You may be surprised at just how many conditions that affect us can also affect our dogs. One that you may not expect is stomach ulcers. This can be a very uncomfortable thing for your dog to have to experience – the good news is your vet should recommend a treatment.
Depending on exactly what is causing your pets upset stomach you may be referred to a variety of medications. Famotidine is probably one of the most common medications prescribed to cats and dogs.
What is Famotidine and what is it for?
Famotidine is an over-the-counter medication for dogs which reduces the amount of stomach acid produced. It works as an antihistamine – blocking the chemicals that produce stomach acid when they are overproducing.
It can be used in treatment as well as a form of prevention for stomach ulcers. It can also be used for acid reflux and gastritis.
If your vet has prescribed this medication you should be aware that it is not FDA approved for use in dogs, but is a commonly accepted practice.
How Much Should I Give My Dog?
This medication comes in tablet form and should be given exactly as your vet instructed. The average dosage for a dog is 0.22-0.44mg per pound every 12-24 hours. Depending on your dog’s condition your vet will be able to advise you on proper dosage.
Famotidine is generally sold in 10mg and 20mg tablets. You should not give this medication with food as food can break down the integrity of the medication.
It is uncommon for a dog to overdose on Famotidine – however, if an overdose is suspected (vomiting, pale gums, rapid heart rate or collapse are symptoms) then you should contact your vet immediately.
How Can I Get My Dog to Take a Pill?
I know as well as you do that one of the hardest things to do is get your dog to take a pill. The biggest problem with this medication is that it is not to be given with food – which means the old trick of hiding it in a treat won’t work this time.
Other than treats that disguise the pills, the only other ways to get a dog to take a pill are reluctantly by force. I wish there were another way – if you have a dog who will happily take a pill, get in contact with me, I must know your secrets!
When you have to give your dog a pill without being able to hide it in food, the best route is to open your dog’s mouth and drop the pill as far back in his mouth as possible. Then close his mouth and sort of massage his throat to promote swallowing.
After a minute or so of this, most the time the dog has successfully swallowed the pill. Though you should watch out with this technique – some dogs are tricksters and manage to hide the pill and spit it out later!
Should You Ask Your Vet About Famotidine?
If your pet has been having stomach issues then you may want to ask your vet if Famotidine is the right medication to use. It is always best, even with over-the-counter medications like this one, to get a professionals opinion before giving it to your dog.
In the event that your vet has suggested this medication to you then you should be sure your vet is aware if your dog has kidney, liver or heart disease. This medication can be potentially harmful to dogs who have any of these conditions.
It is also good to let your vet know if your dog is pregnant as this medication may affect the dog’s ability to gain weight properly. If you are unsure about giving this medication to your dog, your vet will be able to advise
you on if it’s the right course of action or not.
Are There Any Side Effects?
As with all medications, there is always a chance for side effects. The most severe side effects occur in dogs who are allergic to the medication. Allergic reaction symptoms include swelling of the face or tongue, hives, shortness of breath among other things.
Other side effects are far less common. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite or tiredness then you should consult with your vet immediately. Most of the time these are only mild side effects though they can be harmful if they persist.
Common FAQs about Famotidine
Can the pills be crushed?
No, Famotidine pills are meant to be given on an empty stomach so they are not meant to be crushed. The best thing you can do is try to get your dog to swallow the pill whole – even though he will likely hate it.
Is there a name brand version?
Yes, the name brand version of Famotidine is Pepcid – both of which are over-the-counter medications.
How long should my pet be on Famotidine?
The length of time your dog (or cat) should be on Famotidine will greatly depend on the condition being treated. In some cases, it may be only a few short weeks while in other cases it may be a life-long solution to an on-going problem.
Is there a liquid form available?
Unfortunately, at this time there is no liquid formula for this medication available. Perhaps in time, there will be one but for now, tablets are the only option available.