Whenever your pup gets prescribed a new medication, it is common to have lots of questions. After all, we want what is best for our furry friends. This includes their medication. Or, perhaps your pooch has issues with heartburn, and you’re researching medications they could possibly take. We’ll explore the uses of famotidine, its effectiveness, the side effects, and much more.
What Is Famotidine for Dogs?
Famotidine is also known by the brand name Pepcid. There is no difference between these medications. Which name you’ll hear simply matters on your location and specific veterinarian.
This medication works by reducing the production of stomach acid, which can help a number of conditions. This drug can also be used along with other treatments or as a supporting drug after surgery. However, it is important to point out that famotidine is not FDA approved for use in dogs. Despite this, it is common for it to be subscribed by veterinarians. Because there is no approved treatment guide for this medication, it is especially important to follow your vet’s directions.
What is Famotidine Used for in Dogs?
Most of the time, famotidine is used to treat gastrointestinal ulcers in dogs. Ulcers are produced when the stomach or intestines are damaged by the stomach acid or infections. Because famotidine lessens stomach acid production, it can allow these ulcers to heal more easily and quickly.
Furthermore, famotidine can also be used to treat acid reflux, heartburn, esophagitis and gastritis. Once again, this is because it reduces the production of stomach acid, which causes these conditions. Sometimes, famotidine is also used to prevent the forming of ulcers. This is especially true if a dog is at a heightened chance to develop the formation of ulcers, such as in the case of renal failure.
Famotidine Dosage for Dogs
Your vet is the only person that can adequately prescribe a correct dosage for your pup because it’s not approved by the FDA. You should also continue to treat your pet with this medication until you are instructed to stop. If your dog has ulcers caused by an infection, it is also probable that he or she will be prescribed an antibiotic.
Because of how famotidine works, it is extremely important to avoid missing the doses, as instructed by a veterinarian. If a dose is missed, it is possible for stomach acid production to speed up and symptoms to reemerge. Famotidine usually comes in 10 milligrams (mg) tablets, though 20 mg tablets are sold as well. However, the dosage for a dog is usually far below this, so tablets may have to be split up and given in pieces.
Famotidine Injection for Dogs
Famotidine injections are also occasionally offered to dogs. However, this form is almost always given exclusively in the vet office. This is because it is often easier for the average pet owner to give a pet a tablet as opposed to an injection. Still, if a pet is not eating well, an injection might be given instead. Famotidine injections are also not FDA approved for use in dogs.
Famotidine for Dogs Side Effects
Just like every medication, famotidine does have side effects that can affect your pooch. Luckily, the side effects are rare and often minimal. This is why this medication is usually a favorite and prescribed by vets.
The adverse effects of this medication have not been completely documented. Adverse effects that have been documented in humans include factors such as cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dry mouth or skin, and weakness. However, because the effects have not been completely documented, it is important to keep an eye out for any strange reactions from your canine and to report them to your vet as soon as possible.
Is Famotidine for Dogs Effective?
One study was done on 12 healthy beagles. These beagles were split into a number of groups and given different medications that were designed to repress the production of stomach acid. A number of the medications, including famotidine, were found to significantly reduce the production of stomach acid. However, another study was done only using the medications omeprazole and famotidine. Omeprazole was superior in the treatment of acid-related disorders in dogs.
Furthermore, another study looked into the effectiveness of omeprazole and famotidine in sled dogs. Sled dogs commonly experience exercise-related gastritis, and are commonly given stomach acid reducing medication because of this. Once again, it was found that even in high does, famotidine was less effective than omeprazole.
Famotidine vs. Omeprazole
If, like the previous studies have shown us, omeprazole is more effective than famotidine, why do vets prescribe famotidine at all? Famotidine has significantly less side effects than omeprazole. Plus, omeprazole must be taken with food to be absorbed or work effectively. Depending on the specific disorder, it can be very difficult to prompt a dog to eat a substantial amount of food.
Particular situations, as well, can make feeding your pet unreasonable. For example, food can almost never be given directly after surgery, though a reduction in stomach acid might be needed. Both medications have their place. Only your vet can choose the correct medication for your canine’s specific situation.
References and Further Reading:
Bersenas, A., 2005, “Effects of ranitidine, famotidine, pantoprazole, and omeprazole on intragastric pH in dogs,” American Journal of Veterinary Research
FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, “Animal Drugs @ FDA”
Lifelearn Inc., “Famotidine,” VCA Hospitals
Tolbert, K., 2010, “Efficacy of Oral Famotidine and 2 Omeprazole Formulations for the Control of Intragastric pH in Dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Williamson, K., 2010, “Efficacy of Omeprazole versus High‐Dose Famotidine for Prevention of Exercise‐Induced Gastritis in Racing Alaskan Sled Dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Williamson, K., 2008, “Efficacy of Famotidine for the Prevention of Exercise‐Induced Gastritis in Racing Alaskan Sled Dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Williams, E., 2020, “Side Effects of Pepcid (Famotidine)” RxList