Can I Give My Cat Tums?
When our cats demonstrate symptoms of an upset stomach, we instantly start looking for safe ways to alleviate their suffering. One of the first treatments to come to mind: Tums, which are safe enough even for children. But are they compatible with our cats’ bodies? Can my cat have Tums?
Actually, yes, you can give your cat Tums, but it isn’t recommended. This is one over-the-counter medication that appears to be relatively harmless to both cats and dogs, even if they ingest a substantial amount, so there is no need to panic if you find that your cat has gobbled up several tablets off the bathroom floor. If your cat has a mild case of upset stomach, giving them Tums may help keep them comfortable until the problem can fix itself. However, it is important to monitor your pet carefully whenever they are sick—sometimes digestive symptoms are indicative of a more serious underlying problem that can’t be solved by antacids alone.
Everybody has their own favorite heartburn fix, but many people of all ages and levels of health find that taking a couple of these chalky antacid tablets is a simple, side effect-free way to calm their stomach’s complaints. We use Tums for indigestion, upset stomach, and sometimes, diarrhea. Tums will work for our cats in much the same way that they work for us, so if heartburn seems to be the problem, this antacid may help relieve their discomfort. There is no doubt that this handy over-the-counter drug will help with heartburn symptoms.
That does not mean that you should throw Tums at your cat every time their stomach is upset. As previously mentioned, the scariest part of pet illness is the fact that they can’t communicate with us—since our feline friends are unable to wrap their tongues around English, we have to do our best to interpret their symptoms for them. Your companion animals can’t tell you how they are feeling, so you have to watch for visible symptoms and the behaviors related to them.
If, however, you treat your cat’s symptoms with over-the-counter drugs, you may blind yourself to the reality of their condition. If your cat has a serious condition that causes vomiting, Tums will do nothing to fix that condition—all you will do is cover up the vomiting. This can mean that your cat may go without proper treatment for hours or days, during which time their condition can worsen significantly.
Because we can’t properly diagnose our pets’ health problems, it is usually better to avoid attempting treatment at home. The vast majority of digestive problems your cat may experience will be relatively short-term—they will rectify themselves within a few hours. If your cat comes down with a stomach bug, the safest thing to do is to monitor them closely without trying to treat them on your own. If their symptoms last longer than a day, consult a veterinarian.
Though Tums are considered relatively safe, there is always a potential for unpleasant side effects. This drug’s balance of minerals can actually cause constipation, so if your cat already has an issue with regularity, skip out on the antacids. It may also exacerbate diarrhea in some cases. If your cat is vomiting or having diarrhea frequently, using Tums can worsen electrolyte imbalances, which can have serious side effects.
Things to Consider
Because of the high mineral content, Tums should never be administered to cats who have kidney disease or kidney failure. They should also be avoided if your cat is on a low potassium or low sodium diet, or if they are currently pregnant or nursing. All of these conditions make your cat more susceptible to high levels of minerals, so giving them Tums can cause irreversible damage to their kidneys. When in doubt, ask your veterinarian.
Overall, Tums are one of the safest over-the-counter drugs you can use to treat your cat’s upset stomach. If, however, there is any chance that your cat’s symptoms are part of a more serious underlying issue, avoid treating their symptoms at home. Most stomach problems will rectify themselves. If they persist, see a vet. The best thing you can do if your cat is sick is consult a veterinarian before trying to address their symptoms.