Pepcid AC 101: Famotidine For Dogs (Side Effects of Pepcid)

If you’re one of those unlucky people who wakes up with searing heartburn pain after you visit your favorite Mexican restaurant, then you’re probably best friends with a drug called Pepcid AC. If you’re worried about your dog having digestive problems, Pepcid AC may be prescribed by your veterinarian. – Famotidine for Dogs

Many vets prescribe Pepcid AC or famotidine, so most dog owners learn to give the drug to their dogs when they get sick. But few dog parents know that providing any medicine without knowing the correct dosage or the vet’s recommendation can be dangerous.

Pepcid AC is a pretty standard medicine, but it can have serious side effects if a dog takes it incorrectly.

No dog parent should ever risk giving a dog any medicine without the vet’s approval. Even a drug as common as Pepcid AC can be dangerous if taken incorrectly or excessively, so a lot goes into puppers and medicines.

Let’s talk about this in a little more detail:

Fast Facts: What is Famotidine (Pepcid)?

Big words like famotidine intimidate dog parents but don’t worry; famotidine is a drug that treats stomach ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. Famotidine is a common over-the-counter (OTC) used to reduce stomach acid. But how does it work? Let’s review some quick facts about famotidine:

  • When the body faces an injury or allergic reaction, it releases histamine, a hormone that counteracts specific chemical reactions
  • In the stomach, histamine aids in the production of acids that regulate and help with digestion
  • Excessive production of gastric acids in the stomach can be harmful; excess acid reacts and harms the lining of the stomach and the intestine.
  • Famotidine is a histamine-2 blocker, which means it stops the production or release of histamines in the stomach
  • Taking any medicine with famotidine reduces inflammation, acid production, and even allergic reactions
  • Famotidine works by covering the cells responsible for releasing and producing histamines, effectively blocking them
  • Famotidine doesn’t only treat stomach ulcers; when combined with particular physician-approved medicines, the drug can also reduce symptoms of allergies, hives, and even Covid-19
  • Famotidine comes under various brands; Pepcid, Zantac, Fluxid, and Acid Controller are all variations of the same drug.
  • Pepcid is one of the most common famotidine medicines
  • Famotidine is not a human-specific drug; vets can prescribe famotidine to dogs, cats, and even horses
  • The dosage of famotidine varies for animals and humans; with our doctor’s recommendation, we can frequently take famotidine, but overeating famotidine can be troublesome for animals
  • You can take medicines containing famotidine as an oral suspension, tablet, or an injection

Can I Give My Dog Pepcid AC?

Pepcid AC 101: Famotidine For Dogs (Side Effects of Pepcid)

Pepcid AC (famotidine) is actually a histamine blocker, meaning it blocks the chemical histamine from creating an allergic response in the body. In this case, it treats a variety of digestive upsets like ulcers, gastritis (the inflammation of the stomach), and acid reflux.

Pepcid AC is most commonly prescribed when there’s a chance for stomach irritation or ulceration. This can be in cases of a Helicobacter infection, parvovirus, or inflammatory bowel disease.

Many vets will send dogs home on a Pepcid AC regimen after they’ve ingested a toxin, such as Tylenol, that can lead to ulcers in the stomach. It’s also great for dogs who are on medications that cause stomach irritation.

It coats the stomach to prevent irritation or ulceration and allows the medication or toxin to pass without harming the stomach.

If your dog frequently gets sick from stomach ulcers or inflammatory conditions, you can give Pepcid AC to ease its pain. Generally, vets will prescribe famotidine or Pepcid AC to treat chronic stomach problems, GERD, gastric reflux, nausea, esophagitis, and vomiting.

Most of the time, eating Pepcid AC won’t do much to your dog except help it with its stomach problems. Ulcers are generally uncomfortable but are far more painful for the lovely puppers who rely on us. Giving Pepcid AC or any other medicine with famotidine can relieve a dog’s pain.

But don’t start giving your dog Pepcid AC every time it gets an upset stomach; although beneficial, overeating Pepcid AC can be harmful to animals. And although it is pretty rare, some dogs might not tolerate famotidine as easily as other dogs.

Since there’s a lot you need to know about famotidine for dogs, let’s look into the topic in detail.

GERD in Dogs

GERD in Dogs

Does your dog frequently get sick after eating? Is it uncomfortable for your dog to digest food? Does your dog feel pain after eating? If the answer to all these questions is yes, your dog might have GERD.

GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a condition in which stomach acid frequently bubbles up from the stomach to the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach, making swallowing difficult if filled with acid.

GERD is quite different from your usual acid reflux; you can quickly treat acid reflux and hope on medicines to keep you safe, but GERD is a chronic condition in which the stomach frequently produces acid.

GERD is quite painful and uncomfortable because frequent contact with gastric acids can damage cells and make it difficult for one to eat and digest food.

Humans also get GERD, but treatment is much easier for us because we can express discomfort and pain. Our sweet innocent furry pawls cannot tell us when they are in pain, so treating a dog’s GERD is a little tricky.

What Does GERD Do?

In GERD, the gastric acid produced in the stomach moves upward to the esophagus. Once there, the stomach acid begins to mildly corrode or irritate the lining of cells coating the inner side of the esophageal tube.

Acid bubbling up in the esophagus causes a severe burning sensation that doesn’t go away by trying mild remedies like drinking water.

General acid reflux is equally uncomfortable, but the burning sensation goes away when the acid reduces on its own; this is not the case with GERD. Since the body of a dog with GERD continues producing stomach acid, gastric reflux keeps appearing and is challenging to manage.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has GERD?

OTCs with famotidine like Pepcid can manage GERD, but you won’t be able to help your dog if you don’t know it suffers from the condition. You can always take your pupper to the vet to find out if your dog has GERD, but some signs might hint at it:

●    Loss of Appetite

An acid that travels to the esophagus can make it difficult to eat, so a dog with GERD will begin to lay off its food. If your dog maintains a healthy diet but suddenly experiences loss of appetite, it might have stomach problems like GERD.

●    Difficulty Swallowing

The esophagus gently moves the food we chew to our stomachs. Stomach acid bubbling to the esophagus leads to blockage, making it difficult to swallow.

If your dog gulps a lot and hesitates before swallowing, it’s a sign of a blocked esophagus. An acidic esophagus will also push chewed food back to the mouth, so keep an eye out for your dog burping, retching, or vomiting.

●    Unusual Behavior Close to Eating

We all know how much dogs love food; they can’t stay away from anything close to edible. However, GERD makes eating painful and uncomfortable, so dogs will hesitate to swallow.

Your dog might also display unusual or erratic behavior close to mealtimes; it might have GERD if it whines, acts weirdly, or isn’t as enthusiastic as usual about eating.

●    Bark Changes

You must be familiar with the weird burning sensation that hits your throat when you have acid reflux. This burning sensation is literally the gastric acid damaging your throat.

Gastric acid can trigger a sore throat, making it difficult to speak. Like us, dogs with sore or acidic throats will have trouble voicing. If you notice any changes in your dog’s bark, or if your dog’s barks get unnaturally coarse and ruff, your dog might be a victim of GERD.

●    Dehydration

Constantly licking lips, sticking out the tongue, panting, and frequently seeking water are common signs of dehydration in dogs. GERD can quickly dehydrate dogs, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on its symptoms.

Treatment of GERD

Usually, vets prescribe antacids to manage GERD. Your vet might prescribe antacids like famotidine, omeprazole, and cimetidine to treat your dog’s GERD. While these drugs can manage and neutralize a dog’s stomach acid, the acid can return anytime.

Some vets may recommend medications that strengthen the esophagus so gastric acid can’t harm it. Vets will typically pair these strengthening drugs with famotidine.

Yet, in dogs with severe and chronic GERD, symptoms can still reappear even after taking antacids and strengthening medicines. In this case, giving these medicines isn’t enough, so vets will prescribe additional OTCs that work by coating the esophagus, preventing it from contacting the stomach acid.

Most doggo owners will look toward home remedies, but you must not fall for such gimmicks. Home remedies may prove effective when treating general acid reflux, but they might not be enough when countering chronic GERD.

Some foods can trigger GERD, so vets may suggest changing your dog’s diet and improving its general lifestyle.

Famotidine for Dogs

Brand Names for Famotidine

Famotidine is a chemical drug that counters and reduces acid production in the stomach. In some cases, famotidine can boost immunity by attacking inflammation, soothing specific allergic reactions, and healing cells.

You already know the drill if your vet prescribed famotidine to your dog. However, new dog parents often get confused when they need to refill a prescription for Pepcid, and the pharmacist hands them Zantac instead. Many dog parents don’t know that Zantac is quite similar to famotidine.

Famotidine comes in all shapes and sizes; it is a common ingredient in antacids and general gastric OTCs. Different pharmaceutical brands produce medicines with famotidine and sell them using distinct names.

Let’s talk about the common brands selling medicines with famotidine.

●    Pepcid AC

Pepcid AC

Pepcid AC

Pepcid is the most common famotidine brand. You’ll see Pepcid in all pharmacies; this brand of medicine is available as an OTC.

Pepcid is a pharmaceutical brand that specializes in treating heartburn and gastrointestinal problems.

●    Zantac



Zantac is another brand that provides antacid medicine containing ranitidine. Don’t worry; ranitidine is quite similar to famotidine. Sometimes, we can take Zantac as an alternative to Pepcid, but vets typically don’t prescribe this medicine to dogs.

Uses of Famotidine for Dogs

Can a vet prescribe famotidine to dogs as a treatment for something other than GERD? What are the uses of famotidine for dogs? Let’s find out:

●    Treatment and Healing of Ulcers

Famotidine can treat and heal gastric and intestinal ulcers in dogs.

●    Countering Acidity

Vets can prescribe famotidine to dogs to treat stomach acidity and acid reflux.

●    Mast Cell Tumor Treatment

In dogs with mast cell tumors, famotidine can help boost immunity and treat inflammation.

●    Kidney Failure Induced Stomach Acidity

Dogs with chronic kidney issues or sudden kidney failure can develop acidity. Vets might prescribe famotidine to treat this stomach acidity.

How is Famotidine Supplied?

Certain pharmaceutical companies will add famotidine and supply it as an antacid.

Famotidine has three main variations, tablet, oral suspension, and injections.

●    Tablet


Famotidine tablets come in 10, 20, or 40 milligrams.

●    Oral Powder/Suspension

You can get a 5 0 milligram oral powdery suspension of famotidine.

●    Injections

Injections are available in 20 milligrams per 50 milliliters.

Is Pepcid Routinely Prescribed to Pets?

You might be a little surprised to hear this, considering Pepcid can treat ulcers and stomach acidity in dogs, but it isn’t a typical treatment for your puppers. Yes, a vet may prescribe Pepcid to a dog, but certain conditions permit such a prescription.

Pepcid is a famotidine medicine mainly prescribed to humans; it isn’t a typical medicine most vets recommend. However, there aren’t many variations of famotidine for dogs

If famotidine is not a routine medicine for dogs, why do vets prescribe Pepcid? Well, there are certain variations of prescription medicines, and famotidine is an extra-label drug. An extra-label drug isn’t a general prescription for animals, but some vets may prescribe it if it meets the treatment criteria.

Of course, you must never give extra-label drugs without the vet’s recommendation since they can be harmful if taken incorrectly. Although Pepcid is not a routine antacid for dogs, giving it to your pupper according to the vet’s guidelines is safe.

Will Pepcid AC Hurt My Dog – Is it Safe?

There are a few medical conditions that make Pepcid AC a poor choice. Dogs with preexisting liver and kidney problems shouldn’t be on Pepcid because it can be difficult for these organs to metabolize certain drugs when damaged.

Dogs with stomach cancer shouldn’t have Pepcid, nor should dogs who have shown a sensitivity to other H2 receptor antagonist drugs. If this sounds like a foreign language, good! That means you’ll have to visit your vet to decide if Pepcid AC is the best choice for your dog.

Pepcid Dosage for Dogs

Never administer famotidine without the vet’s recommendation. Incorrectly giving famotidine to your dog can be dangerous. You must never guess the dosage of Pepcid for dogs; always consult the vet and get the correct dosage.

The dosage of famotidine depends on your dog’s weight; typically, vets recommend giving up to 0.2-0.5 milligrams per pound. Mostly, you’ll have to administer the medicine every 12 hours.

However, you must never wing the frequency and dosage of Pepcid for dogs. Ironically, taking Pepcid frequently and excessively can develop natural immunity toward the medicine, which reduces its effects.

How Much Pepcid AC Can I Give My Dog?

Famotidine (Pepcid AC) is typically given once to twice daily. If it’s to protect your dog’s stomach from an irritating medication, you’ll give it on an empty stomach a half hour before you administer the prescribed medicine. If there is food in the stomach, the famotidine within Pepcid AC can’t effectively coat the stomach, thus allowing irritation to take place.

Dogs less than 20 pounds will get a 1/4 tablet, dogs between 20 and 60 pounds will get a 1/2 tablet, and dogs over 60 pounds will get an entire tablet. The typical tablet is 20 mg, but there are also 10 mg tablets on the market. Ask your vet what size would be best for the easiest dosing possible.

These dog dosages are variable and will depend on what your dog is taking the drug for, their size, and how long they need to remain on the famotidine (Pepcid AC). A quick call to your vet should fill in any blanks.

What If My Dog Gets Too Much Pepcid AC?

It’s pretty hard to overdose a dog on Pepcid AC. It’s a relatively innocuous drug, and it’s safe even in large amounts. If your dog does get too much famotidine and you’re worried about an overdose, keep an eye out for fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heartbeat (either very high or very low), and difficulty breathing. Low blood pressure is also a concern. Symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness, a rapid and irregular heartbeat, and fainting.

Potential Side Effects of Pepcid

What happens if a dog overeats Pepcid? If your dog excessively takes Pepcid or more than the required/recommended dosage, it can get sick.

Dogs might get diarrhea, stomachache, loss of appetite, lethargy/fatigue, difficulty in moving and breathing, and frequent vomiting.

How to Prevent Unintended Pepcid Exposure

A dog’s most mischievous and frequent habit is stuffing things into its mouth without thinking. Your dog can pick anything by snatching it in its mouth, so you never know whether your dog has eaten something unhealthy.

If your dog likes to jump on the medicine tablet and scan through your medicines, you must act and prevent accidental exposure to drugs like Pepcid:

●    Pet Locks

Get pet locks for all cupboards and cabinets where you store your medicines.

●    Extra Precaution When Handling Meds

Pills in a bottle are similar to rattles and loud chew toys, so you must handle medicines silently to prevent your dog from overhearing and body-slamming you for the pills.

●    Proper Storage

Don’t use plastic or paper bags to store your medicines because a dog can easily chew through them.

What Does Pepcid AC Do for Dogs?

Pepcid AC reduces inflammation, counters the production of stomach acid, and protects the esophagus and the mouth from bubbling acid. Dogs with acid reflux or GERD will vomit, burp or hiccup when the acid rises to their esophagus, but you can quickly treat this with Pepcid AC.

Of course, you must not give your dog Pepcid AC by yourself; always consult the vet.

Are Scrambled Eggs Good for A Dog’s Upset Stomach?

You might hear vets or experienced dog parents recommend serving scrambled eggs to your dog to treat an upset stomach. Surprisingly, this home remedy is quite effective and comes in handy when your dog gets sick and you don’t have any medicines at home.

Gradual servings of scrambled eggs can help calm down a dog’s nausea and vomiting. However, some dogs have an egg intolerance, so you must always consult the vet before taking such a step.

What’s A Good Home Remedy for A Dog with An Upset Stomach?

Oh, home remedies are the one thing that can help ease your dog’s pain. Many doggie parents look toward home remedies for an upset stomach because they are inexpensive, easier, and accessible.

Some home remedies treat your dog’s upset stomach, but you must not try anything without consulting the vet.

Let’s look at some home remedies that you can use to treat your dog’s upset stomach:

●    Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent natural treatment for an upset stomach when mixed with water. Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into your dog’s water bowl.

Your dog might continue vomiting for a while after taking apple cider vinegar, but it’s just the harmful food particles exiting.

●    Ginger

Pepcid AC 101: Famotidine For Dogs (Side Effects of Pepcid)

You can use ginger to soothe and treat your dog’s upset stomach.

●    Chamomile


Chamomile is an excellent home remedy for stomach problems and inflammation. It reduces anxiety and helps your pupper sleep.

What Can I Give My Dog for Vomiting or Digestion Issues?

If your dog is vomiting, there are better options to treat the vomiting than Pepcid AC. If it’s just a minor round of vomiting, the best thing you can do is not give your dog any food or water for about six hours and then feed them a bland diet for 72 hours.

A bland diet consists of boiled rice and boiled chicken or ground beef (no added seasonings).

When your dog is vomiting, monitor them closely for dehydration. Check their skin turgor by pulling up on the skin between their shoulders and letting it go.

If it stays tented, that means your dog is dehydrated and needs to see a veterinarian right away. If it immediately goes flat again, that means your dog is fine.

Other signs of dehydration include a dry mouth or nose, sunken eyes, and pale gums. Keep a very close watch on your dog, and if you notice anything out of the ordinary, then you should call your veterinarian for advice on what to do next. Most likely, your dog will need IV fluids or some fluids under the skin to properly rehydrate them.

Pepcid AC has its place in veterinary medicine, but it should always be given under the direction and advice of a veterinarian.

Pepcid AC works very well in some cases, but there are other procedures and medications available that will work even better for your dog, depending on what they’re suffering from. Making a simple veterinary appointment will ensure your dog is getting the right treatment.

Omeprazole Vs Famotidine for Dogs

In some cases, vets may prescribe a drug called omeprazole instead of famotidine. Omeprazole has similar healing properties as famotidine, but many believe it is far superior to the latter.

Yes, both drugs work effectively, but many vets prefer omeprazole because of its faster and more effective healing. The effects of either on dogs are still considerably new research, but as far as the current records go, omeprazole might be better.

Conclusion | | Pepcid AC 101: Famotidine for Dogs

Famotidine is an effective antacid and inflammatory relief drug. The most common brand under which famotidine is available is Pepcid. You can get Pepcid from any pharmacy.

Dogs can get bad acid reflux and suffer from chronic GERD. Although Pepcid isn’t typically an animal-specific drug, some vets may prescribe it to treat GERD, gastric reflux, inflammation, and ulcers.

Omeprazole, a drug similar to famotidine, is also an alternative treatment; some even believe it is better than famotidine.

However, never administer any drug or medicine to your dog without prior consultation with the vet. You must never guess the dosage and frequency of Pepcid; always consult the vet before administering the treatment.


●    What Should I Do If I Miss Giving a Dose of Famotidine?

We’re human; we make mistakes. If your dog is on a vet-prescribed dosage of famotidine and you forget one dose, don’t worry since it’s not a big deal.

You can give the missed dose when you remember. However, if your dog takes multiple doses in a day and you remember the missed dose at the time of the next scheduled dose, then only administer the next scheduled dose.

Taking famotidine too close to doses might be too much for the dog to handle.

●    What Is the Most Important Thing I Should Know About Famotidine?

Remember that medicines with famotidine like Pepcid are not animal-specific, so you should never mess around with the doses and frequency. Never administer any drug, not even an OTC like famotidine, to a dog without the vet’s approval.

Famotidine is an excellent anti-inflammatory, antacid, and anti-ulcer drug, but incorrectly taking it can be dangerous. Although it is pretty beneficial for dogs, it is only prescribed as an extra-label medicine, and you should treat it as such.

Do not overfeed or give famotidine to your dog on a whim.

●    What Should I Discuss with My Veterinarian Before Giving Famotidine to My Pet?

Some animals carry a natural intolerance toward particular drugs. If you want to give famotidine to your pet, request the vet to consult drug-specific allergy tests.

The prescription of famotidine depends on your pet’s health, medical history, and age; provide your vet with an extensive medical record and even give updates about your pet’s nutrition.

The vet may or may not prescribe famotidine based on the information you give; some vets will prefer prescribing the drug, whereas others might not recommend it based on your dog’s health.

Share everything you know about your dog’s medical history; the most crucial information you can give is previous and current medications. Not all drugs tolerate contact with famotidine, so it is best to update your vet if your dog is taking a medicine that does not go well with famotidine.

●    Are There Alternatives to Famotidine?

Omeprazole is a drug quite similar to famotidine; both drugs can heal and treat ulcers, gastric problems, and an upset stomach. You may give your dog omeprazole if and only if your vet approves.

●    Can You Buy Famotidine Over-The-Counter?

Yes! Famotidine is available as an OTC in the form of Pepcid, though it is best to seek a proper prescription when buying medicines for your pets.

●    What Are the Contraindications to Giving Famotidine?

In some cases, an animal might have a strong intolerance or hypersensitivity to the drug. Giving famotidine to an animal with hypersensitivity to drug variations can trigger severe health problems.

●    Does Famotidine Need to Be Given with Food?

It is best to give famotidine on an empty stomach. Famotidine works by covering acid-releasing cells, so it works best when there’s no barrier in the stomach.

Serving the drug with food will only worsen things; food on an already sensitive stomach combined with a counteractive drug can reverse your desired effects.

●    What Drugs Interact with Famotidine?

Common antifungal medicines like azole antifungals, including ketoconazole, negatively react to famotidine. Other drugs that don’t have a good relationship with famotidine include atazanavir, pazopanib, and dasatinib.

●    What is The Difference Between Famotidine (Pepcid) And Ranitidine (Zantac)?

Both Famotidine and Ranitidine are histamine blockers, but there are some differences between the two.

Famotidine is much more effective and potent than ranitidine, although it takes a little time to work. Ranitidine starts working immediately, so it is best for those who want a quick treatment.

Pepcid (containing famotidine) can reduce heartburn but can’t counter it as effectively as Zantac.

●    Is Pepcid Ac the Same as Pepcid?

Pepcid and Pepcid AC are the same.

●    What is Pepcid Complete?

Pepcid Complete and Pepcid AC are variations of the same medicine by the same brand.

Pepcid AC only contains famotidine, so it only works to treat conditions requiring famotidine.

Pepcid Complete contains famotidine, calcium carbonate, and magnesium hydroxide. It works to treat general stomach problems, although it is far more potent than Pepcid AC.

●    When Is the Best Time to Give Famotidine to My Dog?

It is best to give famotidine to dogs on empty stomachs. The best time is early morning before breakfast and midday when a few hours pass after the first meal.

●    Can You Crush Pepcid and Give It to Your Dog?

No, giving Pepcid as a whole medicine is best instead of crushing it.

●    What Human Medications or Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medications Are Safe to Give My Dog?

Famotidine (Pepcid), Cimetidine (Tagamet), Ranitidine (Zantac), Calcium Carbonate (Tums), Omeprazole (Prilosec), and Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) are some of the OTCs you can give your dog.

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Jackob Evans

Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

1 thought on “Pepcid AC 101: Famotidine For Dogs (Side Effects of Pepcid)”

  1. Thank you for your article. We have a 69 pound Golden Doodle service dog named Odin. He has been diagnosed with gastritis/ Ulceratice Colitis. In the past I have tried to give him Famatodine and Omeperazole and to the vets astonishment he has issues with both. On Famatodine he starts to swallow a lot like he’s extra spitty and on Omeperazole he did the same as well as had diarrhea. It’s almost as if he gets worse because I see him yawn, swallow and lick as well as burp. Lately Odin has started arching his back which I’m assuming is because he’s uncomfortable. For 2 weeks he was on chicken and rice and now he has been switched over to ZD dog food which is a prescription. I’m at a loss as to what to do. Vet said to retry the pepsid which he is currently on. We started with a half tablet and is now on 10 mg daily. He seems to get worse at night around 3-4 in the morning. He is also taking forti flora daily. Any help would be appreciated


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