- Medication type: Proton-pump inhibitor
- Form: Liquid, Capsule, Tablet, Paste
- Prescription required? Available with and without a prescription
- FDA approved? No
- Brand names: Prilosec & Prilosec OTC (human drugs), Gastrogard (equine)
- Common names: Omeprazole, Prilosec
- Available dosages: 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg tablets; 2 mg/mL, 4 mg/mL suspension, 50 mg/g, 100 mg/g, 370 mg/g equine paste
- Expiration range: Tablets or capsules have a shelf life of up to 3 years. Liquid has a shelf life of 2 years in powder form or 28 days once reconstituted (mixed with water).
If your dog has ever experienced an upset stomach, it’s only natural to wonder “can dogs take omeprazole?” and “when should I give omeprazole to my dog?”
The truth is that dogs can take omeprazole, in some cases, but not all dogs benefit from this medication. Omeprazole should only be given under the guidance of a veterinarian who is familiar with your dog’s stomach issues and overall medical history.
Read on to learn more about this medication.
What Is Omeprazole?
Omeprazole is a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) that decreases stomach acid production. This medication was initially developed in Sweden in 1979, and it became available in the United States in 1989.
Omeprazole is often used in humans. It’s available in almost any human drugstore and can often be purchased over-the-counter. Although omeprazole is not labeled for use in dogs, veterinarians often recommend it for canine patients. Some veterinarians stock omeprazole in their practice, but most veterinarians instead direct clients to a human drugstore to purchase this medication.
What Does Omeprazole for Dogs Look Like?
Omeprazole is available in tablet or capsule form and it is often pink or purple in color.
If capsules or tablets are not an option for your pet, your veterinarian may prescribe omeprazole oral suspension (liquid). Compounded formulations of omeprazole (such as flavored chews) may also be available through a compounding pharmacy.
Omeprazole is also available in an equine paste formulation in many livestock stores. This paste contains a high concentration of omeprazole, however, and it can be difficult to dose safely in dogs. Do not use horse medication in dogs unless you are instructed to do so by your veterinarian.
How Does Omeprazole Work?
Omeprazole blocks acid production in the stomach.
This medication is a proton pump inhibitor, which means it inhibits a specific enzyme pump inside the cells of the stomach lining. This enzyme pump produces stomach acid; blocking its activity halts acid production.
Omeprazole begins to decrease acid production in as little as one hour. However, it takes several days of continuous dosing to see the maximum benefits associated with this medication. Therefore, omeprazole is often given on a daily basis for an extended period of time, instead of being used on an as-needed basis.
What Is Omeprazole Used for in Dogs?
Omeprazole can be used to treat a variety of conditions.
Veterinarians often recommend omeprazole for dogs with known or suspected ulcers of the stomach or small intestine. Omeprazole can also be used to treat gastritis, a condition in which the lining of the stomach is inflamed and irritated. Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) may also benefit from omeprazole treatment, especially when that esophagitis is caused by gastric reflux.
Some common medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can predispose dogs to developing ulcers in their stomach and intestines. If your dog needs long-term NSAID treatment, your veterinarian may prescribe concurrent omeprazole to reduce the risk of ulcers.
Finally, omeprazole can decrease the production of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain. For this reason, it may be recommended to treat some brain disorders, such as hydrocephalus and syringomyelia.
Indications for omeprazole:
- Stomach ulcers
- Small intestinal ulcers
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Long-term use of NSAIDs
How to Give Omeprazole for Dogs
Omeprazole is typically given once daily. It works best when given on an empty stomach, before your dog’s first meal of the day. In some situations, your veterinarian may recommend dosing omeprazole twice daily to provide more continuous control of acid production.
If you have difficulty giving this medication to your dog, you can try hiding it in a small amount of cheese or peanut butter. (Avoid sugar-free peanut butter, which may contain toxic xylitol.) Try to limit the amount of food used to administer omeprazole, however, because omeprazole works best when given on an empty stomach.
Omeprazole Side Effects in Dogs
The most common side effects seen with omeprazole in dogs include diarrhea and/or constipation. Some dogs also experience vomiting, loss of appetite, and gas, although it can be difficult to determine whether these are medication side effects or caused by the underlying stomach condition.
Potential side effects include:
- Decreased appetite
Omeprazole should be used with caution in dogs who have kidney or liver disease. These dogs may be at higher risk of side effects.
Reactions With Other Drugs and Medications
Omeprazole can interact with a number of other medications, including antibiotics, benzodiazepines (diazepam, alprazolam, etc.), antifungal agents, clopidogrel, phenytoin, digoxin, and levothyroxine.
Talk to your veterinarian about any medications your dog is taking (prescription medications, over-the-counter, and vitamin supplements) before giving omeprazole. This will minimize the risk of harmful drug interactions.
Omeprazole Dosage for Dogs
Omeprazole doses are based upon your dog’s body weight and the medical condition that requires treatment. Your veterinarian will calculate the best omeprazole dose for your dog, maximizing clinical benefits while minimizing the risk of side effects.
What if My Dog Misses a Dose of Omeprazole?
If you miss a dose and you realize your error within a few hours, give the missed dose as soon as possible.
If the missed dose will be given more than a few hours late, it’s best to skip the missed dose. Wait until the next scheduled dosing time to give your dog’s next dose of omeprazole. Do not give two doses at once or give extra doses of omeprazole.
If you have any questions about missed doses or your dog’s dosing schedule, contact your veterinarian.
Omeprazole for Dogs Cost
Omeprazole is a relatively inexpensive medication, depending on your dog’s dose and the duration of therapy. Generic forms are often available for less than $20/month.
Omeprazole Storage Instructions
Omeprazole tablets and capsules should be stored at room temperature. Protect this medication from light and moisture by storing it in its original container.
Liquid omeprazole or compounded omeprazole should be stored according to your veterinarian’s or pharmacist’s instructions.