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Can I give antacids to my dog?

Q: May I give my dog antacids when his stomach is upset?

A: It would be better to first make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out what’s causing your dog’s upset stomach. Only then can an effective treatment strategy be determined.

Chewable antacids that people pop for heartburn are not very effective in dogs because they aren’t strong enough to counter acidity and they don’t last long.

Another option is omeprazole, a type of drug called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that is available over the counter as Prilosec OTC. It reduces stomach acid and is the best choice for an ulcer, though, like all medications, it has side effects and should be used only if your veterinarian prescribes it.

Yet another over-the-counter alternative is the class of drugs called H2 antagonists, which block histamine type 2 receptors to decrease stomach acid. Common names are famotidine (Pepcid AC), ranitidine (Zantac) and cimetidine (Tagamet HB). These medications are not as effective in dogs as the PPIs.

Heartburn and ulcers are less likely to cause stomach upset than what dogs eat, their meal schedule, and parasitic and bacterial infections. So it’s best to have your veterinarian determine the cause of your dog’s stomach upset and prescribe effective therapy.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at

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