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Famotidine (Pepcid) for Dogs

By | Last Updated : 29th December 2017

What is famotidine used for

A histamine-2 receptor antagonist (H-2 blocker) [15], famotidine helps in reducing inflammation of the stomach and esophagus associated with gastritis and esophagitis, preventing injury to the esophagus caused by acid reflux, and decreasing the excessive secretion of histamine triggered by mast cell tumors [1, 10].

It may as well be used for managing bloating, and the symptoms of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) [11, 12]. Another use may be for treating mild diarrhea, as long as there are no other serious signs of illness, like appetite loss, and any abnormal behavior in your pet.

Can dogs safely take famotidine (Pepcid)

The FDA does not approve famotidine for use in animals, but veterinarians commonly prescribe it as an extra-label drug for reducing the production of stomach acid in dogs and cats [3, 4]. Therefore, the medication is used for not just healing ulcers [9] but also for preventing it from forming [2].

Although available as an over-the-counter drug, famotidine should never be given to dogs without a vet’s approval [3].

Quick Information

Famotidine for Dogs

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Generic name

Famotidine [5]

Brand name

Pepcid®, Pepcid AC [3]


Histamine H-2 receptor antagonist [1]

Active Ingredients


Is it approved by FDA

No [3]


Over-the-counter [2, 3]

Who can take it

Dogs, cats, humans [5, 6]


Tablets (10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg), oral powder [1]

How does famotidine (Pepcid) work in dogs

Gastric acid is produced when the H-2 receptors in your pet’s stomach lining are activated. Famotidine, being an H-2 receptor blocking agent, prevents the histamine (a chemical secreted by the ECL cells in the dog’s gastric glands) from binding on to the H-2 receptors of the stomach lining, lessening the secretion of gastric acid [1].

Dosage: How much famotidine (Pepcid) to give to dogs

Make sure to follow the dosing instructions as prescribed by the vet. The typical dosage administered to dogs is 0.25-0.5 mg/lb (0.5-1.0 mg/kg), given every 12-24 hours [1]. Giving it about an hour before food on an empty stomach is believed to make the medicine more effective [5, 7]. The tablets should not be crushed and mixed with your pet’s food [5].

Famotidine usually helps in relieving the symptoms of gastritis, as well as acid reflux within 15-30 minutes of administering the first dose [7]. Even for stomach ulcers, it starts working quite fast for managing the signs.

What to do if you miss giving a dose

If you have missed it by a few hours, you should give it as soon as you remember. If it is time for your dog’s next dose, however, you need to skip it and follow the regular schedule. It is not usually recommended to administer two doses together.

Famotidine (Pepcid) side effects

Although in most cases, no side effects have been reported in pets, some dogs could experience the following adverse effects that are commonly observed in humans [2, 8]:

  • Diarrhea (mucus or blood in the feces, fecal accidents, increased water content in feces) [8]
  • Loss of appetite (refusing to eat or eating less food) [8]
  • A headache (frequent napping, lack of interest in food, keeping its head low, withdrawing from being petted around the head) [8]
  • Vomiting
  • Dry skin or mouth (very thick saliva, bad breath, cracked tongue, difficulty swallowing and chewing) [8]

Signs of overdose

  • Pale gums [1]
  • Rapid breathing [1]
  • Restlessness [1]

Call your veterinarian if your pet exhibits any of the above symptoms.

Contraindications: When not to give famotidine to your dog

Inform your vet about any current or past medical problems in your dog. Famotidine is usually not given to pets that are:

  • Suffering from heart, kidney, or liver diseases [1]
  • Pregnant or nursing [1]
  • Allergic to famotidine or similar H-2 receptor blockers [5]

For reducing the chances of a drug interaction, famotidine should be used with caution in dogs that are under the following medications:

  • Digoxin [1, 8]
  • Ketoconazole [1, 8]
  • Sucralfate [8]
  • Metoclopramide [8]
  • Antacids [8]

Long term usage of famotidine may lower the intragastric pH below the normal limit in dogs, which may cause the gastric contents to have an injurious effect on the esophagus [13].


    1. Famotidine For Pet Stomach Ulcers – Petcarerx.com
    2. Famotidine For Dogs: Uses, Dosage, And Side Effects – Dogtime.com
    3. Famotidine (Pepcid®) for Dogs and Cats – Petplace.com
    4. Famotidine – 1800petmeds.com
    5. Famotidine – Petmd.com
    6. What Is Famotidine for Cats? – Pets.thenest.com
    7. Why Pepcid®? – Pepcid.com
    8. Famotidine – Vcahospitals.com
    9. Pepcid – Drugs.com
    10. Long-Term Stomach Inflammation in Dogs – Petmd.com
    11. How to Treat Pancreatitis in Dogs – Caninejournal.com
    12. Bloat – Easypetmd.com
    13. Repeated Famotidine Administration Results in a Diminished Effect on Intragastric pH in Dogs – Onlinelibrary.wiley.com
    14. My dog Has Diarrhea, What Should I Do – Fairwayanimalhospital.com
    15. Famotidine for Veterinary Use – Wedgewoodpetrx.com

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