Ranitidine for Dogs

Ranitidine is a medicine that belongs to a group of drugs known as histamine H-2 blockers. This medicine is commonly used in human beings to help prevent or reduce ulcers that develop in the stomach and intestinal tract. Although the drug is officially only approved by the FDA for use in human beings, it can also be put to effect in canine systems as well. If your pet suffers from ulcers or is predisposed to stomach acidity issues, speak with your vet about the possibility of giving him treatment with ranitidine.

Ranitidine Overview

Ranitidine is perhaps best known as the brand name formulated drug called Zantac. Zantac is a human formulation of the medicine (no veterinary medicine-specific versions exist), and vets oftentimes prescribe Zantac to dogs as an extra label drug. This medicine functions by inhibiting the reception of the histamine known as H-2. H-2 is responsible for signaling to the stomach lining that it needs to produce and secrete additional stomach acid. Left unchecked, excess H-2 can make the stomach acidity stronger and either cause ulcers or prevent them from healing. By reducing the reception of H-2, Zantac lowers the amount of stomach acid produced and thereby balances out your pet's stomach, which provides the ulcers a better chance to heal.

This medicine is used to treat gastritis and other chronic or acute inflammations of the gastro-intestinal system. It can also be used to help reduce ulcers that may be related to kidney disease. Finally, it's helpful in reducing the effects of acid reflux disease, which can occur in your pet as well.

Using Ranitidine for Your Pet

Ranitidine is typically provided in tablet form, although it's also available as an effervescent tablet. These tablets are better for dogs that may have an issue with the taste of the medicine and typically spit it out; if your pet is in this group, the effervescent tablet will dissolve quickly in his mouth and make it more difficult for him to expel the medicine.

The exact dosage of this medicine will be dependent upon a number of different factors, including your dog's size and weight most primarily. Additionally, the severity and cause of his ulcers will have an impact on the total duration of the treatment and the amount of medicine that you'll give him.

Risks and Side Effects of Ranitidine

The side effects of Ranitidine are generally quite mild. However, before you give this medicine to your pet, it's important that you inform your vet about any other conditions your pet might be suffering from, as Ranitidine can react badly with certain other types of medicines and should be avoided in some cases.

The most common side effects of Ranitidine typically include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness

If you notice these or any other side effects of the drug, take your pet in to the vet's office for an examination immediately. You may need to adjust the dosage of the medicine or find another treatment option.