While several human medications may be highly toxic to dogs, the good news is that the use of Pepcid AC for dog upset stomach is often veterinarian recommended. Also, known as famotidine, Pepcid AC is an anti-acid that is commonly available over the counter. The letters “AC” simply stands for acid controller.
While this drug isn’t FDA approved to be used in dogs and cats, veterinarians often prescribe it as an extra-label drug.
How Does Pepcid Help Dogs with an Upset Stomach?
This medication works well for dogs with stomach and duodenal ulcers whether developed as a side effect from steroids or non-steroidal ant inflammatory drugs, a secondary complication from conditions such as acute kidney failure or mast cell tumors, or even stress. It can also be prescribed for gastritis, esophagitis, acid reflux disease and Helicopbacter infection. Preventively, Pepcid may be prescribed to reduce injury to the esophagus due to being exposed to excessive acid as in chronic vomiting, megaesophagus or from an overdose of aspirin.
Pepcid AC along with Zantac, Axid and Tagamet belongs to a group of anti-ulcer medications known as histamine H2 receptor antagonists which prevent the stomach from producing acid. Acid production in the stomach is controlled by gastrin, acetylcholine and histamine. As their name implies, the above medications work by blocking the histamine H2 receptors responsible for the production of acid.
Pepcid Dosage for Dogs
Pepcid comes in two dosages: 10 and 20 mg tablets. According to veterinarian Dr. Debra Primovic, the dosage of Pepcid for dogs is 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound given every 12 to 24 hours. This drug should be given without food as food will decrease its effectiveness.
Precautions and Side Effects
As with other medications, Pepcid should be given only under the guidance of a veterinarian. Pepcid should be given with caution to dogs suffering from heart, kidney or liver disease. As with other drugs, there’s the chance for interactions with other drugs. Do not give to dogs allergic to famotidine. While relatively safe, Pepcid in dogs may cause side effects such as loss of appetite and drowsiness. Signs of overdose include vomiting, increased heart rate, red mouth and ears, pale gums, restlessness, low blood pressure and collapse. Something to be aware of when giving this drug is the fact that once stopped, there’s a rebound effect where the production of acid is temporarily increased, but this is more common with cimetidine (Tagamet). Long-term use of Pepcid may lead to decrease in vitamin B12.
Effective for up to 24 hours, Pepcid is the longest lasting drug in the H2 receptor antagonist category and is reported to be 32 times stronger than Tagament in inhibiting the release of acid and 9 times stronger than Zantac.