As a dog owner, you are no stranger to Fido’s antics. Whether it’s digging a hole in your backyard or scattering its chew toys all over your living room, dogs are energetic, curious animals. Perhaps too curious when it comes to eating as they can gobble up (almost) anything.
Unfortunately, their voracious appetite can be detrimental to their health at times, particularly when they have ingested something they shouldn’t. Instead of rushing to your local vet every time your dog has mild food poisoning, try activated charcoal instead. It’s a natural remedy for detoxification, aside from minor wounds and bites.
But how much activated charcoal should you give your dog? That’s what we intend to cover in this post. From the dosage frequency to the type of supplement you should get, you will learn all you need to know to ease your dog’s upset stomach.
How Much Activated Charcoal Should Dogs ingest?
The amount of activated charcoal to give a dog depends on whether your pet needs a single dose or multiple doses.
Single-Dose Activated Charcoal Administration
The recommended guideline for a single dose of activated charcoal is 1-5 grams per kilogram of your dog’s weight. Do note that you should administer activated charcoal with a vet-approved cathartic (a type of drug that speeds up your canine’s bowel movements), like sorbitol. The rationale behind this drug pairing is two-fold:
- The charcoal binds to the toxic substance within your dog’s gastrointestinal system to form a charcoal-toxin complex before the toxin is completely absorbed into its system.
- The cathartic accelerates the expulsion of the charcoal-toxin complex from your dog’s body, usually in the form of poop.
Do note that certain cathartics come with some side effects. For example, sorbitol may lead to:
- Abdominal discomfort
In essence, the activated charcoal and cathartic work in tandem to minimize the number of toxins absorbed by your dog’s digestive system. This may help reduce the severity of the symptoms your dog is experiencing after ingesting the toxic substance.
Multi-Dose Activated Charcoal Administration
In some circumstances, your pet may need more than one dose of activated charcoal to relieve its discomfort.
If that’s the case, the recommended dosage is 1-2 grams of activated charcoal per kilogram of body weight. This dosage should be repeated every 4-6 hours over 24 hours, without any cathartic thereafter. This is to minimize side effects like increased dehydration after losing too much fluids.
Take note that multi-dose activated charcoal can interfere with certain drugs like:
- Theophylline (used for coughs, asthma, and bronchitis)
- Phenobarbital (an anticonvulsant to prevent seizures)
When activated charcoal is used with any of the above medicines, it diminishes their effectiveness.
What Kind of Activated Charcoal Is the Most Effective for Dogs?
Activated charcoal is widely available over the counter and comes in many different forms. To ensure optimum results when detoxifying your canine’s system, here’s what you should look for.
With and Without Cathartic
As we’ve mentioned, sometimes your dog may only need a single dose of activated charcoal. In which case, choose activated charcoal whose composition already contains a cathartic, for example, 50% sorbitol.
At other times, your pet may require multi-dose activated charcoal to completely eliminate the toxin from its body. Remember, aside from the first dose of activated charcoal, the subsequent doses should not be administered with cathartic. To prepare for such a scenario, stock up on 100% pure activated charcoal without any cathartic in it. A good option is Zen Principle® Hardwood Activated Charcoal Powder.
For maximum effectiveness, it’s best to use activated charcoal products that come in a powdered form. This way, you can mix it with water (or any other liquid) to create a drinkable solution your dog can easily consume.
On the other hand, activated charcoal in the form of tablets and capsules may not be as effective. That’s because these pills are usually designed for the slow release of activated charcoal within the body. If you’re feeding your dog activated charcoal to neutralize food poisoning, you’re probably hoping for the supplement to work fast rather than slow. This is why activated charcoal powder will be more effective, as there is no barrier to break down before the charcoal adsorbs the toxins circulating your dog’s system.
It’s also worthy to note that not all dogs are good at swallowing pills. This complicates matters when it’s literally a life-or-death situation for your beloved pet. Having activated charcoal powder on hand makes it easier for your dog to ingest the supplement completely, leading to adequate symptom relief.
Other Things To Take Note Of
- Administer activated charcoal to your dog as soon as you can, preferably within five minutes of food poisoning. If that’s not possible, you can still give your pet the charcoal within six hours of suspected poisoning.
- Make sure your dog is well-hydrated when taking activated charcoal. This will help minimize the risk of dehydration (especially when cathartics are involved) and help speed up the detoxification process.
- Always defer to a qualified vet in cases of suspected food poisoning. If your pet’s symptoms did not improve after consuming activated charcoal, bring it to emergency care immediately.
Put Your Dog’s Health First With Zen Principle®
Activated charcoal is a natural remedy to nurse your dog back to good health in the event of suspected poisoning. Depending on the situation, you may opt for single- or multi-dose administration. Do note that you should always consult a licensed vet first about your pet’s symptoms before giving it activated charcoal.
If you’re looking for 100% pure activated charcoal powder that doesn’t contain cathartics, Zen Principle® Hardwood Activated Charcoal Powder may be just the thing for your beloved canine.
Our charcoal powder is certified food-grade and sourced from Eastern American hardwood trees, an all-natural and renewable resource. It’s also finely milled and 100% pure for a potent digestive cleanse. If you need more details on whether this charcoal powder is suitable for your pet, check out the FAQs.
P.S. If your dog loves coconut (and their stomach is agreeable with it), try our Coconut Activated Charcoal Powder.