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What to Do if Your Dog Eats Zantac (Ranitidine) Medication?

Dogs commonly eat things they shouldn’t, especially the stray tablet or capsule from the medicine cabinet. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, almost half of their calls are about pets ingesting human medications such as Zantac®. Many of these drugs can be toxic due to of a dog’s smaller size and differences in human and canine metabolism and toxicities.

What is Zantac (Ranitidine)?

Zantac, also known by the generic name “Ranitidine”, is a drug commonly used in humans to treat excessive stomach acid secretion, esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is currently one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States and is available as both a prescription drug and as an over-the counter drug.

Is Zantac Routinely Prescribed to Dogs?

Zantac is commonly prescribed to both dogs and cats. Zantac is in a class of drugs referred to as “H2 blockers” and related to medications such as cimetidine (Tagamet) and famotidine (Pepcid).

Zantac is prescribed to treat dogs with stomach ulcers, esophagitis, gastric reflux and esophageal reflex.The therapeutic dose in dogs is 0.5 to 1 mg per pound of body weight (1 to 2 mg per kilogram of body weight) every 8 to 12 hours.

Ranitidine is available in multiple sizes including 75 mg, 150 mg 300 mg and an oral suspension in 15 mg/ml.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Zantac

In general, Zantac is not considered highly toxic to canines. Generally toxicity is only a concern if large amounts are ingested (i.e. many pills in a small dog). The most common side effects seen in dogs after ingestion of Zantac include vomiting, diarrhea, and restlessness. Higher dosages can cause muscle tremors and elevated respiratory rates.

Limited data is availability about toxicity of Zantac in dogs and cats. Monitor your dog carefully and ensure they are behaving normally. Monitor for normal urinations, bowel movements, vomiting, or lack of appetite.

When Should YOU Call Your Vet?

Call your vet if you are concerned about your dog ingesting a toxic dose of medication and if you see any abnormalities or concerns with your dog. If you notice vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, pale gums, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, trouble walking or any other signs, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Exposure

Dogs are so good at getting into things, and it’s easier to prevent a problem than it is to resolve it.

Other Emergency Plans

If your dog ingests Zantac and you can’t get in touch with your vet, call your closest emergency clinic. Another option is to call a poison control hotline for pets. The two most common are: