Ulcers can develop in your dog, triggered by several causes. The key causes include bowel related problems (such as inflammation or infection of bowels), being in a stressful state, intake of toxic substances, presence of liver problems, etc. If you are giving painkilling drugs / nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin, your dog may develop ulcerous conditions. Medications such as sucralfate are commonly used to treat a wide range of ulcers in dogs. But, can you self-medicate your dog with sucralfate? In other words, can you use sucralfate as an over the counter medication? Ensure to know more on this front prior to starting your canine’s treatment plan.

Most ulcer meds help treat internal injuries or bleeding in the intestines, stomach, colon, etc. Drugs such as sucralfate have the needful clearances from regulatory authorities (such as the food and drug administration – FDA, in the US) for treating ulcers. Prior to knowing more about sucralfate, you need to understand about ulcers. Ulcer is a clinical condition wherein a rupture forms on the inner lining of your small intestines. This condition mostly affects the top part of the duodenum. This is because – your duodenum is more likely to come in close contact with the acidic properties of foods, smoke or other toxic substances you ingest. For example, regular intake of alcohol (especially, in large quantities), habitual smoking as well as eating hot or spicy foods can be the chief reasons for onset of ulcers.

Other likely triggers of ulcers are use of painkilling medications belonging to the genre called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – for example, drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc. Clinical studies also indicate that elderly people are more likely to be affected by ulcers. This is because – as you grow old, you may become vulnerable to autoimmune problems like arthritis. You may take sizable amount of painkillers to treat such conditions – which can act as a trigger for ulcers.

Sucralfate for dogs

As an extended or an off-label use, this drug is used to treat animals such as cats and dogs. In dogs, sucralfate can help treat ulcerous conditions in esophagus (or your dog’s food pipe), oral parts such as throat or mouth and in your pet’s small intestines. How sucralfate functions in dogs is not fully evidenced though; however, it is postulated that the active ingredients get bound to other gastric acids. Once getting bound to the naturally occurring acids in your gastric tract, this drug soon turns into a patch and covers the lining of the intestinal walls. The patch thus serves to protect the ruptured walls against harsh acids or toxic foods.

Thanks to this protective patch, your dog’s ulcerous condition soon starts healing. This drug is known for its ability to shield the injured parts from turning worse. In the absence of drugs like sucralfate, these ulcers may soon turn into a larger swelling and may puncture the damaged parts. So, if left untreated, the ulcer can lead to a fatal outcome in your pet.

Can I use sucralfate as an over the counter (OTC) drug?

Soon after sensing abnormal behavior in your pet – such as, persistent wailing or incessant barking, it is important to seek medical advice from a qualified vet. Dogs may get affected by ulcers when they have consumed toxic substances or have developed an infection in their food pipe. In a few cases, the dog may also be experiencing heartburns or acid reflux; this condition can make gastric acids to come in contact with the sensitive linings of the dog’s food pipe. Such conditions can occur when your dog has overeaten or has been given spicy or hot foods. In some remote cases, food allergies may also cause heartburns.

Regardless of the cause of the underlying gastric condition, sucralfate needs to be given to your dog only after consulting with the vet. It is never administered through self-medication, or as an over the counter (OTC) drug. It is extremely important to have the vet diagnose the underlying clinical condition. Hence, drugs like sucralfate are always accompanied by prescriptions. Self-medicating your dog with sucralfate – i.e., without knowing the cause of discomforts, can only aggravate the clinical condition of your canine.


Side effects of sucralfate on canines

In general, drugs do pose risks of adverse side effects or undesired reactions. In case of sucralfate, these unintended side effects are quite rare. Also, if these some side effects show up – most of these is not very harmful. But, some dogs may already have allergies to antacids or similar drugs. If your dog has such hypersensitivities or allergies, it is not safe to administer sucralfate to the pet. It becomes essential to tell your vet if your dog already has such allergies.

Some of the side effects of administering sucralfate to dogs include difficulties to pass stools. However, this adverse condition may last only for a few days; once your canine gets used to the doses, discharge of stools can soon become normal. Also, this drug may have some traces of aluminum in it. If your dog has a renal condition, excessive dosages of sucralfate needs to be avoided. If the build-up of aluminum in dogs goes unchecked, it can slowly impair the bone health of your canine. In some dogs, a steady build-up can also harm brain function.

You need to be aware of sucralfate’s impact on other drugs. In general, the drug and its active ingredients may hamper the absorption rates of other medications. Hence, it is a safe practice to provide a time interval of a few hours (at least 2 hours) before giving other drugs to the pet. Your vet may also tell you to provide this drug to your dog before a meal; taking this med prior to food is known to enhance the capability of its active ingredients.

In sum, sucralfate can be given to dogs to treat ulcerous conditions. But, it is not be given as an over the counter (OTC) med, or while you are treating the pet on your own. It is always a safe practice to talk to your vet prior to starting the dosages; also, follow all the instructions of the treating vet carefully while administering sucralfate to your canine.

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