- Medication type: Antihistamine, Antacid
- Form: Tablet, Injection, Powder
- Prescription required? No
- FDA approved? No
- Brand names: Pepcid, Pepcid AC, Pepzan, Zantac 360
- Common names: Famotidine
- Available dosages: Tablets: 10 mg, 20mg, and 40 mg; powder for oral suspension: 40 mg/5 ml; injection: 10 mg/1 ml, 20 mg/50 ml
- Expiration range: Film-coated tablets have an expiration date 30 months from manufacture date when stored as recommended.
Though you may not be familiar with the name, famotidine is a medication that’s commonly used by humans. In fact, many people keep it on hand at home for occasional bouts of heartburn and indigestion. In dogs, famotidine is also used as a stomach acid reducer to help treat conditions like acid reflux and uremic gastropathy.
Famotidine is safe and readily available, making it many veterinarians’ first choice when recommending an antacid. Although this medication is available over the counter, you should still consult your veterinarian before using it to ensure it will be safe and effective for your dog’s condition.
Read on the learn more about famotidine in dogs and how to use this common medication for your pup.
What is Famotidine?
Famotidine is a type of medication called an H2 blocker or, more formally, a histamine H2 receptor antagonist, and it’s used to decrease the production of stomach acid.
It is not FDA approved for use in animals and no veterinary products are available, but the human product is used off-label for conditions such as esophagitis, gastritis, esophageal reflux, and gastrinoma. It is available over the counter as a tablet and many generic products are available.
Is Famotidine Safe for Dogs?
Famotidine is safe for dogs when dosed appropriately, and side effects are rarely seen when this medication is used as directed by your veterinarian. The medication is available over the counter in all parts of the country, but you should consult your veterinarian before using it for your dog.
What Does Famotidine for Dogs Look Like?
Famotidine is most commonly available as an OTC oral tablet. Because famotidine is available in many generic forms, the exact appearance of the tablet will vary depending on the manufacturer. Famotidine may also go by the brand names Pepcid, Pepcid AC, or Zantac, among others.
How Does Famotidine Work?
Famotidine works by blocking histamine H2 receptors in the stomach, which stops the stomach from producing more acid. This helps relieve symptoms caused by hyperacidity in the stomach, such as heartburn, gastric ulcers, and acid indigestion. However, studies have shown that famotidine has a decreased effect over time with repeated use in dogs and cats.
What is Famotidine Used for In Dogs?
Famotidine is used to decrease stomach acid in situations where stomach acidity may be excessive or harmful. This includes conditions such as:
- Gastric ulcers (prevention and treatment)
- Esophageal reflux
- Duodenal-gastric reflux
- Exercise-related erosive gastritis
- Uremic gastropathy
How to Give Famotidine to Dogs
Famotidine is typically provided as a tablet you can give to your dog by mouth. To make administering the medicine easier, you can hide the tablet in a pill pocket or a treat such as a small amount of cheese. To persuade your dog into taking the hidden tablet, first give your dog a treat without the pill. Then give your dog the treat with the pill hidden inside, and immediately follow it up with another pill-less treat. Your dog should be so busy enjoying the treats that they won’t even notice the pill!
Alternatively, you can “pill” your dog by giving them the tablet orally without food. To do this, hold your dog’s head up with their nose pointed toward the ceiling. Gently open your dog’s mouth and place the pill as far back on the tongue as you can. Gently hold your dog’s mouth closed and keep their head pointed upward until they swallow – you can also blow on their nose or stroke their throat to encourage swallowing. Once they swallow, you’ve successfully administered the tablet!
Famotidine for Dogs Side Effects
Famotidine is a relatively safe drug and most dogs do not experience side effects when the medication is given at appropriate dosages. In humans, the following side effects have been reported:
- Hypersensitivity reactions
- Abnormal liver and renal levels in blood work
If you suspect your dog may be having an adverse reaction to famotidine, stop giving the medication and contact your veterinarian.
Reactions With Other Drugs and Medications
Because famotidine impacts gastric (stomach) acid and the pH of the stomach, it may affect the absorption of other drugs that are administered by mouth. Similarly, famotidine may not be well-absorbed if given with other oral antacids.
Famotidine Dosage for Dogs
The dose of famotidine varies depending on your dog’s weight. Although famotidine is available over the counter, you should always consult your veterinarian to confirm the correct dosage prior to starting this medication for your dog. Never give your dog over-the-counter medications unless your veterinarian has recommended that you do so.
What If My Dog Misses a Dose of Famotidine?
If your dog misses a dose of famotidine, give the dose as soon as you remember. If the next dose is due soon, do not give a double dose to make up for the missed dose. Simply continue on with the dosing schedule as prescribed. If your dog misses multiple doses of medication, consult your veterinarian to find out how best to proceed.
Cost of Famotidine for Dogs
Famotidine is available over the counter in many generic forms, making it relatively inexpensive for dogs. Pet owners should expect to spend no more than $20 for a 30-day supply of famotidine for dogs.
Famotidine Storage Instructions
Famotidine film-coated tablets should be stored at controlled room temperature (77 degrees Fahrenheit) in tight, light-resistant containers.