What Are the Side Effects of Sucralfate in Canines?

By Jane Meggitt

If your poor puppy is diagnosed with ulcers, you should learn more about the treatment and what you can do to help. Aside from giving them the recommended diet for dogs with ulcers, you should also learn more about the medications your dog may receive during this time.

Smiling veterinarian examining a cute dog
Dog being examined by vet in office.
credit: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images

Your veterinarian may prescribe a common drug named sucralfate for treatment for current ulcers. In addition to ulcer treatment, sucralfate is also used to protect your dog from ulcers if he must receive potentially ulcer-causing medication, or if he's accidentally eaten a human aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. One advantage of sucralfate is the drug's relatively few side effects.

Ill retriever in veterinary clinic.
Sucralfate is used to treat ulcers and it is one of the most common medications since it has little to no side effects.
credit: alexsokolov/iStock/GettyImages

How Sucralfate Works

Marketed under the brand name Carafate, Veterinary Partner describes sucralfate as a compound of sucrose aluminum hydroxide. It works by coating the gastrointestinal tract, covering and helping to heal any ulcerations. Since it passes through the system fairly quickly, dogs usually need two or more doses of the drug daily. Available in tablet and liquid forms, sucralfate needs to be given to your dog on an empty stomach. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only approved sucralfate for use in people, veterinarians are permitted to prescribe it under an "extra-label" designation.

Smiling veterinarian examining a cute golden retriever
Always let your vet know what other medications your dog may be taking in case of any negative reactions.
credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/GettyImages

Side Effects

Constipation is the only common side effect associated with sucralfate administration. If your dog is prone to constipation, tell your vet. Colorado State University research advises that if your pet suffers from megacolon — an enlarged colon resulting from long-term constipation and feces retention — he shouldn't receive sucralfate. If your dog develops constipation after receiving sucralfate, call your vet as soon as possible. She might switch him to another medication or recommend dietary changes to get your dog moving again. Once the dog no longer takes sucralfate, his bowel movements should return to normal.

Veterinarian doctor is examining dog in veterinary.
Some dogs are allergic to sucralfate so if your pup has a bad allergic reaction, stop administering the drug and see a vet as soon as possible.
credit: vchal/iStock/GettyImages

Sucralfate Allergies

Some dogs may prove allergic to sucralfate, according to Pet Place. Signs of an allergic reaction include breathing difficulties or hives. Severely affected dogs might experience seizures or fainting. If your dog experiences signs of an allergic reaction, bring your dog to the vet as soon as possible and don't give your dog another dose of the drug.

Blonde Labrador Retriever Looking at Camera Room for Copy
Learning as much as you can about your dog's medication will help them get the best treatment possible.
credit: Annetics/iStock/GettyImages

Drug Interactions

If your dog receives certain medications, it's recommended that your dog should not receive sucralfate or consult with a vet to evaluate and take special care in spacing out administration of the drugs. Let your vet know of any other medications or supplements your dog receives. According to Wedgewood Pharmacy, sucralfate can interact with various antibiotics, including tetracycline, azithromycin, doxycycline and erythromycin. It also interacts with other drugs, such as thyroxine for hypothyroidism, digoxin for heart disease and cimetidine for stomach acid issues. Cimetidine is another drug used to treat ulcers in canines. However, sucralfate can't work without adequate stomach acid in the digestive system. Your vet can work out a dosing schedule if your dog must receive these other medications in conjunction with sucralfate.