Famotidine (Pepcid) for Dogs

Famotidine is an H-2 blocker (histamine-2 receptor antagonist) used for relieving esophageal and abdominal inflammation or esophagitis and gastritis, respectively, in dogs. Additionally, Famotidine helps prevent and minimize the chances of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRD) and checks excessive histamine discharge caused by mast cell tumor (MCT). Promoted and sold under the brand name Pepcid, Famotidine also aids in controlling symptoms associated with pancreatitis and bloating.

Since Famotidine works as an H-2 blocker, arresting gastric acid production, veterinarians essentially prescribe this medication for managing gastric ulcers. Pepcid was initially formulated for humans but, in due course, was painstakingly reformulated for coping with gastrointestinal inflammations in animals. Sometimes Famotidine is used for the treatment of mild diarrhea as well as stomach inflammation resulting from kidney failure.

Famotidine at a Glance

Brand Name


Generic Name (Active Ingredient)


Drug Type

Histamine blocker/H-2 receptor antagonist

Does FDA approve the drug for veterinary use?




Is it safe for animals?

Especially recommended for cats

Available forms

Tablets (10mg, 20mg, and 40mg), oral powder


Is it Safe for Your Dog to Take Famotidine?

Though FDA has not permitted using Pepcid for veterinary purposes, vets continue to prescribe the medication for the conditions above. Famotidine is one of the few veterinary drugs that don't need a prescription for purchase which means you can buy it over-the-counter. Despite FDA not approving the use of Famotidine for animals, it has been found that the drug has been extensively prescribed for dogs to good effect.

Vets by and extensively recommended Pepcid as an 'extra-label' or 'off-label' medication to thwart the unwarranted secretion of gastric acid in dogs. Hence this drug is not only used for treating and healing peptic ulcers but also to prevent the development and outbreak of the condition.

Famotidine Pharmacokinetics in Dogs

As a histamine-2 blocker or H2 receptor antagonist, Famotidine binds to H-2 receptors in the abdomen lining that cause acid reflux. Once the Pepcid molecules attach to H2 receptors, gastric acid production comes down, preventing acid from flowing back into the esophagus. Though Famotidine is chiefly prescribed for curing peptic or gastric ulcers in dogs, the medication also helps relieve heartburn caused by acid reflux.

Peptic or gastric ulcers occur when the stomach lining is eroded due to excessive gastric juice secretion in the abdomen. The abdominal lining that protects and prevents gastric juices from coming in contact with the stomach could become injured when infected by H. pylori bacterium. Though H. pylori bacteria usually infect the gut, they can steadily spread to the intestines, infecting the entire gastrointestinal tract. 

Unlike most other H-2 blockers, Famotidine doesn't interact or react with anything other than H2 receptors in the stomach wall. Consequently, there are very few side effects that occur from short-term or long-term Pepcid use.  

Dosage: What is the Prescribed Amount You Should Offer to Your Dog?

Pet owners should always obey the instructions suggested by their respective vets about administering this medication. The normal dosage of Famotidine for dogs prescribed by vets varies from 0.25 mg/lb-.05 mg/lb (0.5-1.0 mg/kg) to be administered 1-2 times every 24 hours. Though Famotidine is an over-the-counter drug, you'd play it safe if you offered the medication after getting a prescription from your vet.

Unlike most other canine medicines, Pepcid works best if you give the drug 1-2 hours before mealtime. Your dog will get relief from acid reflux or gastritis symptoms within 15-25 minutes of offering the dose.

Common Side Effects of Famotidine

Side effects rarely occur in dogs, but a few pets could undergo the same effects usually experienced by humans. Some of the most common side effects that dogs experience after taking Pepcid include:-

  • Dry mouth and skin mouth and skin
  • Vomiting
  • Headache with loss of appetite, occasional dozing, and lying down most of the time
  • Diarrhea

Overdose Signs & Symptoms

  • Restlessness
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Pallid gums

Famotidine Contraindications

Don't offer Famotidine to your dog if:-

  • It's nursing or pregnant
  • Suffering from liver, kidney or heart disease
  • Allergic to the drug

Disclaimer: The above content is based on multiple research articles referred to online. Global Dog Breeds intends to share information, but it's strictly advised to consult a veterinarian and seek advice before using any medications described. We believe each condition and dog is unique, and only after careful evaluation from a qualified professional should you be offering any medications to your pet.

Write a comment
Please Enter Your Name here
Please Enter Your Email here
Please Enter Your Message here
Please Enter Your Product Rating here