Famotidine For Dogs And Dosage

Our canine companions can struggle with multiple forms of GI upset. Some of these complications can benefit from the use of human medications, as many of these digestive conditions are similar to human health struggles.

Famotidine is one of the few gastroprotectants that is regularly prescribed to our furry friends, assisting with conditions ranging from acid reflux to GI ulcers.

In this article we will get into the details of famotidine use in our canine companions, and help you better understand how this medication can help your dog’s upset stomach.

What Is Famotidine?

Famotidine In Dogs

Famotidine is a popular over the counter medication used to decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach.

Famotidine, or Pepcid, is an H2 blocker that can assist in treating uncomfortable GI conditions, ranging from acid reflux to gastrointestinal ulcers. Famotidine is over the counter and relatively cheap, making it easily accessible in most cases.

It is not yet approved by the FDA for use in animals, but it has been used off label by veterinarians for quite some time.

Whether it’s given by IV in a hospital setting or prescribed for daily at home use, famotidine can offer significant relief for our canine friends.

Is Famotidine Safe For Dogs?

Famotidine is a safe way to target conditions in dogs that benefit from decreased stomach acid production.

Famotidine has few side effects, few drug interactions, and overdose is extremely rare. Because of this, veterinarians often prescribe it for off label use in treating many forms of GI upset and irritation.

While famotidine is safe for use in dogs, it’s still important to always get permission from your vet before offering this medication to your pup.

This is especially important in dogs with liver disease, kidney disease, and even pregnant and nursing dogs.

Not only can your vet instruct you on how to accurately dose your pup based on their state of health, but they can advise you on whether or not your dog needs to be seen in office.

Why Would A Dog Need Famotidine?

Famotidine can assist in treating or managing a few common medical conditions in our canine friends.

There are many cases in which stomach acid can further aggravate a dog’s current medical state, leading to the need of daily famotidine until the condition resolves.

To help you better understand how this gastroprotectant can help your pup, let’s discuss the most common reasons why a dog needs famotidine below.

Gastrointestinal Ulcers

Dogs can develop painful gastrointestinal ulcers when exposed to harmful bacteria or substances. Not only are the ulcers extremely uncomfortable, but they can begin to bleed when they are irritated.

A bleeding ulcer can quickly become life threatening in some cases, as the dog can bleed to the point of anemia.

Stomach acid can further irritate these ulcers, making it challenging for them to heal.

Famotidine can help to treat GI ulcers by limiting the amount of acid that is present in the stomach and intestines. Not only can famotidine help to prevent further irritation to the ulcers as they heal, but it can bring a dog some much needed relief throughout the process.

Irritating Medications

Famotidine can serve as a gastroprotectant for high risk pups.

For example, if we were sending a dog home from the emergency vet with a long list of medications, we would often suggest starting them on famotidine until they finish their treatment.

Reducing the acid in the intestines can help to prevent any irritation within the GI tract, and hopefully prevent an upset stomach as a result.

It’s important to always ask your vet if this is beneficial for your dog’s situation, as some medications cannot be taken with Pepcid.

Always speak with your vet before adding famotidine to your dog’s treatment plan.

Acid Reflux

Some furry friends can suffer from the uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux.

Though not as common as it is in humans, dogs can experience heartburn and regurgitation when they are experiencing flare ups.

Famotidine can help to decrease the acid present in the stomach, decreasing the overflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

If your dog throws up in the morning or evening before meals, is experiencing increased burping, or even shying away from their food, we suggest speaking with your vet about any possible causes.

If acid reflux is found to be the factor behind their symptoms, your vet may suggest daily famotidine.

Kidney Disease

Famotidine will not cure your dog’s kidney disease, but it can help to prevent some of the complications that come along with it.

A dog with kidney disease can develop ulcers in the mouth or the esophagus due to toxin buildup in the bloodstream.

These ulcers can lead to secondary pain and infection, both of which can further complicate your dog’s disease.

If your dog has been diagnosed with kidney disease, we suggest speaking with your vet about whether or not famotidine can help their situation.

Esophagitis

Dogs can experience esophagitis when their esophagus has been exposed to infection, chronic acid reflux, and even toxic substances.

This inflammation within the esophagus can not only be extremely painful for a dog, but it can be challenging to heal from when stomach acid levels are high.

Famotidine can help to decrease the acid overflowing from the stomach, allowing their esophagus to heal with the use of antibiotics and pain control.

How Do You Give A Dog Famotidine?

If your vet recommends daily famotidine for your dog, you will give it orally in either pill or liquid form.

Famotidine pills have a higher milligram strength, while the liquid suspension will be less concentrated.

The size of your pet will determine which strength is best for your pup, and you will need to speak with your vet to receive proper guidance.

It’s important to note that famotidine should always be given 1 hour before your dog’s first meal, and one hour apart from any other medications.

Failing to do so could decrease the medication’s effectiveness, as well as interfere with other medications that are given.

Famotidine Dosage For Dogs

Before we discuss the standard dosing for famotidine in dogs, we should further state that you should always get permission from your vet before starting your dog on any new medication.

Though famotidine is a safe drug with few side effects, it can interfere with other medications and medical conditions.

The standard dosage for famotidine use in dogs ranges from 0.25mg to 0.5mg per pound.

You will find that Famotidine comes in 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg tablets. For example, A 60 pound dog would need 15mg on the low end and up to 30mg on the higher end. Your vet will tell you what amount to give to your pup based on their weight.

Most vets will recommend giving once per day before their first meal, but this will vary from case to case.

The best way to determine what is best for your pup is through creating a treatment plan with your veterinarian.

Famotidine Side Effects In Dogs

Side effects or complications from famotidine use are rare in dogs, but it can happen.

To help you stay on top of any developing complications in your pup, let’s list some of the potential side effects below.

Potential famotidine side effects in dogs include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation

When starting your dog on daily famotidine, we always suggest watching them closely in the first 72 hours.

If your dog begins to display any of the behaviors mentioned above, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian for further guidance.

Your vet may suggest adjusting your dog’s dose going forward, or they may even discuss a different treatment option.

Keep in mind that if your dog has a chronic medical condition or is taking any other medications, it’s even more important to monitor their behavior closely.

Can Famotidine Be Used Long Term In Dogs?

Most dogs will only need to be on Pepcid for short periods, but some dogs do benefit from daily famotidine use.

Dogs with chronic acid reflux or other GI conditions may find relief with the use of daily gastroprotectants, so much so that long term use of the medication is explored.

Famotidine is safe for long term use as long as you maintain a close relationship with your veterinarian. We also suggest speaking with your vet about the best long term management options for your pup’s acid reflux, as they may have a better option in mind.

Famotidine is an effective tool in managing a list of irritating conditions in our canine friends.

Be sure to discuss the use of famotidine with your vet, and they can help you make the best decision for your furry friend.

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