not doing its job right, your dog will end up with unhealthy levels of Imodium in its system. This increases the chances of the dog experiencing side effects like constipation and sedation.